No Encounters with Presidents Eisenhower, Nixon, Clinton, Regan or Trump, but I did Meet . . .

Erato Heliconian Butterfly on Grass photographed by Jeff Zablow at the National Butterfly Center, Mission, TX

Sometimes I dwell on an absence that gives me pause. I have never met an American President of the United States. Who’d I have wanted to meet and chat with? Presidents Nixon, Kennedy, Regan and Trump. As my life progressed, I reached new benchmarks, and I would’ve like to meet these Presidents, all of whom had fascinating, broad and rich life experience. Hero worship? Nah. I met Mafia guys in my life, they too accomplished much, but not anywhere near what those Presidents did.

I comfortably equate those thoughts with the satisfaction and feeling of accomplishment that I experienced when after that flight from Atlanta to San Antonio, Texas, and the 4-hour drive with Nancy and John we arrived in Alamo, Texas, for our 5-day trip to find new and rare butterflies.

Shown here is a very, very rare butterfly, magnificently beautiful and elegant, that we met and I observed at the National Butterfly Center in Mission, Texas near the border wall, for a total of more than 30 minutes. A fresh, vividly colored Erato Heliconian butterfly. I must be one of the very few Americans who have watched an Erato fly more than 70 feet away, remarkably showing those broad, rich red markings all, all of that flight. My own theory? They must be toxic to predators, for why else would it be that they accented those prominent reds, each and every second of their flight? Aren’t they to warn predators . . . to stay away.

Here’s the Erato while it was resting, some time during those magical 30 minutes.

Not Robert F. Kennedy, Nancy Regan, Donald Trump or Jacqueline Kennedy, but I did meet this Erato Heliconian butterfly, and am grateful for that. Seriously.