June 13, 2010

You Boys Drive Safe Now, and Have a Nice Day

I'm reading a new biography of Pat Robertson by the Auburn historian (emeritus) David Edwin Harrell Jr. There are several interesting nuggets so far (did you know Robertson was once an assistant minister in the Dutch Reformed Church in Mount Vernon, one of New York City's decaying urban neighborhoods, or that he once took seven cans of fruit juice and a sleeping bag into the Classen Avenue Presbyterian Church in New York for seven days of prayer and fasting?), but my favorite has to be this anecdote from Robertson's days at Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia.

The son of a U.S. senator, Robertson was a good student (he earned Phi Beta Kappa honors and graduated magna cum laude at the age of 20), but he also partied hard with his fraternity brothers and "was a steady participant in excursions to Sweet Briar and other nearby women's colleges," Harrell writes. "On one of these weekend excursions Robertson was a character in a story that has become part of the university's lore. ... On their way to Sweet Briar to pick up dates, Robertson and two of his friends were pulled over by a patrolman. One friend was Fred Vinson, son of the chief justice of the United States, and the other was Robert E. Lee IV, known as Bobby.
The state trooper said, "All right, show me your identification cards."

So Pat Robertson pulled his out, and [the trooper said,] "From Lexington? Is Senator Robertson kin to you?"

Pat said, "That's my father."

Then to Fred Vinson, "Young man, what is your name?"

"I'm Fred Vinson."

He said, "That's the name of the chief justice of the Supreme Court."

Fred said, "He's my father."

And he looked in the backseat at Bobby Lee. "Well, I suppose you're going to tell me you're Robert E. Lee."

3 comments:

  1. Anonymous12:13 AM

    I went to W&L (class of '61) and I never heard that story....or any thing close to it.

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  2. The source is:
    "Come and Cheer Washington and Lee: The University at 250 Years," (Lexington: Washington and Lee University, 1998), pg. 176

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  3. michael s.8:48 AM

    There always seems to be a Dutch Reformed connection. What a bunch of kooks. I mean, seriously.

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