The Starr Report: Hope loses patience with the homeboy made good
Saturday 12 September 1998
As always, the Bright family won the top prize, with a melon that at 200lb-plus weighed more than the President. But there was a sense of disappointment that Jason Bright, grandson of the legendary Ivan, could not match his 1985 Guinness Book of Records watermelon of 260lb.
When the festival was over, folk got to talking about the town's most famous son, William Jefferson Blythe IV (his real father, William Blythe of Texas, died in a car crash three months before young Bill was born). They have been talking about young Bill ever since, mostly in the City Bakery, the centre of the action in a town that is very Protestant and very dry. Alcohol is banned.
The President's birthplace ("Well, he was actually born in the Julia Chester hospital, now a funeral parlour, but he was brought here a couple of hours later," I was told) is a two-storey wooden house, white with dark-green trim, at 117 South Hervey Street, surrounded by a white fence.
It is now a museum, refurbished and furnished (with the help of the President's late mother, Virginia Clinton) in the style of the early Fifties, including a cot that replicates the one where the future president slept.
"I'm extremely disappointed in him but I'm a Christian. And my Christian teaching is that God is a God of forgiveness, a God of second chances," said Beckie Moore, who runs the museum. "He told his mother at an early age he was going to be President. He loves people. He's a brilliant man, probably the best president we've ever had. At first I didn't want to believe the allegations were true. I was really, really hurt.
"But he's apologised 5,000 times. It breaks my heart that he continually has to say that to the American people."
In a town without cabs, and very rainy, Ms Moore took pity on me, shut down the museum and drove me around. She told me the President still had a few cousins here and lots of schoolfriends. His nurse and nanny, Wilma Booker, now in her seventies - "the first woman ever to touch him," she said, without any hint of irony - still lives here, but was not home.
- 1 BBC election debate: The one photo that summed up the whole 90-minute leaders debate
- 2 A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
- 3 18th century sex toy found in 'toilet of sword fighting school' in Poland
- 4 'I wish my teacher knew...': Young students share their 'heartbreaking' worries in notes
General Election 2015: David Cameron catching up in polls – but he badly needs a clear lead
The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey 25 years on
South Africa xenophobic attacks: Shops looted and violence on streets of Johannesburg as foreigners are forced to hide in police stations
Earthworms rain down from skies over Norway, puzzling scientists
18th century sex toy found in 'toilet of sword fighting school' in Poland
The only black face in the Ukip manifesto is on the page about overseas aid
Ukip is the only main political party to not address LGBT rights in its manifesto
If I’m being racially abused I don’t need a white stranger with a saviour complex to rescue me
BBC election debate: The one photo that summed up the whole 90-minute leaders debate
Religion isn't growing, it is becoming vigorous in its demise, says philosopher AC Grayling
Russian warships in English Channel 'to conduct anti-aircraft and anti-submarine military drills'
£30000 - £40000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Front-End UI Application ...
£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...
£27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Domestic Service Only Engineers are requ...
£23600 - £27500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Employability Service withi...