Wise words from outgoing secretary


By tradition, an outgoing president leaves just one item – a letter to the incoming president – on the Oval Office desk when departing the White House for the final time.
Honored tradition. Since the letters are never made public, no one knows what the Old Boss tells the New Boss. For example, it’s never been confirmed that Bill Clinton’s 2001 letter to George W. Bush ended with this thought: “Don’t it beat all, George? I’m off to New York City and Hillary’s staying!”
Nor is anyone certain that Richard Nixon’s swansong to Gerald Ford was the reportedly tape recorded one-liner, “Pardon me, Jerry, I’m not a crook.”
Parallel tradition. What hasn’t been known until now, though, is that outgoing Cabinet secretaries leave their successors a last letter, also. We uncovered a few from departing Bush Cabinet members and, boy, are they doozies.
For instance, Colin Powell to Condoleezza Rice: “Condi – Until you read about yourself in my new gazillion-dollar memoir, ‘No One Salutes Five Stars on a Three Piece Suit,’ remove the letters ‘W,’ ‘M’ and ‘D’ from every computer keyboard in the State Department.”
Never mind. Donald Rumsfeld to


Up-to-date agriculture news in your inbox!

Previous articleA trip with Laura Ingalls Wilder
Next articleConference caters to small farmers
Alan Guebert was raised on an 800-acre, 100-cow southern Illinois dairy farm. After graduation from the University of Illinois in 1980, he served as a writer and editor at Professional Farmers of America, Successful Farming magazine and Farm Journal magazine. His syndicated agricultural column, The Farm and Food File, began in June, 1993, and now appears weekly in more than 70 publications throughout the U.S. and Canada. He and spouse Catherine, a social worker, have two adult children. farmandfoodfile.com