“Where in the world can man find nobility without pride,
Friendship without envy, or beauty without vanity?
Here, where grace is laced with muscle,
And strength by gentleness confined.”
~ Ronald Duncan
“Tribute” is a portrait I created of President Ronald Reagan’s Arabian stallion, El Alamein. I had the honor of presenting the original to President Reagan for his birthday, in 1995. El Alamein had been his favorite horse, a gift to him from Jose Lopez Portillo, the President of Mexico.
When I greeted President Reagan and he shook my hand and turned to pose for a few photographs before the presentation, I remember thinking “I’m holding President Reagan’s hand!” He was warm and genuine. I presented the portrait to him, and he was almost speechless with pleasure, then he said softly, “You did this for me?” I knew then that I had given him a gift beyond compare, something that touched his soul as a horse lover.
Years later, when I watched the televised coverage of President Reagan’s funeral, as the jets flew over the Reagan ranch in tribute, I heard the distant whinny of a horse. Perhaps he is now riding the heavenly realms on the back of his favorite horse.