OK, it’s a little less surprising than a visit by Paris Hilton, but it was still interesting that the Dallas Arboretum was the spot where the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff and his wife, Admiral Mike and Deborah Mullen, chose to stop by while they were in town last Saturday. Apparently, the Pentagon called last week to let arboretum officials know that the Mullens wanted to tour the grounds and have lunch before Admiral Mullen spoke at the VA Hopsital and Military Ball that evening. (They’re pictured on the right, along with arboretum board chairman Steve Coke and his wife, Cheryl, and president of the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Society Mary Brinegar.)

The arboretum was the first place I ever visited in Dallas, about six years before my husband and I moved here. We were dating at the time, and he had driven me from his hometown of Abilene, where we had spent a few days with his family over the Christmas holidays, to Dallas to catch a flight to my hometown of Tulsa. We had a few hours to kill before the flight, and for some reason I had decided that we should spend them at the arboretum — I don’t even remember now how I discovered it.

It was the dead of winter, so not many flowers or colors around, but I loved it, and a photo we took that day is still sitting on a shelf at home. To this day, I don’t know of a place in Dallas where I’d rather spend a peaceful afternoon than the arboretum, so it doesn’t surprise me that out-of-town big wigs make it their stop of choice — it surprises me that more don’t.

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