Former President George H.W. Bush has so many friends and admirers, there is no telling how many times he will be feted for his upcoming 90th birthday. Although he doesn't reach that milestone until June 12, the partying started early at The Palm restaurant in Houston.
It was standing room only when co-owners of the popular steakhouse, Wally Ganzi and Bruce Bozzi, kicked off the celebrations. The duo flew in from home bases in Naples, Florida, and New York, respectively, with their wives, Sandy Ganzi and MaryAnn Bozzi, to host the gathering of adoring Bush fans. In honor of Bush's presidential library, they arranged for a group of Texas A&M singing cadets to entertain.
Although confined to a wheelchair due to a Parkinson's-like ailment, the former president was game for the outing. He posed for photos, blew out the nine candles (one for each decade) on his cake and visited with just about everyone.
Although the invitation instructed against presents, the cake was a gift from Jackson Hicks and Milton Townsend: a carrot cake confection with cream cheese icing prepared in the Jackson and Co. kitchen. Their presentation was accompanied by a vampy "Marilyn Monroe" singing "Happy Birthday, Mr. President."
Guests represented a broad spectrum of Houston society, including Debbie and Roger Clemens, oilman Jim Flores and wife Cheri, entertainment mogul Tilman Fertitta and wife Paige, the birthday gent's grandson Pierce Bush, former Secretary of State James A. Baker III and wife Susan, famed trial lawyer Joe Jamail, restaurateur Gigi Huang, and Barbara Bush (of course) and nephew Jim Pierce.