Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Mulroney Couldn't Wait

Palm Beach Daily News [FL]
30 March 2014

By Shannon Donnelly
Daily News Society Editor

It’s probably hard to get one over on Brian Mulroney, seeing as how prime minister jobs are almost invariably reserved for folks who are smarter than most, but his wife Mila managed to do exactly that last week when she lured the former Canadian PM to Club Colette for a family dinner.

The “family dinner” turned out to be 100-plus of the couple’s nearest and dearest whom Mila invited to Club Colette for a surprise party honoring Brian’s 75th birthday.

The guest of honor seemed to be genuinely surprised by the shouts and applause that greeted him, but – proving once and for all that good politicians are born and not made – began immediately greeting each and every guest with a hug or a handshake.

As guests sat for dinner, Brian took the microphone and offered a tribute to Mila, and told the tale of how they met. He was at the Mount Royal Tennis Club reading The New York Times when a beautiful, bikini-clad young woman walked by. Brian immediately approached a friend and asked for an introduction, but his friend said “Ask me tomorrow.” Brian said “Why? What happens tomorrow?”

His friend replied “She turns 18.”

“So,” Brian said, “I did what any gentleman would do and asked somebody else to introduce me.” […]

Brian Mulroney, Memoirs 1939-1993 (Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, 2007), 137-8.

The [Mount Royal Tennis Club] was nearly deserted on the late Monday morning in July [1972] when I showed up by the pool with my book and the New York Times to begin a week of swimming and tennis before returning to the law firm. I was sitting alone next to the pool about an hour later when I spotted a stunning young woman in a blue and white bikini strolling by, heading for the soft drink counter. I was, let’s say, struck by her style and demeanour, and asked the manager, Charlie, for an introduction. He gave an interesting response, saying, “Well, Mr. Mulroney, why don’t you wait until Thursday?” When I asked why, he answered, “Thursday July 13 is her birthday and then she’ll be nineteen!” I thanked him for his cautionary advice but, through an acquaintance, managed my own introduction later that day. […]

Although only eighteen at the time we met, Mila was uncommonly mature, thoughtful, and poised, and I was swept off my feet. Within hours I had driven her home and made plans to see her the next day. Within four months we were engaged, and within six more we were married.