PLAINS, Ga. — President’s Day brought on a whole new meaning this year for the town of Plains, Georgia, after the Carter Center announced over the weekend that former President Jimmy Carter has entered into hospice care.
Larry Cook loves presidents and as a presidential historian, he loves to give talks to crowds, like a substantial one he had at Plains High School on Monday.
Cook showed off his presidential memorabilia, including items from President Carter.
“There is no place that I’d rather be on President’s Day than right here in Plains, Georgia,” Cook said.
He told Channel 2′s Richard Elliot that it wasn’t always that way. He used to just collect the memorabilia as an amateur until he ran into Jimmy Carter while visiting Maranatha Baptist Church about 15 years ago.
“One day, at church, he said to me, you know, we’re really proud of what you do, and it’s important what you do, and we think you should do more of it,” Cook said.
That was all it took.
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Cook sold his business and became a full-time presidential historian who happened to have a former president as a close, personal friend.
“Over the years, we’ve gotten to be friends and he’s been at our house, and he’s stayed at our house. Again, surreal sitting around our kitchen table talking, but yeah, it’s great,” Cook said.
The National Park Service scheduled Cook to speak at the old Plains High School on President’s Day -- something he loves to do.
Once he arrived, he got the news that Carter would now receive home hospice care instead of additional medical interventions.
Instead of being sad, Cook told Elliot that he feels blessed to be back in Plains with all his friends at this particular time. But he missed seeing his friend in the audience to hear his lecture.
“When he’s here in the audience, and I’m speaking, and I glance over at him, he gives me that famous smile. It just puts me at ease,” Cook said.
Cook told Elliot that Carter is probably the most remembered president around the world.
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