Reverse Question with Forrest: Who Would you Choose?

kennedys0002Dear Forrest,

In Too Far to Walk you tell the story of how Jackie Kennedy visited your gallery and stayed in the guesthouse there.  It seems she made quite the impression on you.  What was it that you most admired about her?   ~ thanks j



Thanks for reminding me Jenny.
Like with most Americans I had a preconceived notion about Jackie Kennedy. I saw her as being gentle, refined, and highly sophisticated. I was impressed by the easiness with which she could mingle among world leaders.

You can imagine how I felt when she walked into my office one night wearing my white flannel robe, her hair tied up with my white towel, and barefooted. She had just showered in our guest house and wanted to talk. Let that image soak in for a minute. I might have felt out of place, but she wouldn’t let me. I loved her for being so secure in herself.

Which reminds me Jenny, if you could have a two hour dinner, just the two of you, and converse with anyone who ever lived in the history of the world; Who would you choose, and why? I’m interested in the opinions of your bloggers also. f



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84 Responses

  1. Jenny Kile says:

    Oh! Another exciting return question. I love these; and then also hearing all the responses given by others. It’s great to learn more about others. Thanks all, and thank you Forrest.

    I suppose I would say Plato. I love how he explores mystery through the seeking of answers by conversation. I would want to know if he had any special secrets/methods for doing so. However, one of my favorite quotes by him is as follows;

    “You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation”.

    So keeping him to his word, I would spend my first hour speaking with him, and then the next hour would be in play. I think we would love to play seek Forrest’s Treasure Chest! I wonder how he would sort through your mystery! It would be so much fun, and I would be sure to learn his mind!

    • Jenny Kile says:

      …..and maybe, Forrest, yours too….who would you choose…..

    • ritt says:

      I’m with you, Jenny…….I too would choose Plato for I believe him to be the deepest thinker of them all and for his search for the good (truth). Isn’t that what we are all searching for? The truth of it all. I believe that he has been the closest to it and had written allegories in which he describes his deepest thoughts.

      I think it would be a delight to set across the table from him enjoying a meal and bottle of wine with him. Imagine the discussion you would have. I would have Forrest join in too. What a dinner. Oh wait, you can come too, Jenny. Oh what a night.

  2. Forrest Fire says:

    I don’t know Jenny. Maybe I’d like to talk with my first male ancestor. There would be so much to learn. When and where did he live? What did he do to survive? I’d want to know everything he could tell me. I wonder if I could see some of him in myself. What if his name was Adam? I’m not at all sure that I’m ready for this.

  3. Carolyn says:

    I would choose Forrest. I have so many questions and he has done so much and has been so many places. I love the collecting and adventure side of him and his stories go on forever. The two hours would go by so fast and there is so much to learn.

    • lia says:

      Carolyn, at what age would you like to visit with Forrest? If it were me, I’d enjoy knowing him at 7-8 years old. Just fun seeing his childlike imagination at play, and he could show me all the best fishing holes in yellowstone.

      • Carolyn says:

        Lia, I would pick the age closest to now because he would know the most, but young enough to be able to still get around well so that we could go and see lots of things and do lots of things and dig in the dirt, etc. He knows how to do so much and I would like to know how to do those things too. Plus seems funny! That’s always a plus. Thanks for asking Lia and Merry Christmas!

  4. Elisa says:

    I think I’d pick myself at 8 years old. We could probably learn a lot from each other. I wonder which one of us would get the good seat and who would defer on the side of being polite…

  5. Forrest Fenn says:

    That’s a good one Elisa. Do you think you would recognize each other? Who would get the blame if you didn’t get along? Ha, she would probably tell your mother on you. f

  6. spallies says:

    Forrest of course you make this a challenge by limiting us to choosing only one person… so I will have to go with Nicola Tesla… If he is not available I would pick Sheldon Cooper…:)

    • Mark J says:

      Tesla is a good one. I have read several book about him. A very eccentric genius.

      • spallies says:

        Hi Mark,
        What were the name of the books you liked. I am heading over to amazon to buy some. My husband already knew more about him than I did (The elephant really??…) but he’s the smart one in the family. He blows my mind sometimes with how much he knows and can figure out… He’s got an engineers mind… Was it you Mark who said you were an engineer or was that someone else???

        • Mark J says:

          I cannot find my Tesla book. I know I have at least one book about him, the other books I read I checked out of the library. My bookcase is not big enough for all my books so some of them are in boxes, so my guess is that it is there. I liked the little quirks that Tesla had. He would only enter his apartment after walking around the block 3 times, he would always have 18 napkins on him. After reading about him, I started to realize I had little quirks also. My economics teacher was from Croatia also, Tesla is a national hero in Croatia. My teacher and I used to discuss him as well. I forget how many patents Tesla had. Occasionally, a company will submit and idea for a patent and find that Tesla already thought of it, he just did not have the technology to build it.

          Yes, I am an engineer.

  7. 42 says:

    Thank you Forrest and Jenny for excellent, thought provoking questions. It sparked a lively discussion with my husband who coincidentally also chose Adam; to ask him what peace on earth and walking with God was like.

    I’d like to split my hour between any two dead people – actually one from heaven and one from hell. No, not checking weather forecasts, but truthfully want to hear first hand from someone living in God’s presence in paradise, and someone in the furnace seperated from all beauty and peace. Truth sets you free and gives you hope for eternity.

    If given a third choice, I would like to play with the child I lost in miscarriage.

  8. Chris Yates says:

    Joni Ernst. of people i hold in high regard not in my immediate family, she would be towards the top of my list. in regards to the specific question I would prefer to make the choice of someone contemporary rather than historical.

  9. Mark J says:

    Selecting only one is difficult, and should it be a living person or deceased.

    Deceased –
    John Paul Jones, father of the American Navy, only commander to attack England during the Revolutionary War
    Dr. Benjamin Franklin Clark, First medical doctor in the SouthWest Ohio Territory, platted the city of Venice Ohio (1817), my great, great, great etc grandfather, and he even donated land for the cemetery in Venice (visiting the cemetery is like walking through my family tree).
    Benjamin Franklin, because he is awesome.

    Living –
    Clive Cussler, author, archeologist, founder of NUMA
    Stephan Hawking, because he is modern day awesome
    Forrest Fenn, author, archeologist, and without whom all this fun would not be taking place.

    There are so many others, but I think 3 of each is enough for now.

  10. Iron Will says:

    My Mother. She died from breast cancer about 8 years ago, and I didn’t get home from South Carolina in enough time to say goodbye to her.
    Yeah…. now that I think about it…..a 2 hour goodbye dinner would be perfect, if not just to hear her laugh one last time at one of my funny comments.

  11. I would like to sit and have a talk with god,and ask him to open the eyes and ears of people all over the world,to let them see what they are doing to each other.and ask him to fix all the mess all over the world.I would love for them to feel the true kind of love that I have felt from god.where his presence came down over me ,and premeated tru me and all around was a pure love,and nothing around me mattered,as all the love I was in the presence of the true living god,that people deny.and they can know that he really is many things ,i’d like to ask him,but ask that people would repent of their sins and be saved thru jesus Christ ,so all could live forever in heaven and not in hell,God has the answer to every problem in the world.but a lot of people do not seek him to find out answers to why?.I know people will call me stupid,but I don’t care.they can’t say they have never been told ,when they have to face god one day,all by their self.because I know ,that I know he lives within my heart.

    • Lia says:

      I like Virginia Diane’s answer. In knowing the spiritual presence of the living God, I would also like to be in Jesus Christs physical presence.

  12. Amy Sweitzer says:


    I agree with you. I would love to visit with God.
    One day I will in person:)
    But I do talk to him everyday.
    He has poured many blessings out to me. I
    Give thanks everyday 🙂

  13. Elementary says:

    Ironically, 43 years ago this week, I was a young married woman who had moved away from my family and like 42 above (so sorry) I had recently suffered the loss of my first child during delivery. I was in the right place at the right time to spend a wonderful 2 hour lunch with my maternal grandmother. We had 2 hours of laughs, tears, hopes, fears and my always knowing how much she loved me and was in my corner. A few hours later, at the young age of 83, she died of a heart attack.

    I would choose to have a 2 hour dinner with my grandma again, but this time, as an added TWIST, I would like to REVERSE OUR AGES…..with me now creeping up towards her age and grandma being a young vibrant woman.

    I want to hear her story of how she “grabbed that banana” when given the chance to come to America. Her oldest sister (who I was named after) came to America first. She sent money back home to Sweden for the next oldest sister to follow her there. That sister didn’t want to go because she had a boyfriend (this was around 1910). So….my grandma stood up and said she wanted to go.

    I would like to hear about her excitement, her adventures, her wonder in all that she saw and experienced…..crossing the Atlantic, arriving at Ellis Island, being a young woman in Brooklyn NY and also about life around her.

    As always Forrest, thanks for the opportunities to learn more about ourselves.

  14. cynthia says:

    My choice would be Eric Sloane at a place with paper placemats so he could doodle as he tells me stories. Ever since reading Seventeen Dollars a Square Inch multiple times, I almost feel like I do know him…he sounds like he was a pleasant fellow and a wonderful, witty story teller. He loved the weather, the sky, and clouds, as do I, and he was a young man during the Roaring Twenties which I think would have been an interesting time in America. And if Forrest could be present, too, I know I’d never stop laughing and smiling during those two hours…

  15. JC1117 says:

    I think I would like to meet and speak with the Apostle John…the one who…as the story goes…is still “mortal” and walking among us. Of course, the really awesome thing about that would be to know it’s actually him…since many people have likely talked with him…perhaps for hours…without knowing who he is.

    I’d like to speak to him because asking to speak to One Higher would make me shake in my boots like the cowardly lion in front of the wizard.

    • JC1117 says:

      Like many others here I would also like to meet Forrest. (Hello, Forrest! …if you’re reading this.) I figured I would write that down so maybe The Universe will start working in my favor and make it happen…since meeting Forrest might mean I’m in Sante Fe for “some reason”…like wandering around art galleries. That would be awesome!

  16. Marti Kreis says:

    Love to just have coffee at our kitchen table one more time

  17. Thomas D says:

    I would like to have dinner and a conversation with President Eisenhower. I would like to ask him about the dark days of World War II.
    In my opinion, the fighting men and women of that era really did save the world.

  18. Steve says:

    The question immediately struck a nerve as my dad entered my mind. My father passed away this past summer just within a few weeks of Father’s day and his birthday and my birthday; a time of which we would typically get together for a few hours and usually have a meal, and I bet FF, the TC, and our latest excursions and/or latest interpretations would have been a discussion topic. Just last night was one of the first nights since we lost him that I had a dream (and recalled) about him, where he was alive and communicating with me and others. It was like he was never gone.

    I could think of so many, but a couple of hours chatting with my dad would have to be my answer today. It is those little things, idiosyncrasies, that actually seemed to bother me that I miss most.


    • jdiggins says:

      I read this question last night, and wanted to ponder before I answered. I thought, seriously, and I have only 2 choices.
      First, I think the above responses are intelligent and noble responses, but I don’t think my intellect could compete with Plato, or even God, so I chose two people I could better understand, and REALLY would enjoy learning more about.
      First, like you Steve, my Dad. He took his life when I was young and left my mother and her four children with many unanswered questions. I only knew him as dad, and I’d like to know who else he was.
      My second choice, and I know this defies the correct response to have a second, but I just have to say, Forrest. The man himself. His intellect and creativity intrigue me, and his stories make me feel like I’m sitting with family listening to their tales.

      • Steve says:

        It seems like it could take a lifetime together to truly understand another, so when it is cut short, it feels like you missed out. We are so busy with doing our own thing that it becomes possibly challenging to make the time for others, not to sound greedy, I like my “me-time”, but that could also be very lonely. Taking the time to connect/reconnect and share your time with others is impactful for both. I have been trying to do better and be a better person.

        JDiggins, I too would like to spend some time with Forrest, he is one of a kind.

  19. Benjamin Franklin….
    He had some many scientific inventions, inventions in general, was a master diplomat and a founding father. The best man from Philadelphia IMO….. and I also hear that he was one fun person to converse with…maybe after the conversation we could go to a bar and try and pick up some ladies….I bet he would love that….

  20. JGalt362 says:

    I would want to meet the person who invented yoga pants.

    Just to say “Thank You!”

  21. Raven says:

    I would be so thrilled to spend a couple of hours at my kitchen table with my great, great, great, great, great, great, grandfather who came to this country from Scotland in 1730. He is the oldest ancestor I have been able to track down and would love to hear his stories and tales of other family members and his journey to this country ( there is some indication that suggests it was “the boat or the rope”). It would be interesting to update him on his descendants too and see and hear his reactions. His brood over the years proved to be resilient, resourceful folks. Many served in the military beginning with the Revolutionary war (rebels of course). I hope he would be content…..

  22. 23kachinas says:

    Nikola Tesla because he was not well understood by his contemporaries. He had great inventions and ideas but could not secure enough funding to make them happen. He was smarter than Thomas Edison but not as business savvy obviously.

    I have a few questions for him about his Wardenclyffe Tower project 1901-1905 (free wireless power transmission for everyone) on Long Island.

  23. bco says:

    The person of interest to me is that person who was present when that first kernel of corn popped. So many scenarios, so many ways this event could have occurred in my imagination. One scene I see a busy mother working with kids playing around. It was probably an accident, the popcorn got too close to the fire and pop. “You eat it. No you eat it. Give it to Forrest, he’ll eat anything.” No that seems too commercial. Was it an act of desperation by a starving person? Or a methodical testing of a hypotenuse. Did it seem magical? Does it predate recorded history? What was the reaction when it popped? I know some folks say that wars last forever. This is going to get me in trouble, but I suggest that wars don’t have to. Seriously, did I just end that statement with a preposition.

  24. E* says:

    Forrest – I would like to have dinner with Albert Einstein and his favorite pet bunny confidante,…and the topic of conversation would be: Imagination.

    I would also want to know what HE did,…when he had a Bad Hair Day. 🙂

    • E* says:

      Forrest – My favorite quote about imagination:

      “Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.”
      – Albert Einstein

    • lia says:

      E* I’ll bet Einstein could solve Forrest’s poem too.

  25. Project Why says:

    Ahh, more cotton candy for the brain!! 🙂

    Well, that is an easy question. – Jesus

    The greatest person to ever live. Do I really need to explain?

    To just listen….. or maybe even share some fish and bread dipped in olive oil. I would LOVE to shake his hand. 🙂 And to know that he would never forget me. …..he hasn’t even forgotten us now. Words can’t describe it……….

    And if not him, …..then Abraham Lincoln. Since I can trace my lineage back to him, it would be just amazing to sit and talk with him and ask him some questions. Maybe he would let me touch his hat or hold his pocket knife he always carried with him.

  26. Linda says:

    I have just finished reading a book that landed in my lap. Printed in 1969. The book is called “Tendoy” Chief of the Lemhis. At this time I would say I would like to spend some time with him. He was a Lovable Chief for 44 years, To a mixed band of Shoshoni, Bannock, and Tukuarika Indians. Friends to the white man and related to Sacajawea. The story is Brave, and funny, Tendoy Loved to go from house to house and missionaries homes and eat as many as several meals a day. He was Jovial and enjoyed people. The ending of this book was very sad. He fought hard to keep the Lemhis reservation. I cryed and cryed at the ending of this book. For those who do not know the Lemhi Mountains boarder Montana and Idaho. I Love his story and felt it came to me for a reason. He had many children, he had 3 wives. I pick Chief Tendoy. He died May 10th 1907. He was 73 years old.

  27. RMannaa says:

    Why, at this moment in time, I think I would like to talk to the Man himself, Mr. Forrest Fenn, Searchers really seem to set the blogs on fire with comments and ponderings of his treasure chest. I’d have a lot of questions to ask him and a few things to tell him too. But mostly I would try to hear him and listen good.

  28. Homecoming76 says:

    I would want to talk with Harry Longabaugh. So many mysteries to be solved! Did he really die in Bolivia with Butch Cassidy? was Etta Place really Ann Bassett? Harry Longabaugh AKA Sundance Kid. When me, my brother and cousins watched the movie Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid we just couldn’t believe they actually died. Then i read that they may not have died there and that Etta Place was actually Ann Bassett. Etta Place was a mystery in herself. I might be disappointed in the actual accounts of history but at least I would know.

    PS Paul Newman and Robert Redford rocked in the movie!! I wish they had done so many more movies together. Seemingly great chemistry!!

  29. Onuat says:

    My maternal grandmother, Grandma Mabel. If I could turn back time and sit with her for dinner not just two hours but all night long,I would do that in a heart beat. I was only in my late teens when I was sent to live and take her of her while attending a boarding high school as a day student.( My parents were moving around a lot for work) She was at least 110yrs when she passed. Blinded by her young age . I only wish I was there at Christmas and not at my parents. As a young teen, I had other things on my mind and didn’t pay much attention to her teachings of natural medicines..I only wish I had.

  30. Ed says:

    Very interesting question I would choose George Washington and maybe Thomas Jefferson. I would spend an hour with each. It would be fun to talk about the framing ideas behind this great nation. The existential questions would be great to know too. A meeting with God/Jesus would be neat.

  31. Woody Bogg says:

    Forrest ..Don Carasco Rodriquez …The two hour conversation would be interesting to say the least. I would ask him what happened after his party left Trinidad Colorado and where exactly was it where 12 chests of newly minted gold coins were stashed when the fight broke out that led to their demise..

  32. Woody Bogg says:

    If I could locate 12 chests of gold coins I would go buy one of the biggest ranches I could find and only invite under privileged people to come and enjoy hunting,fishing hiking and horseback riding and a chance to enjoy what most wealthy people either want to charge others or to keep only for themselves..

  33. Tim says:

    I’ve thought about this for a little while and of course the proper answer would be my parents. I lost both of them roughly 3 years ago within a span of 8 months.

    But I will take this a different direction… What if you could speak to someone for a few hours to try to make a difference. What if you could talk to John Wilkes Booth or Lee Harvey Oswald prior to those fatal shots being fired to see if you could change their mind? What about sitting down with someone of the likes of Hitler and attempt to convince him that the path he has chosen is not a good one? Who would you choose to plead your case with and attempt make a world altering difference? (plus I’d like to know if Oswald was really the one who pulled the trigger and if he acted alone. lol)

    • bco says:

      While I cannot be absolutely sure, my opinion is that if it weren’t Hitler or Booth or Oswald, it would have been someone else. Would you have wasted energy that could have been best directed elsewhere? How many books have been written about man’s inhumanity to man? Why not take your thinking all the way back to that the first instance of evil and stop that, then there would be lot less suffering. How many books have been written of why bad things happen to good people? As I appreciate the situation, no one has the definitive answer, even though many think they do.

      • Tim says:

        I’m not sure that trying to convince someone to be a better person is time wasted. If you think that you’re too small to make a difference, try sleeping in a closed room with a mosquito.

    • Judy Ms.Girl says:

      Eve taking the apple and tempting Adam with it in the Garden of Eden is the first EVIL SIN of record. But Evil is a choice and God needs to be in all of our choices. It is a debate and I would love also to Meet Jesus and God and know what they know and so on and so on….

  34. Pacman says:

    I’d plump for Francis Bacon. First I’d want to know what he wanted to know. As the father of empiricism and modern scientific method he would be amazed at the modern world. Politician, lawyer, cryptographer, spy: one conversation could crush a thousand conspiracy theories. For one, you could scotch his writing of said play. His personal reflections on such historical figures as Elizabeth I would be illuminating.

    I think two hours with Newton would be alarming, certainly more macabre than Einstein if physics is your bent.

    Sir Richard Francis Burton would be my second choice.

  35. BW says:

    Beethoven in his later years.

  36. Tim says:

    How about the three children Lucia dos Santos and her cousins Francisco and Jacinta Marto…. The children that saw The Virgin Mary at Fatima. They never told everything they saw in the visions. It would be interesting to hear about it.

  37. Judy Ms.Girl says:

    That is a good one Forrest!!! The first Native Americans that lived here before we moved here from England as Pilgrims. What they thought about us and if they saw us as a threat, what they thought about the first cow, horse, our customs, religion and the whole culture shock thing as a whole. Seeing the big ships and how we all were so different must have blown them away. Plows to plant crops and just all of the modern things in that era and how the true Native American lived off of the land with the buffalo and made their clothes and just lived with any knowledge of us across the pond. What do you think? That would have been awesome to give thanks for finding a new world and the new inhabitants of it.To talk to them and try to communicate would have just been such a learning experience……!!!

  38. Lots of good answers.
    As for me, I too would like to meet Forrest, but at different times in my life and his.
    I would have like to have met Forrest when he and I was about 14, the height of youth. Then I would have liked to have met him, who he is today, but when I was 18, my future before me. Last, when I am old and tired and he at the time he was sick with cancer, so I can tell him…smile, it’s going to be alright 🙂

  39. Moonshadow says:

    Einstein if given only one choice. I would feel lucky if I learned one thing from him. He put a whole new twist to the concept of reality.

    • spallies says:

      Moonshadow… What new thing would you like to learn from Einstein specifically? Just curious… What if his answer proved his theories to be incorrect? Would you still want to know???

  40. Clinger says:

    I would pick an old peasant from somewhere in Europe, circa 1400’s or so. For no other reason than I think many people have forgotten that much can be learned from just your average everyday old person. 🙂 Ideally, they would have to be old enough to be a bit cantankerous & not give a d@mn about what they say.

    Hopefully, I could learn a few new ( a relative term in this case) jokes to tell around the water cooler as well.

    The inventor of the wheel or the first person to create fire from friction would also be pretty cool, too.

  41. Belle says:

    Hattie C. who is my great grandmother. She was part Choctaw and part Scottish. My research on her has been very limited. I guess back then those things were not discussed, at least not in my neck of the woods.

  42. Smartypants says:

    Enoch, to learn what He knew, Moses, Thutmoses to discuss what they learned from the library that existed then.

  43. Brandyn says:


    I found this post fascinating as I was just sitting here in my home in IL thinking about that! I often think about if I could have dinner with anyone from the past who would it be? My list always narrows to Jesus, my Grandma, and Sitting bull. Reading these blogs got me to thinking maybe the better question is ” who would I want to have dinner with right now?” As I envision Dinner with you as a most captivating experience. So what do you say, you like steak?


  44. Brandyn says:


    I found this post fascinating as I was just sitting here in my home in IL thinking about that! I often think about if I could have dinner with anyone from the past who would it be? My list always narrows to Jesus, my Grandma, and Sitting bull. Reading these blogs got me to thinking maybe the better question is ” who would I want to have dinner with right now?” As I envision Dinner with you as a most captivating experience. So what do you say, you like steak?


  45. JL says:

    I would choose Thomas Jefferson, I would hope that in two hours to see the insight of a truly intelligent person. More then likely I wouldn’t understand a thing he was saying though.

  46. Brad Hartliep says:

    Cochise of the Chiricahua .. Washakie of the Shoshoni .. Ira Hayes of the Pima (Akimel O’Odham) .. Russell Means of the Oglala Lakota .. Chief Dan George of the Tsleil-Waututh .. Sacagawea of the Lemhi Shoshoni (raised Hidatsa) .. Any of the Hopi Spirit Leaders ..

  47. Michelle Patch says:

    Julias Cesar……at his table and I don’t have to serve

  48. randawg says:

    Wow, I love this question and Forrest’s answer.
    I read all the responses above and it set my mind spinning. Jesus or Abraham Lincoln are great choices. And it would be awesome to speak to Robin Williams, John Wayne, or Richard Nixon. But my choice would be: Philo Farnsworth. The inventor of television.


  49. Brad Hartliep says:

    One of the Native American Spirit Guides that followed the Horny Toad, past the Iron Forest, to the Sun, the Eagle Skyward to the Rocky Mountains, the Snake Down the River, the Coyote to the Yellowstone, the Ant People up the Sipapu to the Three Mesas, and the Spider-Bird Woman and Her Sister sitting at the edge of the Great Canyon waiting for the Sunset to Glow ..


    (Two of me strolling eight and a half miles straight around the vale sounds like a long trot past a short, screaming screen queen with a chip on her shoulder) ..

  50. Jake says:

    Hmmm….. this is a good question. There are many answers that come to mind right away, but the one that is at the top of my list is an inhabitant of Atlantis. I’d want to learn more about them and what the earth was like. Great question.

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