Here's what's back at the White House:
Herald trumpets, his-and-her tables, end-of-meal toasts, David Rockefeller, the Franklin Mint, the zodiac, Mickey Mouse -- and Jamaica.
Yesterday, the reemergence of Jamaica as a friendly neighbor led the way for the rest of the list as President Reagan and Mrs. Reagan welcomed the first state visitors of the new administration, Jamaican Prime Minister Edward Seaga and his wife, Mitzi, Miss Jamaica of 1964.
"It's a special pleasure to welcome a leader of such unique and personal courage," said Reagan.
And in a town where presidential symbolism is carefully noted, it was the symbolic significance of Seaga's visit that had everybody speculating, including Senate Majority Leader Howard Baker (R-Tenn.) and Senate Foreign Relations Committee Charles Percy (R-Ill.).
"It's full of symbolism," said Baker, adding that "President Reagan is trying to offer an important gesture of support to Jamaica, and the prime minister is reciprocating in kind."
Among the other 50 or so guests invited to welcome the man some see as the Caribbean's version of Ronald Reagan was Chase Manhattan Bank chairman David Rockefeller, who has more than symbolic interests in the Caribbean.
The United States Army Band's herald trumpets started the whole thing off when they lined up on the Truman Balcony yesterday morning to play trumpet fanfares for the Seaga arrival ceremony, the first such display since Gerald Ford left the White House.
Inside the mansion later, the Seagas and Reagans exchanged official gifts, including a four-foot tall Mickey Mouse wall clock and a Franklin Mint collection of sterling silver zodiac medals for the Seaga children.
At the luncheon the president and first lady sat apart, Reagan at the round table beneath the Lincoln portrait and Nancy Reagan at a table on the other side of the State Dining Room. Besides splitting up togetherness (Rosalyn and Jimmy Carter always sat side by side), the Reagans shifted toasts back to the end of the meal. (Carter liked to get toasts out of the way before they served up the food.)
When the president got around to offering his, he pledged "the good will, the cooperation and the moral and material assistance of the United States" in helping the pro-western Seaga meet the challenges ahead, some of them coming from "forces hostile to our shared transition." Reagan never spelled out those forces by name, but he alluded to Jamaica's "recent struggles to remain free of foreign interference." Seaga came into office last October after defeating the pro-Castro Michael Manley, whose government held power for eight years.
The 50-year-old Seaga's response was a combination of eloquent understatement and neighborliness that included an invitation to the 53 freed American hostages and their families to spend an expense-free week's vacation in Jamaica.
It also featured Seaga's wit. He said he had been speculating why he was chosen as the first head of state to pay Reagan a visit. And in the grand old tradition of public speakers, that reminded him of a story. This one was about a centipede suffering from arthritis who sought medical advice from a stork. Not suffering from arthitis himself, the stork came up with the remedy of reducing the centipede's legs to two, "which would be realizing a 98-percent improvement immediately." Which sounded okay to the centipede but, as Seaga noted, "with the caution of all creatures that move slowly," he wondered how the stork would make the transformation.
"I don't know," replied the stork. "That's policy."
Seaga said he did not know if he was invited to town "for reasons of policy but we would like to think there are policies being evolved surrounding our presence. We, too, suffer the problems of the centipede. As a nation, economically and politically we have inherited the malady which has to be cured."
It took Percy to put Seaga's toast into some perspective. "In the 30 years I've been coming to White House dinners since the Eisenhower years, that was the most brilliant, touching, humorous toast I've ever heard," Percy raved.
Said Baker: "I would not be at all surprised to see us offering generous financial assistance to Jamaica," a relatively safe bet since some U.S. officials have predicted American aid to the tiny Caribbean nation will exceed $40 million.
Besides Washington officialdon, big business was well represented among the Reagans' guests. There were also several members of the president's senior staff, including White House press secretary James Brady. After the meal of king crab in artichoke hearts, medallions of veal marsala and sabayon with fresh pears, washed down with Cabernet Sauvignon, Brady told reporters he had barely made it to his State Dining Room seat at Barbara Bush's table. He had been briefing reporters on the oil price deregulation when somebody called to tell him he had five minutes to get to the luncheon.
"This access," Brady said of his new "insider" status, "is killing me."