So, Mike and Judy had company over the weekend. His late brother’s 2 oldest daughters, Ariela and Sharona, came to visit, one from Seattle and the other from Israel. I like them a lot. Mike has a very nice family. Michelle came over and enjoyed “cousin time.” Today is Thursday, the one Thursday of the month that he doesn’t have chemo. He goes for a meeting with his doctor next Thursday, and maybe will have a better idea of a plan going forward. We are very optimistic of a good outcome, and I’m sure you all are as well. I can tell that you have been praying for Mike. I feel the energy. Thanks a bunch.
Mike has started to use the prayer of St. Francis in his meditations every day. Did you know that the prayer was not authored by St. Francis of Assisi? In fact, it is little more than 100 years old, first appearing in 1912 in France published anonymously in a spiritual magazine, La Clochette, by a Catholic group called La Ligue de la Sainte-Messe, “The Holy Mass League.” It became popular during the period between the World Wars. The first appearance in the English language was 1936 in the book, Living Courageously, by Kirby Page, a minister affiliated with the Disciples of Christ. In his book he attributed the prayer to St. Francis. Who knew?
Mike is reading a book called “Political Suicide” by Erin McHugh. It is timely given the apparent determination of certain political figures to self-destruct. Mike says that some people learn nothing from history, and that if anything guarantees that a scandal will end the career of a politician it is a clumsy cover-up of the scandal. Thank you Richard Nixon for being Exhibit #1 of this truism. My favorite story, because of its effect on society, is the one about G. Harrold Carswell, a native Georgia boy. After a rapid rise in the judicial ranks, he was nominated to the Supreme Court by the above-referenced President Nixon. Nixon had first nominated Clement Haynesworth of South Carolina, but his nomination failed to be approved. Nixon wanted a conservative Southerner, and Carswell seemed to fit the bill. The seat was available because Abe Fortas had just stepped down from the court amidst a scandal, so the senators were closely looking for improprieties that would disqualify a candidate. Senator Ted Kennedy waylaid Carswell in hearings with questions about how many of his former law practice clients had appeared before him when he later presided as a judge over a case. Also, it was brought out that 58% of his judicial decisions had been overturned on appeal. Then he was sunk by his racist views. Years earlier he had been interviewed when he first ran for public office in Georgia (he lost) in 1948. It was reported that he said “I am a southerner by ancestry, birth, training, inclination, belief, and practice.I believe that segregation of the races is proper and the only practical and correct way of life in our states. I yield to no man, as a fellow candidate, or as a fellow citizen, in the firm vigorous belief in the principles of white supremacy, and I shall always be so governed.” So, his nomination was defeated in the Senate by a vote of 45 yeas and 51 nays. He went on to be involved in a couple of scandals that in the interest of decency I won’t go into. The absolutely most interesting thing about this story, is that the judge who eventually took the vacant seat was Harry Blackmun a liberal judge who authored the majority opinion in Roe v. Wade, probably the most important decision of the Supreme Court in the past 50 years. The decision was 7-2, so it is unlikely that a Haynesworth or Carswell appointment would have changed the outcome, but it is interesting to speculate about it.
So, Mike has been grumbling about trite or hackneyed phrases lately. He hears them everywhere: talk radio, the news, newspapers, conversation with others. One of his pet peeves is “obviously” (see “Obviously,” May 30, 2017.) He saw “obviously” and “probably” used in the same sentence referring to the same thing in the sports page this week. Another coach said that his quarterback who is injured is “probably doubtful” to play on Saturday. This from a football coach who might be making more money than the president of the university, and is certainly making more than the governor of his state. Some of Mike’s favorite phrases to hate are “at the end of the day,” “first and foremost,” and “last but not least.” Let’s try something. First and foremost, if you push the envelope you obviously will discover, in the end, last but not least, that no matter how far you push the envelope it will always remain stationery. And as they say, it is what it is.
So, that’s all for now from Happy Meadows. Hopefully, next time we will hear from Waldo, the Fowl party spokesgoose for Donald Donck, (see “So this is what retirement is like?,” August 31, 2019) who is considering running for political office, if you can imagine a duck going into politics. Stranger things have happened, and maybe we will be able to report on some of them from right here in Happy Meadows. Be well, be safe, be nice, and be happy. I will certainly try to as well. Bye, bye.