As President Trump was naming members of his Cabinet, TV’s talk show panelists enjoyed a field day appraising the qualifications and personalities of the appointees.
When one appointee was described as “levelheaded,” I smiled to myself and thought of the late North Carolina Agriculture Commissioner Jim Graham.
When I was editor of The Raleigh Times, the long-serving Graham used to call me at work from time to time to share a bit of wisdom or witticism.
For example, he once called to say, “A.C., if you happen to see a terrapin sitting atop a fence post, remember that it didn’t get there by itself.”
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In another call, he told about becoming lost in Wilkes County on his way to make a speech at some event.
“I pulled in at a country store and walked up to a levelheaded fellow and asked for directions,” he said. “ I knew he was levelheaded because he had tobacco juice oozing out of both sides of his mouth.”
Chewing tobacco seems to have gone out of style except for a few baseball players. So now we really have no authentic way of discerning who among our politicians are levelheaded in the real sense of the term.
The 2-inch storm
We “hunkered down” for the predicted 6- to 8-inch snowstorm.
It never came. Alleluia!
Less then 2 inches of the white stuff was enough, thank you. Mixed with sleet, it still made for treacherous walking and driving.
The Old Reliable, reliably delivered, rested at the end of the snow- and- sleet covered driveway until our ever-thoughtful neighbors, the Abolins, brought it to the back door every day.
For some unknown reason, the telephone also went on the blink. When my wife called to report the outage, a recording rattled of a bunch of blarney about getting a flat-head screwdriver and working on the telephone box outside our ice-marooned house.
The weather of course revived the traditional myth that Southerners can’t drive during inclement weather.
Dixie drivers bristle at the charge. One Raleighite expressed his chagrin in no uncertain terms.
“On the short drive to the grocery store on a road iced over in shaded areas, I learned I couldn’t drive fast enough for some idiot Yankee determined to show Southerners they know how to drive 65 over snow and ice,” he e-mailed.
“For example, on the way home, I turned on my turn signal 200 yards before I was to turn into my street, but did not move over into the turn lane because it was covered in ice. The idiot behind me attempted to pass on my right, which was also covered in ice.
“His car hit the ice, skidded right, then left, then right again before he was able to regain control. All that for the one second it took for me to make my turn, which I had completed by the time he got out of the almost crash.”
Tom Spence adds his critique of hotel accommodations to my recent gripe about 60-watt bulbs in bedside lamps.
“We thought your comments about the poor lighting in hotel rooms were right on target,” he wrote. “We are already bringing our pillows and cotton blankets with us. Otherwise we would never sleep.
“Who decided that the heavy coverlets found in most hotels are conducive to sleep? They feel like the chest protectors that are used by dentists when they’re doing x-rays. One can hardly turn over in bed. Also, the lighting in practically all hotel bathrooms is poor, especially over the toilet.
“Don’t they realize that people like to read in that little room? I would bring a larger bulb, but I would have to stand on the toilet to replace the bulb, and that would be a high-risk situation. Somehow, I feel that issue should be covered by the American Disabilities Act. “
Food for thought
Adlai Stevenson said, “My definition of a free society is a society where it is safe to be unpopular.”