Living Columns & Blogs

Our president continues to defy expectations

U.S. President Donald Trump visits the Suresnes American Cemetery, near Paris, as part of the Paris commemoration ceremony for Armistice Day, 100 years after the end of the First World War, France, Sunday, Nov. 11, 2018.
U.S. President Donald Trump visits the Suresnes American Cemetery, near Paris, as part of the Paris commemoration ceremony for Armistice Day, 100 years after the end of the First World War, France, Sunday, Nov. 11, 2018. Christian Hartmann

A friend of ours, now deceased, often used an unusual expression when discouraging visitation or some other event that didn’t fit into her plans. She would simply say, “It doesn’t suit,” without further explanation.

Mayor Bill Peduto of Pittsburgh, in effect, said the same thing to President Donald Trump when he announced he would visit Pittsburgh just after the murders of 11 people at the Tree of Life synagogue. Peduto said the president would be welcome later.

The mayor explained that the people of Pittsburgh desired privacy as they buried their friends and loved ones. He further explained that there would be enough security problems to worry about without also having to cope with a presidential visit.

Normally, a president would graciously bow out for the time being.

But who said Trump is a normal president? He barged ahead with his plans.

While critiquing the White House, I’d like to comment on the job Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders is doing.

Many of you may not agree, but I think Sanders does a good job. She’s outspoken, but for the most part patient and polite as she fields some very tough questions from an aggressive press.

She’s incredibly loyal and skillful at polishing the unpredictable, provocative statements and opinions of a boss who has a reputation for gross exaggeration if not outright falsehoods at times. Sanders well earns her pay as a key figure in the ongoing war between the media and the White House.

In an interview, Sanders once defended the president by citing a quotation by former President Lyndon Johnson: “If the president walked across the Potomac, the media would be reporting that he could not swim.”

Literary tattoo

I had no idea that so many of our readers are so literary until I recently attributed a Shakespeare quote to “As You Like It” instead of to “Macbeth.“

It wasn’t all my fault. I had checked the internet to determine in which of the Bard’s plays he described life as a walking shadow and a tale told by an idiot.

Lesson learned: Don’t trust the internet on such matters when you have a wife who taught “Macbeth” at Raleigh’s Broughton High and is practically on speaking terms with Mr. Shakespeare.

“If”

Speaking of literature, U.S. District Judge Earl Britt writes that his favorite poem is Rudyard Kipling’s “If.”

Before his three now-grown sons reached their teens, Britt paid each of them $100 to memorize the poem. He said they liked it so much that they each had a big “If” tattooed on his arm.

The judge did likewise. And later, his grandsons also were branded with “If.”

“To me, it’s a family memory. I wear it with pride,” Britt said, referring to the tattoo.

Children’s church

“Children’s church” is one of the most enjoyable parts of a Sunday worship service.

I have noticed that usually the little girls pay rapt attention during the “sermonettes” as the children huddle around the teacher. Meanwhile, some of the boys squirm restlessly, gaze at the ceiling or yawn widely.

I’m reminded of an incident that occurred in a children’s sermon situation involving the child of friends of ours.

One Sunday morning, the teacher asked the youngsters, “Tell me, who is with you always? Who goes wherever you go, hears everything you hear and sees everything you do?“

Our little friend’s hand went up and she answered confidently, “It’s my little sister Laura, and I keep telling Mama we need to have separate rooms!”

Out of the mouth of babes….

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