Living Columns & Blogs

‘Quid pro quo’ is part of the American lexicon, but its meaning isn’t too impressive

In this Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2019 file photo, President Donald Trump meets with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy at the InterContinental Barclay New York hotel during the United Nations General Assembly, in New York.
In this Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2019 file photo, President Donald Trump meets with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy at the InterContinental Barclay New York hotel during the United Nations General Assembly, in New York. AP Photo

Good morning. How’s your quid quo pro?

You didn’t know you had a quid quo pro? After listening to days and weeks of panel TV and radio chatter, you’d think that everybody under the sun had a quid quo pro.

“Quid quo pro” is the latest buzzword in our culture’s conversation.

I remember some years ago when the internet was in its infancy that a friend called from Concord practically in tears.

“What’s wrong, Sally?” I asked

“I don’t have a dot.com,” she sighed. “Everybody I know has a dot.com, and I feel so left out, so incomplete as a person.”

What really launched the “quid pro quo” usage surge was the conversation between President Trump and the president of Ukraine in which Trump allegedly offered taxpayer money to the Ukrainian president only if he would dig up dirt on Trump’s political rival, presidential candidate Joe Biden.

So, speaking Latin may be impressive, but quid quo pro merely means swapping something for something.

Local Rembrandt

My wife was at the dining room table catching up on her correspondence. I reached over and plucked a note card from the nearby box. It was a card designed by Jerry Miller, one of North Carolina’s most popular artists.

Miller, a native of Sanford, and his wife, Jean, have lived in Cary for more than 60 years. Jerry, in a sense, has put the state on the map, art-wise, with his sketches and paintings of well-known scenes and historic landmarks.

He has drawn over 200 Raleigh scenes, plus 200 significant buildings in the Cary area. In addition, he has produced more than 500 drawings, including landmarks across the state.

His most popular drawings include N.C. State’s Bell Tower, UNC’s Old Well, the Cape Hatteras lighthouse and Asheville’s Biltmore House. His largest painting hangs in the main hall lobby at William Peace University in Raleigh.

After graduating from Sanford High, Jerry played football at Elon College before entering the Army. Afterwards, he attended Mars Hill College to shore up his academic credits for admission to N.C. State. Along the way, he married his high school sweetheart, Alice Jean Castleberry.

In 1995, then-first lady Hillary Clinton requested that each state send a decorated egg to be displayed in the White House before and after the Easter holidays. Later, the eggs were moved to the Smithsonian Museum. Miller was selected to paint North Carolina’s egg.

The empty room

My grandson has completed a tour of colleges that he will aim for in a couple of years. Time flies. It seems like only yesterday that he was in kindergarten.

He will be the last of the three grands to leave home.

I remember that “crying time” empty nest feeling I experienced when my daughter Melinda went off to college. I had gone downstairs and found a farewell note that she had left for the mouse that sometimes visited her room in search of cookie crumbs, and for the cricket that sometimes chirped on her window sill in summer.

“I want to warn you that this room may be cleaner in the future,” she wrote. “No dirty dishes, no cookie crumbs, crumpled clothes or lost blueberries. I advise you to vacate. Thank you for your understanding and cooperation.”

By now, you parents who recently have left your son or daughter at college need to know that the empty feeling gets better.

But it never completely goes away.

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