Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Happy Birthday, Quiet Man

Every week when I prepare to pen my weekly Letter From the Editor column, which I usually try to compose on Tuesday, I take a glance at the calendar to see if there is something the following Monday or that week that I should take notice of in my piece.

It didn't take me long last week to recognize the significance of this day.

When I glanced at the calendar, I looked right past Monday being Nov. 21. I could not stop staring at the following day - Nov. 22.

It's a fairly momentous day in U.S. history, even if for some reason this year it doesn't seem like much is being made of it. I will never forget what happened on Nov. 22, 1963. It is forever emblazoned on my consciousness.

That is part of what I wrote about Monday, how the nation was in need of healing 53 years ago in the wake of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. I noted the nation survived that, we certainly will handle the unrest today in the wake of an unprecedented election.

Several people let me know they did not appreciate what they clearly perceived as my attempt to compare the election of Donald Trump with the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. One caller informed he I was "sick" for trying to make such a comparison.

They missed the point. I was now comparing the two. I was simply noting that in both instances the nation was in need of healing. We manged to survive 53 years ago, I think we will today as well.

No, I was not trying to send any ulterior message about Mr. Trump, although I suppose everything I write these days will be placed under that kind of microscope.

Of course, for me there is another reason Nov. 22 will always mean something special to me.

It was my father's birthday.

As a kid, I was aware that JFK was assassinated on my father's birthday.

Here's what, incredibly, I never relaized until a few years ago.

On Nov. 22, 1963, my father turned 50.

Not exactly a happy birthday.

My father had a well-earned nickname.

We called him 'The Quiet Man,' not so much after the great John Wayne movie as to his persona.

In short, my father was a man of very few words. I think he imparted that trait to his son, at least his youngest.

I can tell you it's not always a good thing.

The words pour out of me when I sit at this keyboard, but they don't always flow so easily out of my mouth.

Today I will remember my father by doing what he always did. I will go to work.

Part of what I do for a living is writing.

It is a great honor to hold the position I've held here at the newspaper now for 17 years.

My father was a man who loved the newspaper.

I always wonder what he would think of his son who writes for a living.

It's one of those mysteries that I guess will never be solved.

A little bit like the mystery that continues to swirl around the events in Dallas 53 years ago.

And how more than half a century later, writing about it can leave people with something entirely different than what you had intended.

If you were offended by what I wrote Monday, I apologize. That was not my intention.

Maybe dad had it right. Maybe sometimes you can speak volumes by being quiet.

Lessons learned.

Happy Birthday, Quiet Man.

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