The Clean-Cut Tony Snow

I guess I would title my blog about Tony Snow clean-cut because that is how I pictured him. When FOX would come on and I would see Tony Snow he always looked fresh, and refreshing. He was ready to bring a positive word out of the dismal day.  Whether you agreed with what he was saying or at political odds with his view…. everyone still wanted to like Tony Snow because he just looked like the clean-cut guy next door.

When I heard Tony Snow was moving on to the White House, I actually cared for once who was speaking on behalf of the president. Again, it was a fresh chance to hear the same press versus leader questions but suddenly I knew it would be more fair. The good guy was going to keep things “nice”.

I never had the privilege to meet Tony Snow, and am by no means a hero worshiper of those in the spotlight. But every now and then, someone catches your eye and you simply like their personality. I liked the way Tony Snow handled the discussions on the TV. I liked how he came across as a gentleman. I was impressed that he seemed to turn a tense conversation into a calm one. No one had to leave Tony Snow’s enemy unless they distinctly choose to.

That is why I was saddened when it was revealed he was ill. I was even more saddened when Tony Snow died. I felt grief for the pain his family must be facing. A life cut short, way too early. My prayers went out to them and yet frankly, all involved are strangers to me.

I don’t know or care if there was another side of Tony Snow, in his private life. It matters not what kind of father or husband or son Tony Snow was. Because when we see someone on a daily basis over the TV screen they are doing their job. And the Tony Snow that graced my television screen will live in my mind as a clean-cut gentleman who was a pleasure to receive the news from, or listen to report from the White House.  May we have more clean-cut media men to carry on Tony Snow’s example.

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From Darling to Dashing – JFK, Jr.

The little boy who capture the heart of the world in the mid-1960’s,  was JFK, Jr.  He was the darling son of one of the most powerful men of the day. His father was the youngest elected President of the United States of America. John F. Kennedy was president only a couple of weeks before his son, JFK, Jr. was born.

Having your first home, the first three years of your life in the White House must be quite a treat for a child. The news magazines held  adorable pictures of little JFK, Jr., and his sister, Carolyn romping in the Oval Office and on the lawn outside, or walking hand in hand with their famous dad. Then came the pictures of a tiny JFK, Jr. as part of a nation in mourning when his father was stolen from us by a horrible assassin.

From there we only hear tidbits for a while, Jackie, Caroline, and JFK, Jr.  move on with their life. They never lacked for much with a rich background and soon a new wealthy step-father. JFK, Jr. had a wonderful education.

JFK, Jr. had the drive and handsome appearance of his father. He was an outstanding student, and was well liked by everyone, especially the ladies. As a young man, I have been told JFK, Jr. was well aware of his dashing good looks. A fellow student at NYU once shared an elevator with him and others. Being native New Yorker’s they were oblivious to those around them. All of a sudden JFK, Jr. spoke out  asking why everyone was looking at him. They were amused as they went on their way.

By an early age, JFK, Jr. had quite a few accomplishments to his name. He was a lawyer like his father, and owned his own magazine. He also had his pilot’s license. It is ironic that a young JFK, Jr. who carried his father’s name, and resembled him in so many other ways, would also die at such a promising age.

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Legendary Pat Boone

The man with a perpetual tan and white shoes, Pat Boone. That is how I will always remember him. He has been one of my favorites since 1976 when I was still a teenager. I saw Pat Boone last year, and he has aged a little but still is the same great man.

I remember Pat Boone from TV movies, and musicals. I especially enjoyed Pat Boone in western movies. I loved his singing and clean-cut good looks.  

The first time I saw Pat Boone in person he was part of a spiritual patriotic celebration at DAR Constitution Hall in Washington DC in 1976. It was a concert as part of a movement to call American back to their faith in God for the healing of our nation. I remember being excited that Pat Boone was one of the celebrity stars, because I had just seen one of his movies. He sang a song, and sounded just like in the movies. I was a Pat Boone fan from that moment on.

The next year we went to a similar rally in front of the U.S. Capitol steps. We got there early and as we sat on the wall, I realized the man next to me was wearing white shoes. Sure enough, it was my hero, Pat Boone. That was amazing. We talked a few minutes, and I realized he was a normal man, but still a God-fearing man.

Through the years, my ears have always pricked up when I have heard the name, Pat Boone. He was a good man, who represented Godliness at a time when that was far from popular. Pat Boone stood for wholesome family values when the world was straying from them. Pat Boone and Shirley raised good kids, amidst a steadfast marriage. 

When I saw Pat Boone recently he was in Washington as part of a Charity Dinner he co-founded. He was still popular, charming and interested in helping others. Surely to his dying day, Pat Boone will always carry the legacy of a squeaky clean good-guy.

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G Scale – Next Best thing to Real Railroads

I absolutely love G Scale trains. They are so fun to watch. I have seen many layouts and designs and they are wonderful. They of course are only models but look exactly like the real deal.

As a child my dad would bring out our G scale trains at Christmas time and we would try to build the perfect train layout. We would fight over where the switches should go and who got to control it, and in the end my dad would put it all away. The next year was usually a repeat of the same. But we would still look forward to the G scales from Christmas to Christmas.

Then I would babysit for a couple who had a hobby of building G scale trains. I was fascinated when his train was still up in his dining room in May. I couldn’t quite understand how his wife would tolerate this. Later he had a G scale village taking over his pool table.  This at least made more sense since her dining area was back to perfect.

A former pastor turned the former church library into a G scale train display he works on and opens up to public display during the holidays. The Union station has a Norwegian ski slope in the lobby every winter in G scale that encourages a trip to the city.

Then I met a man who took years to create a fictitious european  village in G scale in his basement. We watched this developed over time, and eventually it was encased in its own room. Now although G scale is a relatively small train, a whole village can take up quite a bit of space. Just imagine enough room for mountains, three sets of track, tunnels, a village, roads, every imaginable type of building, plus a log producing saw mill all in G scale. Not to mention the european chocolate stand, and newspapers. This was quite an endeavor. His display far exceeds any public showing people pay money or drive miles to see. 

Not everyone can find the time, energy, and money to create such a grand display.  However, if anyone sets out to build their own train layout, chances are it will be done in G scale.

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President Obama’s Father

I find it hard to have any respect for Obama’s father. Oh, excuse me, he fathered the 44th president of our nation. Does that grant him automatic respect? Not in my book. You see from what I have read and heard, Obama’s father was a father in name only. It was never a role he played.

Obama’s father produced his first offspring at the age of 18. Never a great idea. Especially if you are still getting an education. Then he followed that with another. Then Obama’s father started dropping wives and just as quickly getting new ones, with more children.

If what I read is correct, when Obama’s father came to the US at the age of 23 he left 4 fatherless children behind. That is neither honorable nor manly to do. Sure he was still young, but once you start trying to live like a man, there is responsibility that comes with it.

So wife number 3 or 4 and Barack Obama’s father finally names his 5th child after him. Did he have any idea this son would one day be a man of power, fame, fortune, integrity? Or was it just coincidence Obama’s father chose this child to carry his name?

Obama’s father still wasn’t around for long, and he finished his education and headed back to Africa. After one more wife, and two more sons he died alone. Apart from his “family”.

Having come from a pretty mixed up family himself, some would say you couldn’t blame Obama’s father. But I find that hard to take. How can it be right to call a man father when he has produced at least 7 children, and yet had never been there to be a father to any of them.   

Maybe that is why, unlike Obama’s father, we see a president totally involved in the lives of his children. My guess is by seeing who his father was, Barack Obama, II, decided he would not be like his father. Instead we see a loving caring man, never too busy to reach out and give his girls a hug.

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Historical Obama Inauguration

In January, 2010, the Obama inauguration changed history. For the first time ever a black man had been elected President of the United States of America. From the day of the elections, until the day of the Obama Inauguration there was non-stop media coverage about the upcoming event. To the extent that the Obama Inauguration itself was almost anti-climatic.

I work for a 90 yr old African-American woman. She was raised in the south, the descendant of slaves. The Obama Inauguration to her was the culmination of a lifetime of watching her family history evolve. Born in the early 1900s, she heard stories of slavery still fresh in the minds of her kin. They still struggled with rights and equality. She remembers hearing Dr. King. She married an Army soldier, who was one of the first black officers in the US Army. She travelled abroad, and has pictures of officers clubs where hers and her husbands were the only dark ones. Yes, the Obama Inauguration was a dream come true for many elderly black men and women.

Working for a black family, being a white woman, during this time is a learning experience. The old saying, about never judge a man unless you have walked a mile in their shoes is so correct. Being the “servant minority” to these people has helped me better understand their world.  My 90 yr old lady was driven in the back of a car, sick with the flu, unable to walk, but not willing to give up the right to vote for a black man for the office of president. The Obama Inauguration was not to be taken lightly by Ms. Gussie.

Then came the onslaught of magazines, newspapers, memorabilia, all to be collected and preserved. There were Obama Inauguration magazines before New Years. I was asked to tape the whole day before, during , and after the Obama Inauguration. Not a moment was to be missed, not even a party, or the reviews the next morning.   

And after the Obama Inauguration, these people had a new lightness to their step. They felt justified as people, as equals, as Americans. No longer Africans Americans. Just plain Americans who happen to have dark skin. Yes, the Obama Inauguration was making a change in their heart, their mind, their walk, their lives. I didn’t vote for him, yet for these, my people and my friends, I was happy!

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I Want to Shake Your Hand, Laura Bush

Early in his presidency, my son, then 10 yrs old had the chance to shake the hand of President George W. Bush. I was happy for him, but that was when I decided, I want to shake hand, Laura Bush. You see since I was very young, I had always heard that behind every great man was a strong woman. I believed the president was a great man, so I wanted to meet his wife, Laura Bush.

This was shortly before the tragedy of 9-11. As the events unfolded, I watched Laura Bush. I watched how she responded. I prayed for the safety of her, and her children, as well as our leaders. I watched Laura Bush handle the crisis with as much dignity and compassion as any woman could possibly display. So that only heightened my resolve to shake the hand of Laura Bush.

Laura Bush was a great First Lady. She had a wonderful sense of style. Her outfits always looked tailor-made and dignified. She was dressed for the occasion. Laura Bush looked like a woman of quiet strength, not just a show. She enjoyed many roles and activities that came with her duties as First Lady. My sister-in-law did get to shake Laura Bush’s hand when she inspected the painting Liz had done on the Virginia entry to the National Easter Egg Collection. I didn’t even know such a collection existed. Liz thought she was wonderful.

Because my son had “touched ” a real live president, and the strong sense of patriotism sweeping our nation, we were big Bush fans. We visited the White House for the Easter Egg Roll, we went to the White House open house the day after the second Bush inauguration, we prayed for the President. But we never got to see Laura Bush in person, so I never got to shake her hand. One day, when she is old, and I am old, maybe we will meet at a book signing, or charity event, and my dream will come true. And I will say,”I want to shake your hand, Laura Bush.”

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