Friday, September 19, 2014
“Many times a day I realize how much my own life is built upon the labors of others, and how earnestly I must exert myself in order to give in return as much as I have received.” — Albert Einstein
Yesterday, Karen told me to stop writing about her, but she is the one doing all the interesting and exciting things. However, I do like making her happy, so today I will write about myself. The picture at the right was taken at the Algonquin Hotel in Manhattan where Dorothy Parker used to hold court at her “roundtable” which is still there. When I was in Manhattan visiting my son, Chris, we liked going there to play gin rummy and eat snacks and to watch other people and to watch other people watching us. Twice, someone came up to me to ask if I was someone famous. I would say, “No,” while at the same time I could see my son nodding his head “Yes.” They went away confused, and we had a little chuckle over it. We would just sit there for a couple of hours playing cards and eating their very tasty French Fries while sipping on a club soda with lime. Watch out, because if you do that, people may think you are famous. I have always liked watching other people and guessing who they are and what they are doing and where they are going. Hotel lobbies, airports, train stations all include a wide panorama of people going here and there. I have seen some famous people a time or two. Once, I was sitting at an airport bar in Chicago when I heard the voice next to me order a cup of coffee. I chanced a quick glance, and it was Frank Sinatra. All I could think of to say was, “The coffee is good here.” He nodded. That’s the entire story of my relationship with Frank Sinatra. When I was in college in Abilene, Texas, my family was living in Alexandria, Louisiana, and I would fly back and forth via Trans Texas Airways in an old DC 3, a tail dragger. In those days, you flew into Love Field right in the middle of Dallas (now everyone goes to DFW in between Dallas and Fort Worth). I had a four hour layover and had stared as long as I could at the statue of the Texas Ranger there when the loudspeaker announced, “He’s coming. Delta Gate 8!” Now I didn’t know who was coming, but it must have been important because they kept on announcing it at about fifteen minute intervals. Finally, the speaker blared, “He’s here! Delta Gate 8.” Now, if on the odd chance it was Jesus that was coming (I had heard of the second coming, just didn’t think it would be in Dallas), I thought I’d better head on down to Delta Gate 8, just in case. As I got nearer the gate, crowds of people started pushing me out the door and toward a red carpet that led to some white steps waiting for the airplane to arrive (before the days of jetways and covered walks). In fact, I got pushed out until I was about the fifth one in line near the steps. The plane landed, taxied up, the plane door opened, and Barry Goldwater got out waving. This was 1964 and he was running for President against Lyndon Johnson. He shook my hand as he passed by and I mumbled “The coffee is good here.” Well, I don’t really remember what I said, but by golly I was there at Delta Gate 8 just in case. Many, many years later, wearing my clerical collar, I was flying from Zurich to Athens with an ecumenical task force coming as guests of the Ecumenical Patriarch of the Orthodox Catholic Church. The woman sitting next to me did not say a single word to me on the whole flight. Even when I said, “Hello,” she just turned away without a word. When we landed in Athens, there were hundreds of press and photographers there including the Archbishop of Athens to greet us. Turns out the big crowd wasn’t for us, it was for my seat mate who turned out to be Sharon Stone. No wonder she didn’t want to talk to a man of God. Well, that’s enough about me. Let’s talk about you. What did you think of my last blog?