The Gadfly: A Charmed Life
As lousy as I continue to feel following open heart surgery on July 6th (the recovery has been anything but smooth), and having weathered several life-threatening events over my lifetime, I look back and conclude that I have had a charmed life.
Ann and I mark 50 years next February. Our two daughters are healthy and have produced five grandkids, my reward for having made it 71-plus years. I take joy in their achievements, even their struggles. I rejoice when they are happy and ache when they are sad.
The latest event to bring joy to our lives is grandson Mike's adoption of his bride Brandi's daughter, Kaydnce. Look up love story in my phrase dictionary and you'll find this photo of Mike and Kaydnce and note her body language; she loves her new Dad.
It's been my good fortune to walk with presidents and work with many who now dominate the news. I've hit 46 of the 50 states and countries in Europe and Central America. I've witnessed history and met many of those who made it. I've had the opportunity to help the careers of several who now prosper, some of them on the airwaves, others in business. I've had chance encounters with folks some people would pay money to see: Wilma Rudolph and Rafer Johnson in the Olympic Stadium in 1960 in Rome; Sammy Davis Jr. in a Plaza Hotel elevator; Bob Newhart and Don Rickles on Park Avenue; Linda Rhonstadt and Jerry Brown (yes, "Governor Moonbeam" himself) hanging in a hotel bar in Los Angeles; Jack LaLanne in a San Francisco restaurant; Telly Savalas in the lobby bar at the Universal in LA; Gerald and Betty Ford in a Vail restaurant; John Wayne in the Beverly Hilton; Jerry Springer in an Atlanta hotel; Sonny Bono in an Aspen parking lot.
Thirty-two years ago, I had the idea for this publication. That it has survived this long still surprises me.
Good fortune has given me good neighbors and enduring friendships and the opportunity to take joy from the lives of those I admire.
Good fortune gave me a storybook childhood in a gentler time, blessed my sainted Mother with 98 years of quality life and gave me three over-achieving sisters whose lives I greatly admire.
It was only through Good Fortune that I avoided being embroiled in Watergate. Because I just couldn't see my family living in D. C. as I worked 20 hours a day and not wanting to leave Oklahoma, I declined a Nixon White House job under Communications Director Herb Klein. The guy who took it: Jeb Stuart Magruder. Caught up in the mess, he cooperated with federal prosecutors and in exchange, was allowed to plead guilty in August 1973 to a one-count indictment of conspiracy to obstruct justice, defraud the United States, and eavesdrop on the Democratic Party's national headquarters at the Watergate. He was sentenced to ten months to four years for his role in the failed Watergate burglary and subsequent coverup; he served seven months of the sentence. After his sentencing, Magruder said, "I am confident that this country will survive its Watergates and its Jeb Magruders."
The Good Lord has blessed me, kept me (mostly) out of trouble and I am thankful.
A charmed life, indeed.
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