The idea of presidential pardons have always intrigued me, as if God loaned you his mantle….forgive forgive forgive, those who’ve trespassed against you, along with their country, in your name.
I know this will sound strange but, Mr. Trump pardoning his own Hole in the Wall Gang, seems kinda’ just to me, since they were bandits on his behalf after all, even if they were already wanted in 12 states…in theory at least.
Imagine Butch, pardoning, Flat-Nose Curry.
He pardoned 117 people in all from the time he took office in 2017, some that would actually break your heart.
Abraham Lincoln was a big pardoner through his whole presidency, 64 in all, mostly soldiers. He even pardoned one named Patrick Murphy on the day he was assassinated.
His Secretary of War, Edwin Stanton, would argue, you need to make examples of these deserters, and Abe would say…oh, they’re not deserters, just boys that are a little homesick.
My heart gave a big thump as I penned that.
We too pardon in our personal lives, like the other day when a little girl ran over my foot with her miniature stroller.
As I hopped around, she started to cry. I said, “It’s okay, you didn’t mean it.”
“But I hut you,” she said, tears nestling on her tiny cheeks.
“It’s alright, you didn’t mean to hut me.”
Then, taking my leave, ran into a woman coming out of the subway, knocking her bag on the ground. As I bent to pick it up, handing it to her, said…
Emma Lazarus’s poem, The New Colossus, written in 1883 to raise money for the building of the Statue of Liberty’s pedestal, died when she was 38 of Hodgkins Lymphoma, never knowing her beautiful words would be immortalized on Liberty’s base.
F. Scott Fitzgerald, dying of a heart attack at the age of 44, never knew his book, The Great Gatsby, would be considered one of the greatest novels of all time.
Stephen Crane, who gave us The Red Badge of Courage about the American Civil War, died in at 29 of tuberculous.
Jane Austen dying at 41, possibly also of tuberculous, died unaware of her long lasting legacy thought of as the most brilliant female novelist to have ever graced a page.
John Kennedy Toole, just 31, took his life before his manuscript, The Confederacy of Dunces (Bill Hicks’s favorite book), went into print in 1981, earning the Pulitzer Prize that year for Fiction.
Michael Sharra winning the Pulitzer in 1975 for his historical novel, The Killer Angels, about The Battle of Gettysburg, never knew his manuscript, For Love of the Game, found in his desk drawer after dying of a heart attack at 59, would become such a best seller.
Poet John Keats left us at 25, another gentle great felled by tuberculous.
Poet, Sylvia Plath (1932-1963), and novelist, Emily Bronte (1818-1848), both died at 30, Bronte of tuberculous, Plath by her own hand linked in literature forever, unaware of their everlasting influence.
I’ll end with Anthony Bourdain, alas, calling it quits at 61, but unlike his predecessors, did know how great we thought he was.
When you come out of Union Station in Washington D.C., the first thing you see is the U.S. Capitol, beaming, across the sky.
At Christmas, it’s even lit up.
During the American Civil War (1861-1865), President Abraham Lincoln insisted, the work on its unfinished dome should continue, for the sake of the Union as well as the country’s morale.
Statuary Hall, where the first House of Representatives met in 1815, is hallowed ground, the voice of Henry Clay, the southern Senator from Kentucky serving 16 years as well as an intermittent Speaker of the House, still thunders from the ether, while Clio, the muse of history stands guard. (1857)
Daniel Webster, his northern rival from Massachusetts, too can be heard, that despite their opposing parties kept the Union together, while a young Abraham Lincoln sat quietly, bearing witness.
It’s also where John Quincy Adams, son of John, 6th President of the United States and the only one to return to the House, nobly serving for 17 years.
When asked, “Mr Adams sir, what party do you belong to?” he said…
“I belong to no party, I represent the people,” earning the name…Old Man Eloquent.
A plaque rests on the spot where Mr. Adams fell in 1848, carried to a Senate state room where he died two days later, while Henry Clay held his hand. On January 6th, 2021, that sacred space was disrespected by those who knew nothing of what it truly means to be an American, a Patriot, a Lover of “Liberty and Union, now and forever, one and inseparable!” to quote Mr. Webster.
But despite a very sad day that, to echo President Franklin D. Roosevelt, adate that will live in infamy, we still, had a new President at the end of it.
The United States Constitution, sired by the Founders, written by James Madison in 1787 after 234 years, though ruthlessly bloodied, still held.
God bless America!
God bless us all!
The first time I had the privilege of gracing Statuary Hall, I wept.
Recommended reading: The American Spirit: Who We Are and What We Stand For David McCullough (2017).
Recommended Watching: The Congress Ken Burns (1989).
I’m once again in my friend’s store, helping myself to a cup of coffee. I decide, while I’m there, to make one for Diego, the deli kid, busy making sandwiches. While I’m at it, I include a piece of packaged coffee cake.
When Tony sees this, he goes off the rails. “Do you know what that cake costs me, even wholesale, and you’re givin’ it away?”
I look at Diego who fortunately, had his earbuds in, and didn’t hear. Despite Tony being the size of a bull, not to mention full of it, I put my big girl panties on and say, “That kid works for the change you carry around in your pocket, so please spare me the lecture on the price of Entenmanns that, knowing you, expired a month ago.”
Yes, I said that.
He took this in, looking at Diego, still oblivious, then went back to hacking cheese.
I’m back at the coffee bar making a cup, this time, for one.
Tony sidles up.
“What about Diego?”
Assuming he’s being snarky, ignore him. When he doesn’t budge, waiting for an answer, I look at him determined to not take the bait.
He then says, “No, I thought it over. They all deserve a cuppa coffee.”
As I turn back to fix one, he says, “And don’t forget the cake.”
I’m always reading, or at the very least perusing a book, jotting down words or phrases that woo from the page.
For instance, I’m rereading the entire Poldark series, this time in order, and Winston Grahams’s language has me swooning, the latest being…you will come brave again, meaning, you will heal and be yourself once more.
I just love that.
Dusky, is another term he likes describing a Cornish femme fatale.
Cut to…the Bible, another book sitting on my shelf between Rebecca and a tome on Teddy I too, like to pick up and thumb through.
Peter caught my eye this morning I’ll share in Susannahese.
God keeps asking him, do you love me Peter? If so, feed my sheep. Peter, seems distracted, probably texting some dusky girl he likes, because God keeps asking, Peter do you love me?
Peter finally says, yeah, sure God, of course I love you…
God says, then feed my sheep.
I interrupt this as, give to someone else. Do a brother a good turn.
FEED MY SHEEP!
So it’s New Year’s Day as I card myself into my bank’s foyer to grace the ATM, seeing a young man of color standing in the corner, bent over scrubbing his sneakers with a toothbrush.
No, I didn’t make this up.
Now the New Yorker in me says, maybe you shouldn’t be withdrawing money at this time since, there’s no security guard, but the Joan of Bark side called out, “Hey, you okay over there?”
A face that would break your heart, looked up from his brushing and said, “Yeah, I’m okay,” paused before asking what I couldn’t hear but assumed was, could I spare a few bucks.
FEED MY SHEEP, was echoing in my head like a Stones song, having 2 choices, one to say no since, the ATM doesn’t give singles or fives, or to just part with a ten.
FEED MY SHEEP!!!
So I hand it over but, before leaving say like an elder since, he couldn’t have been more than 18, making you wonder, what in hell happened here, he’s out on the street…
“Promise me, you’ll use it to eat.”
12 Step would say, I had no right saying that, but God begged to differ since, man can’t live by crack alone.
That beautiful face lit up like a sunrise and said, “Ah promise Miss.” (oh, he called me Miss)
“And maybe you should get a new toothbrush,” said I, suddenly seeing sheep in CVS in the Oral Hygiene aisle, bahing.
A perfect way to begin the new year, armed with insanity and rodent repellent.
It appears I have a deranged neighbor two floors above me who claims she has a recurring rat. As you can well imagine, this doesn’t sit too well with me, being in such close proximity. Yeah, there is an apartment between is, but I’ve been to the rat rodeo before, and they can boogaloo down a pipe like nobody’s business.
After leaving me notes like…what are WE gonna do, and she JUST saw him again, me being me, spun into action.
“Is Patrick home?” As in Pat the Cat, my noble neighbor, next door.
His father, who I seem to have awakened at 3 in the afternoon, says without pause, “Just a minute, I’ll see.”
Now you would think he might wonder why I’m asking, but merely, opens the door wider to let the furry fella out.
Next thing I know, I’m plying him with the tuna I was planning on having for lunch before politely asking, did he mind doing a little random reconnaissance work.
Being the rogue he is, when I took him into the kitchen to sniff around, then the bathroom, then back to the kitchen where I even single-handedly moved the fridge so he could have a peek behind it, the Columbo of felines pawed around. After rolling out an embarrassed blueberry, he looked at me as if to say, all good back there.
One of the many things I love about Patrick is how he looks at you as if he were smiling, and frankly, considering my ongoing buffet, why shouldn’t he be.
We then, out of the goodness of my heart who really just wanted to club her with my granddad’s rolling pin, take Pat upstairs.
Nutsy opens the door in a rose peignoir, the kind Lana Turner wore, with a martini glass in her hand.
“YES?” she says, as if she forgot her ratty notes that I’m saving for evidence when they come lock her up.
Patrick, jumps from my arms, running into her place as if he knows exactly where Mickey is hiding, however, after he patrols every nook and cranny from this, who the fuck decorated this house in this revolting shade of brown, meows a definite…all clear.
I pick him up, say to her, “Now that should be enough proof that you don’t have a rat,” then leave.
Now of course I sound as certifiable as she is, but be that as it may, as they say in 12 Step, you take the action, letting go of the result.
After a little milk break, I take Patrick back home.
His father, still sleepy says, “Oh, Patty, you’re back, did you have a nice time?”