Wednesday, August 26, 2009
I just learned of the passing of Edward Kennedy today. Being a boy from Massachusetts, an Irish Catholic Boy from Massachusetts, I've always had pride in the Clan Kennedy. They were the ideal family, something to strive for, warts and all. They were like any other family (the super rich version), their struggles were our struggles, they had the courage to face their issues and take action. Yes sometimes that action was to attempt to hide their foibles, yet that made them even more likable. The cracks in their armor allowed me to see their humanity, to see myself.
I am a Momma's boy, proud of it, so I followed in my Mom's footsteps, both in religion and in politics. I am no longer a practicing Catholic, nor is my Mom, but we are still Kennedy Loving Democrats. My Dad was a Kennedy Loathing Republican. And a Protestant. Yes their is WASP blood running through my veins!
This afternoon as I read of his death, I thought of my favorite Ted story. I thought of my Dad.
When my brother Bob died in September 2001 the world reached out to my parents to express their sorrow for their loss. A surreal time. One of those surreal moments was a phone call from Ted. My Mom was quite surprised. A beautiful gesture of love and support in a troubling time. She chatted with him, about what I am not sure, I'll have to ask her. Ted wanted to express his condolence to my Dad as well. My Mom put her hand over the phone, yelled into the other room to my Dad "Jimmy, Ted Kennedy is on the phone and wants to talk to you." My Dad in all his subtly, in all his subversive brilliant humor, hollered back to my Mom "I never voted for the bum, why the hell would I want to talk to him." And so my Mom thanked him for the call, and my Dad and Ted never did talk and a story of legend was born.
Today I think of two great men who have moved on. Two men who've inspired me in very different ways. I hope they are chatting now, realizing they have much in common, and having a laugh at the conversation that never happened.
Goodbye Ted. Thank you for bravery, your leadership, your ability to overcome adversity. You've been a beacon of hope and change, a beacon of stability.