A Weekly Column
By Joseph Walker
THE DAY THE CARING STARTED
For those of us who were alive and relatively coherent 40 years ago, the date is frozen in our memories.
We know exactly where we were, what we were doing and who we were with.
For me it was
"The president of
Now, I wasnít exactly what you would call
politically astute in those days. I was 8 years old, and as far as I was
concerned, having the word "president" in front of your name wasnít
nearly as important as having the first name "Mickey" (as in Mickey
Mouse, Mickey Mantle and Mickey Rooney, not necessarily in that order). But
something about "president of
"I heard on the radio this morning that
President Kennedy is supposed to be in
I donít remember how long we waited out there for
Dad. It seemed like a long time, but to an impatient, slightly nervous 8-year-old
that could mean anything from 30 seconds to two hours. But I do remember how
serious and sad Dad looked as he walked across the parking lot, and how soberly
he explained the situation that was taking place in
All of which was sort of confusing to me back then.
"But Dad," I said as we pulled out of
the parking lot and resumed our journey to
"I donít agree with him politically," Dad said. "But heís our president."
And clearly, as far as Dad was concerned, that was enough.
There was none of the usual talking, laughing and
singing as we drove across the Nevada-California desert that day. Instead, Dad
flipped the car radio dial from station to station, trying to keep up with news
reports as we traveled through various radio frequencies. Even our arrival at
my sisterís house in
Iím not sure what happened to me during the following days as I watched the nation come together to mourn the loss of its fallen leader, but it affected me. I was mesmerized by it, and I was somehow different as a result. Suddenly I was aware of a world out there beyond my little circle of family and friends. It was a world filled with people and events that I didnít completely understand. But I knew it was a world I needed to learn about. And care about.
And pray for.
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Look for Joe's book, "How Can You Mend a Broken Spleen? Home Remedies for an Ailing World." It is available on-line through www.Amazon.com.