Wednesday, June 01, 2005

The Face

And there they were.

Those faces we had grown so accustomed to 30+ years ago: the Plumber, the Burglar, the Chief of Staff, the guy who would run over his own grandmother if it would help thePresident, the Trickster - all those folks who put the USA through a constitutional crisis perhaps unparalleled in our history.

And there they were, the same faces, a little more lined, a lot more gray, but the same voices: spinning, justifying, obfuscating, accusing, denying.

But the face I will always remember from theWatergate era is that of Bob. A white-haired fellow in his early 70's, he was a part-timer in the campus post office. He had been through some of the most difficult times in the 20th century: the Depression, World War II, coming home from war to start a life. And because he was of that generation, even in retirement he was always moving. The only time he ever sat down was for coffee in the morning and afternoon, and when he would open up the brown bag lunch his wife lovingly packed him each day.

But when the hearings started to be broadcast on the radio, he started to move a little slower and would do more of his work sitting down. At first, he had the look that most folks had then: disbelief at all the fuss over a minor break-in in some office. But then more and more people testified, more and more was revealed, and Bob's face went through all the classic stages of grief that we are familiar with, until he was sitting there nodding his head in belief at what most of the folks were saying about his government, his president, his leaders.

And when the famous "smoking gun" tape was released, and the proof could no longer be denied, Bob reached over, turned off the radio, got up and went back to work. And while my memory may be a little hazy after 30+ years, I am pretty sure he was humming:

'On Christ the solid Rock, I stand;
all other ground is sinking sand,
all other ground is sinking sand.'

(c) 2005 Thom M. Shuman

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