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Saturday, July 06, 2002 ISSUE #236
 

WESTON, West Va.: This is the state to be in for this Holiday. Even President Bush canceled one of his weekly visits to Ohio to spend the Fourth in West Virginia, at Ripley. Ripley always puts on one of the biggest Independence Day celebrations for a little town, anywhere in the country.

Now I was about fifty miles away, so I didn't get to hear him personally, but from the newspaper accounts and television, it was a mighty fine and sincere speech. He paid a nice tribute to the Veterans, and for two West Virginia soldiers who won't be returning from the war in Afghanistan.

Before the president arrived, a Baptist preacher had already warmed up the audience with an Invocation. The crowd in front of the Courthouse was around 8000. That's more than live in the entire county, so they had to borrow a few spectators from neighboring counties. Normally that's easy, but they preferred Republican spectators, and Republicans are scarce in some of those counties, especially ones willing to be spectators.

Well, facing such a huge congregation was rare for this preacher. He knew they weren't all Baptists, but they are all potential Baptists. He condensed his usual sermon down to a minute, but he still let them know where he stood on gambling, natural childbirth and liquor by the drink.

The President lead the crowd in the Pledge of Allegiance. Now, we have all heard, and probably have said, the Pledge in the last few days, but I had never heard it with more pride in America. And it was louder, at least for the phrase "under God".

Mr. Bush left West Virginia and headed for Maine, to be alone with all his family. Today, he celebrates a birthday, number 56. You know, there's nothing better than celebrating a birthday with family and friends in a favorite setting, whether it's with steaks on the grill, gravy and biscuits, cold watermelon, or blackberry pie. Fireworks are optional.

The World Cup ended with Brazil defeating Germany. Last week I said the score would be 1-0, and I was wrong, as usual, on my prediction. With my talent for predicting you can see why I should never be allowed to play the lottery, or Wall Street. Well, the score was 2-0, so the game had twice the excitement I expected. The most excitement though is in Turkey and South Korea. Finishing third and fourth was way beyond their expectations.

Ted Williams died yesterday. I can't add anything to the tributes this American hero has received. But if you're interested, here's what I wrote in Weekly Comments #83, July 17, 1999: "Two places I would have liked to be this past week was Fenway Park and the Rose Bowl [women's soccer, U.S. vs. China]. That baseball All-Star celebration in Boston brought out some of the men that made the game. When Ted Williams came out to throw the first pitch the players surrounded him. They all wanted to listen to this great hitter. They should have just given him a microphone, let the players sit around him on the field like in kindergarten, and allow him to treat all of us to a two-hour seminar on how to play the game and enjoy life. He could throw in a few tips on fishing and nobody would care if they just canceled the game. Well, the boys did play it, and the American League won 4 to 1. But it’s Ted Williams everyone will remember from that night."

The way the owners and players are squabbling today, we'll never have another one like him. If they stop playing in August, America's pastime will be just that, in the past.

Historic quote from Will Rogers:

"We tore ourselves loose from England in that year (1776), it's a question of who it was a better deal for. There was an awful lot of things before 1776 that we wasent "blessed" with when we were under England. Just mention any problem that's facing our country today, and it wasent with us before 1776. Do you realize there was no Senate, and no Congress? Then you talk about freedom. No inflation, deflation, reforestation, or sophistication.

The only thing like today was we had no money. But we had no debts. Course you had a little Indian trouble, about one tenth as much as you do today with your kidnappers." WA #598, June 10, 1934


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