My only memories of John F. Kennedy’s assassination are my mother’s.
Here’s her story.
Mom was mopping the kitchen floor with the radio on. Only nine months old, I was watching the proceedings from my perch in my high chair.
A radio announcer broke into the music with the news of the President’s death in Dallas. Mom immediately dropped her mop and walked out into the front yard. All the other moms on her street were standing in their yards, sobbing.
Much later she remembered I was sitting alone in the kitchen, surrounded by drying suds.
So I was saddened to learn that one of his sidekicks, Dennis the Painter (aka Cosmo Allegretti), died today at the age of 86.
I didn’t know that Mr. Allegretti was also a puppeteer on the show. He was the man behind Captain Kangaroo’s friends Bunny Rabbit, Mr. Moose, Dancing Bear, Grandfather Clock and Magic Drawing Board.
What a huge part of the show he was!
In a bizarre coincidence, I met Mr. Allegretti’s son Pete while working at a television station after college. Pete was a news reporter there and, when my friends and I realized that Dennis the Painter was his father…
On behalf of William and Kate and the entire royal family…
I’m sorry, Royal Baby.
I know there is a long history of King Georges — six, in fact — but all I see when I hear the name “George” is George Costanza of Seinfeld infamy. And while he was a great TV sitcom character, I wouldn’t wish a son like him on William and Kate.
Or anyone, really.
Now, if the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge had gone with “Alexander” as a first name, I would be all over that. Maybe they are planning to call you by your middle name. Most of the kids I grew up with were called by their middle names. I always found it kinda odd…like their parents couldn’t make up their minds. But I would gladly support it in this instance.
By now you all know that His Royal Highness has been born to William and Kate. His name, though, they say “may take some time.” Don’t worry –
I’m all over it.
It’s a worthy name; the Greek translation is “venerable.” It began to be widely used in the third century after it was the name of a Christian martyr…so it’s certainly manly enough.
Sebastian also has British ties. It’s in the Top 100 list of boy’s names. Sebastian Cabot is a British actor; Sebastian Faulks, a British writer. And there are characters named Sebastian in popular British fiction, including Sherlock Holmes and Brideshead Revisited.
Most importantly, I like it.
Look, I’m only trying to expedite the process. Princess Diana and Prince Charles took seven days to name William; William and Kate took three weeks to name their dog, Lupo; and Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip took a month to name Charles.
In past years, the arrival of Bastille Day has taken me back to my one brief visit to Paris during an unscheduled airport layover.
Not any more.
Now my mind’s eye is full of images of Craig Ferguson, Geoff the Robot and Secretariat when they took the Late Late Show to the City of Love last year. Cavorting beneath the Arc de Triomphe. Interviewing celebrity pals around a teetering desk on the Eiffel Tower green. Performing amid a bevy of dancing girls on the legendary Moulin Rouge stage.
Yep, if anyone knows how to celebrate La Fête Nationale…
When I was a kid growing up in western Kentucky, Columbus-Belmont Park was the place to go on a field trip.
It’s an area rich in Civil War history — in fact, the park originally had the word ‘battlefield’ in its name — so we climbed on cannons and the famous anchor [pictured left] during our many trips there.
We also hiked the trails, played miniature golf and ate….a lot. Because you always had a picnic when you went to Columbus Park.
Today over 60 members of my family are gathered at Columbus-Belmont Park for a reunion, celebrating the 100th Wedding Anniversary of Edith and Omar Hayden, my maternal grandparents.
I had to cancel because my dog got sick. (He’s fine now…of course.)
So if you are in the neighborhood, stop by and say howdy. They’re a lot of fun. And grab some lunch. They’ll have extra –
One of the many advantages of a) working from home and b) having HBO is being able to watch Oscar-nominated documentaries during lunch.
Today’s featured selection: The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossoms.
I’ll admit that I had not heard of this film before I saw it listed on HBO OnDemand. If perchance you haven’t either, I strongly encourage you to invest the short 40 minutes required.
Director Lucy Walker chronicles the tsunami that devastated Japan on March 11, 2011. Survivors share their stories of loss, and work together to rebuild their communities — already making progress a mere month after the storm hit.
And what are the ‘cherry blossoms’ in the title, you ask? I’ll let you watch the film and find out.
It is a vital part of their history and culture, and one reason a tsunami could never break the Japanese people.