Real Men

I saw a story listing 20 things all men should know how to do. On the list was operate a chain saw and it reminded of a story.

We had a medium-sized tree in our yard that needed to come down. I knew my dad had a chainsaw, so I called him to borrow it. He was about 75 years old at the time and legally blind, so I was a bit taken aback when he volunteered to come over and help me.

He asked, “have you ever cut a tree down before?”

“No,” I replied.

Later, I was complaining to Annette about it and she asks, “have you ever operated a chain saw?”

“No,” I replied.

“You’d better let him do it,” she advised.

Anyway, I still need to cross that one off my list.

Friday Evening with David Eisenhower

Dad, Annette and I went to hear David Eisenhower speak at the St. Louis County Library Friday night. It was very nice. Many more people than I expected. I’m guessing over three hundred. I already had a copy of his new book and was able to stay afterward to get it signed.

His book is entitled Going Home to Glory: A Memoir of Life with Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1961 – 1969. It’s an intimate insider’s look at the last years if Ike’s life at his home in Gettysburg. Reading the book made be very thankful to David for writing it and it was nice to able to shake his hand and thank him in person.

I have read many books on Eisenhower, but none where his title is Granddad. “Nixon said that…” or “Kennedy said this…” and then “Granddad said…”

Aside from the intimacy, there’s the look inside at the political games going on after Ike’s out of the White House. Most notably: Nixon, Kennedy and Johnson calling on Ike for various reasons. Turns out, as we heard from David last night, that Ike and Johnson were pretty close. Not surprising considering Johnson was Senate Minority and then Majority Leader during Eisenhower’s years in the White House. After Johnson became president, he looked to Ike frequently for advice, especially concerning Vietnam.

One great thing about hearing someone like David Eisenhower speak is that you have an opportunity to hear history direct from an original source.

One myth that was, for me, finally confirmed last night was President Truman’s asking Ike to lead the Democratic Ticket in 1948. Truman suggested that Ike run from President and he, Truman would be his Vice President. “If we don’t,” suggested Truman, “MacArthur will win and we can’t have that.” While Ike, no doubt, agreed about MacArthur, he declined to run. Ike’s political affiliations were unknown yet, but he declared himself a Republican soon after.

I’m looking forward to finishing the book.