FLORENCE GILKESON: World's Fairs, Health Care -- and Moose
It's time to play catch-up on several recent topics:
-- Chicago's bid for the 2016 Olympics, with its subsequent loss to Rio de Janeiro, prompted a recent column.
The best part came when it flushed out expatriate Chicagoans. There was general agreement that loss of the 2016 Olympics is not nearly as important as the Chicago experience itself.
One error was corrected. I referred to the Blackie Ryan novels by the Rev. Andrew Greeley, a Roman Catholic priest, as the Jackie Ryan novels. I should have known better but admit that it's been quite awhile since I last read one of the books featuring the monsignor-turned-sleuth.
-- Mary Lou Queeney also related an anecdote about poet Carl Sandburg, for whom a school in Elmhurst was named in the 1950s, during the period of Communist sensitivity. She recalled that some Elmhurst residents objected to the name because Sandburg's political leanings were regarded as questionable in those days. Sandburg was invited to the school opening ceremony but did not attend.
If memory serves me correctly, Sandburg had moved to Flat Rock, N.C., and was raising goats there by that time.
Mary Lou says it was Chicago's "frigid weather, gray skies and ice" that encouraged her and her husband to move to Pinehurst. Incidentally, the "Windy City" nickname refers to long-winded politicians, not weather.
-- Shirley Reardon reminded me that Chicago also hosted the Century of Progress world's fair in 1933-34. I mentioned only the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition. Chicago has hosted numerous world's expositions, but never the Olympics.
That too was a major oversight. It brought back memories of Carrie Brown's novel, "The Hat Box Baby," which I reviewed for The Pilot several years ago. Set during the Century of Progress fair, it tells the story of a frantic father who brings his newborn son to a physician demonstrating the first incubators for premature babies at the fair. The family was poor, and a hat box was the only suitable receptacle the young man could find for the infant.
"The Hat Box Baby" was especially effective because it cast the poignance of the family's predicament against the garish show-biz side of world's fairs. Although premature babies were being displayed as oddities, it was a means of developing support for a new method to save their lives. God does indeed work in mysterious ways.
-- Gabriel Roy, a Whispering Pines resident, produced impressive research that he shared after reading my column about health-care reform.
Roy found a version of the health-care legislation that describes possible bureaucratic interference with end-of-life decisions. This version doesn't call for a "death panel" but does mention appointment of a vague official to assist with and possibly control end-of-life issues.
I disagree with Roy's view that it is part of a left-wing conspiracy for federal bureaucracy to escort us oldsters into early entry into heaven or whatever. But I do think that his finding backs up my contention that much of the legislation piddles around too much with details that are tricky at best, bordering on grim at worst and certainly open to misinterpretation.
Health-care reform is desperately needed in this country. It surely would help if Congress could produce effective legislation covering basic needs with the use of simple language. Simplicity wouldn't deter the conspiracy buffs and the naysayers anxious to sink any Obama initiative, but it might consolidate support among the rank and file.
-- Finally, about the column on my June vacation in Maine, where our NatureScene group searched in vain for a moose
No, a moose has not appeared in my yard in Laurinburg, but a kindly neighbor took pity upon me. Ann Hatcher, my duplex neighbor at Scotia Village, has given me a delightful little moose carved from leather, miniature artwork she picked up while browsing in an out-of-town gift shop.
Now I have a moose of my own.
Contact Florence Gilkeson at (910) 947-4962 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
More like this story