January 31, 2005


The Old Man (Paul Greenberg, Jan. 31, 2005, Jewish World Review)

There is a small vignette featuring Colonel Holmes and his young visitor back in 1969 in one of the better - and most readable — books of social history published in recent years: "Horns, Hogs and Nixon Coming." Its theme is the big shoot-out that year between the Razorbacks and Longhorns, a game it still hurts Arkies to think about.

But this book is about a lot more than a game. On Page 46, you'll find a brief but telling description of Bill Clinton's demeanor when he came to see the colonel in Fayetteville:

"In July, during the week of the launching of the history-making Apollo 11 mission to the moon . . . William Jefferson Clinton knocked on the colonel's front door. . . . 'He didn't want to come inside,' Holmes says. 'He wanted to sit out on the curb. I had just met him. I thought he was just a normal, young American guy who would fulfill his duty to his country if it came up.'"

Only later would Colonel Holmes decide he'd been hoodwinked.

But what gets me was young Clinton's hesitating to cross the colonel's threshold. As if he wouldn't be deceiving the old man if he didn't actually go into the house. As if he still had some qualms about what he was doing. It's hard not to like that 23-year-old no-longer-boy, not-quite man. Maybe he still had some vestigial sense of Southern honor that would not let him go inside to consummate the deal. Instead he did it outside, on the back patio.

Posted by Orrin Judd at January 31, 2005 8:03 AM
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