A Presidential Invitation

Two things coincided this past week upon my return from Houston overseeing athletes compete in the points-lucrative USTA HTA Super Champ Major Zone.

I was reflecting upon the sacrifice of relatives, friends and unknown heroes whose lives are the joint guarantors of my liberty, and I was contemplating a suitable tribute for The Journey, when I ran into James Tate, my guest on two previous shows.

“Did you see my note?” he greeted, with such enormous excitement and anxiety, I hesitated to admit I hadn’t.

“I just got back,” I said, hanging to my breath, for I was just beginning to recognize what a classless throw-back response mine was in this facebook-twitter-app age!

He gave me the news I missed: he had received an invitation from the President to go to the White House. This moment was electric.


When I was a boy (and yet still) I’d invite my greatest heroes – presidents, leaders, artists, thinkers – I had heard and read about to sit with me in my garden for a feast. I’d light the grill, put on it the finest meats and best vegetables, and serve good drink.

Presuming (pardon my boyish hubris) they’d come whole from the great beyond knowing all things well and everything true, I imagined myself beneath the festive table, my back braced against a strong leg, listening – quite sure I’d glean from their hilarious discourse that bit of joyful wisdom I could employ to set my neighborhood aglow in liberty, truth, peace and prosperity; that balm that would wipe our eyes clear to spot the wide array of shams and the charlatans whose rings of smoke chain so many behind the thick walls of improvidence.

Quite often my mother would catch me unawares in that posture, “There you are! Idling your life away when the rest of us are struggling to get things done. Boy, what shall I do with you?”



You see, there are a few for whom the privilege of those two presidential taps are real: that call to duty – to stand in the gap, to hold the hill, to reclaim the flag, to lift the wounded, to defy the attack; and that call to dine – the honor of your company, the wisdom of your learning, the pleasure of your advice.

That is why today I join with those who salute you – soldiers, stalwarts, our heroes fighting for justice, equality and freedom for ALL. “You have done so much, who have done so well.” I join as well those who salute you our forward-looking leaders seeking not the entrenchment of a few, rather preferring to build bridges across these very trenches across which whoever will may choose to come and contribute to the human whole. Thank you for your unbowed fight. With gratitude, I salute you.

You know it is so strange my mother – I love her so much – had neither fret nor quarrel whenever she caught me standing in the garden belting out to the trees this tune, as if I were bedecked seated upon a fine steed. I’d catch her smiling. Hmm! Somethings do make me wonder!


2 responses to “A Presidential Invitation

  1. Ha-ha-ha!. That would be something. Knowing her – she’d neither want me to gloat nor sulk in the here and now – so she’ll probably have it up on the widescreen at heaven’s entrance when that day comes. That’s more like her.

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