Spinning Tales

By Dennis L. Morgan


One of my favorite things to do on a Sunday morning, when I have the time, is to watch the television show “Sunday Morning” on CBS.

For 90 minutes, the show features fluff feature stories about some things you know about and a few things you don’t have a clue about. As a rule, the segments cast a positive light on the subjects.

A few months ago, thanks to a tip from Gary Arehart, I saw a segment on musician Keith Richards of The Rolling Stones who had just released his autobiography entitled “Life.” The interview was so good that I went out and bought the book. Keith was a bad boy in his youth. He was the poster child of rock ‘n roll debauchery. But, through it all, thanks to the millions of dollars he made as a member of the band, he survived. Who says money can’t buy you longevity?

Anyway, this past Sunday I was home, sitting in wide-eyed wonder having heard that Teresa Scanlon, Miss Nebraska, had been crowned Miss America. I’ve gotten to know many Nebraska girls who I thought could have been Miss America, heck there’s a few right here in Elgin that fit the bill, but I never dreamed it would ever happen in my lifetime to a real Miss America. But it did! Miss Scanlon is all of 17 years old and hails from Gering, not Lincoln or Omaha.  Maybe we’ll see her in the Vetch Days Parade. Now wouldn’t that be a reason to watch the parade.

Anyway, so I was watching and waiting for the 30-second soundbite on the Miss America story on “Sunday Morning” when they started in on the cover story for the week, the 50th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy’s inaugural address.

Interesting about the piece was the fact that today, seven out of 10 Americans weren’t alive when he spoke the words of how “the torch has been passed to a new generation.”

The old films were shown again, young President Kennedy and his 31-year-old wife Jackie striding to the capitol steps, how Jackie dressed in beige to stand out from the other women at the inauguration wearing fur coats. It was noted how the sun glistened that day, more so than others because the night before, eight inches of snow had fallen in D.C. The marble pillars shined as if this moment had been ordained by God Almighty, the dawning of Camelot (it would take more than a 1,000 days before the Kennedy presidency would be thought of in those terms.

As the cover story continued on, it pointed out how Ted Sorenson, a Nebraskan who would pen most of President Kennedy’s most remembered utterances, wrote most but not all of those famous statements in the inaugural address. At the Kennedy Presidential Library, a stenographer’s notebook was shown where he had dictated a number of those famous words to his secretary Evelyn Lincoln.

The segment concluded with a picture of Kennedy’s tombstone in Arlington National Cemetery and how the images from his inaugural and his funeral are image forever etched in the American psyche. One held the promise of tomorrow, the other the loss and longing for what might have been. It was noted that Kennedy’s term was too short to make a permanent impact. Still, those years, those pictures, those words have yet to be forgotten, nor will they ever.

Then there was a survey about how many Americans believe it’s all about what your country can do for you as opposed to what you can do for your country. In a sad commentary about today’s society, approximately 80 percent of the people polled believe it’s about what the government can do for them.

As a Conservative, I believe government which governs best, governs least. A Democrat, President Kennedy’s words don’t seem to fit with the views of his political party today. Funny how things change over time


This first appeared in the Minot Daily News a few weeks ago. Think about these words and how they apply to today’s world.

Up here in the Northern part of North Dakota we just recovered from a Historic event — may I even say a “Weather Event” of “Biblical Proportions” — with a historic blizzard of up to 25’ of snow and winds to 50 MPH that broke trees in half, knocked down utility poles, stranded hundreds of motorists in lethal snow banks, closed ALL roads, isolated scores of communities and cut power to tens of thousands.

FYI: Obama did not come.

FEMA did nothing.

No one howled for the government. No one blamed the government.

No one even uttered an expletive on TV.

Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton did not visit.

Our Mayors did not blame Obama or anyone else.

Our Governor did not blame Obama or anyone else either.

CNN, ABC, CBS, FOX, or NBC did not visit – or even report on this category 5   snow storm.

Nobody demanded $2,000 debit cards.

No one asked for a FEMA Trailer House.

No one looted.

Nobody demanded the government do something.

Nobody expected the government to do anything either.

No Larry King, No Bill O‘Rielly, No Oprah, No Chris Mathews and No Geraldo Rivera.

No Sean Penn, No Barbara Striesand,  No Brad Pitts, No Hollywood types to be found.

Nope, we just melted the snow for water.

Sent out caravans of SUV‘s to pluck people out of snow engulfed cars.

The truck drivers pulled people out of snow banks and didn’t‘t ask for a penny.

Local restaurants made food, and the police and fire departments delivered it to the snow bound families..

Families took in the stranded people – total strangers.

We fired up wood stoves, broke out coal oil lanterns or Coleman lanterns.

We put on an extra layers of clothes because up here it is “Work or Die”.

We did not wait for some affirmative action government to get us out of a mess created by being immobilized by a welfare program that trades votes for ‘sittin at home‘ checks.

Even though a Category 5 blizzard of this scale is not usual, we know it can happen and how to deal with it ourselves.