Sunday, August 30, 2009


I've spent the better part of the last few days watching Ted Kennedy's funeral. While we expect Barack Obama and other politicians to be eloquent and engaging speakers, is it really normal that the young Kennedy children--an array of grandchildren, nieces and nephews--could each approach the microphone with ease and speak with natural grace in front of hundreds of people and TV cameras? Is this a genetic trait, an inherited ability to be poised and polished and cute and charismatic and natural all at once?

I was an intensely shy kid, and I remain uneasy speaking in public today. In school I remember sitting nearly paralyzed after a teacher asked the class to tell us about your summer. Kids got up, one after after, yacking with ease while my heart pounded in my ears. I was not sure if I would be able to speak at all when my turn came. But this was and is just my nature. While I admire outgoing and personable people, I am comfortable with my shyness and would not have things any other way. Besides, there are more than enough loud talkers in the world.

At the burial site, the priest read a letter that Kennedy had written to the Pope just a few weeks ago. In it, Kennedy admits that he had not lived a perfect life but had tried to atone by pursuing, in a literal sense, a Christian agenda: compassion for the poor and sick, and in particular he mentioned his long-time pursuit of universal health care. It was such a simple and sincere letter, and so powerful, that it will surely surface during the upcoming policy debates. (And just now I saw the letter quoted on Meet the Press.)

Interesting that such a charismatic and eloquent speaker might, in the end, best help his cause by something he had written in private.

Anyway, back to work. I've finished sanding and have installed half of the crown moulding. More later.


  1. Fredcandoit,

    You should look at your inability to speak in public as a good thing. If you had been doing that all of your life, I suspect you might have met an early demise. Sometimes genes work in our favor!

    With utmost sincerity,

  2. Anonymous,
    I suspect you are right, considering the company I've kept (present company excluded).