Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The Silly Goose of Mt. Gilead

So here we were on our way back to the cabin from Marion, OH on two-lane Ohio State Route 95. Rounded a corner outside Mount Gilead, when whoa! What was this?  A Dodge Ram pick-up was stopped just ahead of us. Its caution lights were blinking. Oncoming traffic was stopped as well. A young Amishman  alighted from the passenger side of the pick-up. Flapping a green handkerchief, he tried to herd a large white goose to safety. The silly goose waddled resolutely up the highway, stubbornly hugging the center line. Sometimes it would head briefly to one side of the road or the other. Five minutes passed. Everyone waited patiently. No one honked, not even the goose. Finally, the man managed to shoo it into someone's yard. He climbed back into the truck and we were off. 

We had just come from dinner with my college friend, Mary Jane, and her husband, Byron at the Red Lobster in Marion. This is the third straight year we've met. They're from Lima, OH and our cabin is near Danville, OH, and Marion is in between.

Marion is the birthplace of Warren Gamaliel Harding, the 29th president of the United States. The first year we got together, we arranged to meet first at the Harding Memorial. The memorial-- a white, marble wedding cake--resembles the Jefferson Memorial, only it seems larger and grander. We wondered about this. Why such a grandiose memorial for such an allegedly mediocre president? Wasn't he supposedly the "worst president ever"?

Another former resident of Marion, John W. Dean--who was involved in a little scandal of his own  known as Watergate--attempted to show in his biography* of Harding that he wasn't that bad. Certainly others have been vying for the dishonor of being the "worst president ever" since Harding's day. Who knows? By the end of the 21st century, historians may well have nominated someone else as  "the worst president ever."

John W. Dean, by the way, is a graduate of the College of Wooster, as are Mary Jane, my husband and I. According to Dean, William E. Chancellor, a racist professor at our beloved alma mater, tried to derail Harding's nomination by circulating a flyer stating that Harding had black ancestry. Although Chancellor's scandal sheet turned up at the 1920  Chicago convention,  it was ignored. This did not stop the Democrats of that day from distributing handbills containing Chancellor's so-called "research" during the campaign.  Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose.

*John W. Dean, Warren G. Harding (New York, Henry Holt and Company, 2004)


Steve Finnell said...

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the sandwich life said...

I love this!

Psterino said...

I recently read a biography of John Adams. The partisanship rivaled that of current day, which I found reassuring.

Nancy Chisum said...

Really enjoyed this!