Mar. 8, 2000

Wrist-Wrestling Father

by Orval Lund

Broadcast Date: WEDNESDAY: March 8, 2000

Poem: "Wrist-Wrestling Father" by Orval Lund from Casting Lines (New Rivers Press).

It's the birthday of journalist and author JOHN McPHEE, born in Princeton, New Jersey (1931) — best known for his New Yorker articles on birch bark canoes, the Alaska wilderness, oranges, and the Swiss Army. He said, "I wrote poems in college — rank imitations of William Butler Yeats and T.S. Eliot — and afterward, sat all day in a captain's chair up on 84th Street in New York, trying to write plays for live television. But I soon discovered that fundamentally I'm a working journalist, and I've got to go out and work."

It's the anniversary of the nation's longest-running radio show: "RAMBLING WITH GAMBLING" on WOR-AM in New York City. It started in 1925 when the host failed to show up for his morning show: a young studio engineer, John Gambling, ad-libbed on the air for a solid hour and was so impressive that the station manager gave him the job full-time. He stayed at WOR for years, then turned the mike over to his son, who turned the program over to his son ... all of them named John Gambling.

SUSAN B. ANTHONY stood up in front of the House Judiciary Committee on this day in 1884 and argued for an amendment to the U.S. Constitution, granting women the right to vote. It took 35 more years for women's suffrage to pass.

It's the birthday of children's author KENNETH GRAHAME, born in Edinburgh, Scotland (1859). Business often kept him away from home during his career at the Bank of England, so he wrote letters to his son, Alastair, making up animal characters who talked and who had adventures in the English countryside. Alastair loved one creature in particular – Toad – so Grahame built all kinds of stories around Toad and his friends, River Rat and Badger, and eventually brought the stories out in book form in 1908 as The Wind in the Willows.

It's the birthday of the Supreme Court justice OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES, JR., born in Boston (1841). He fought in the Civil War, at Antietam and Fredericksburg, then returned to Boston, where he served on the Massachusetts Supreme Court for twenty years. In 1902, Teddy Roosevelt appointed him to the U.S. Supreme Court, where he served for 30 years and retired just before his 91st birthday. He said, "The secret of my success is that at an early age I discovered I was not God."

Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.®




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