Happened across, in a ``junk'' store, always among the best places to find unexpected literature as well as unxpected anything, Russell Freedman's 1987 book ``Lincoln: A Photobiography.'' Winner of the Newberry in the category of literatre for young adults. Alas, not a young adult but sped through the book and this captured my attention most:
At Lincoln's inauguration, with threats of assassination and troops and armed guards everywhere, one of the witnesses to the swearing in ceremony was Stephen A. Douglas. Imagine, Douglas on hand after bumping heads with Lincoln (might have been awkward with Douglas barely 5-4, Lincoln way over six feet) for years, defeating him in a Senate race, and debating him seven times at three hours each for the presidency.
As Freedman describes it, Lincoln was nervous as the swearing-in approached, holding his stovepipe hat in one hand, a cane in the other. He finally stashed the cane in a corner, but couldn't find a spot for his hat, so ``Stephen Douglas smiled and took the hat from him.''
A simple gesture yet somehow wonderful.
With the Civil War imminent, Douglas showed up a month later to offer Lincoln his support. How much help might he have been? We'll never know. He died a month later of typhoid fever at the age of 48.
Which brings up the question, and I don't knoew the answer, are defeated presidential candidates invited to inaugurations, to a place of honor, say on the ceremonial platform? If not, it seems a good idea. Might help the healing.
Would Obama invite Romney? Would Romney accept if he did? Just ruminating.
A few amusing anecdotes in Freedman's book. When a young practicing attorney in Springfiled, Illinois, several clients of Lincoln's practice pointed out there were often things growing in the corners of the offices.
Oh, and he left notes in desk drawers, such as ``If you can't find it here, look over there.'' Charmingly human..
Causes Steve Hauk Supports
City of Pacific Grove Public Library, Pacific Grove, California; Animal Friends Rescue Project, Pacific Grove; Animal Welfare Information and Assistance,...