Kennedy and Thanksgiving are tied together

Published: Tuesday, November 26, 2013 at 05:08 PM.

Like about everything in this modern world, Thanksgivings are very different to me than they were a thousand years ago. Of course that’s Charles Darwin arithmetic as I’m an only child in my 70s, so parents and uncles are long gone.

This particular Thanksgiving has the special exclamation point of being within days of the 50th anniversary of John Kennedy’s assassination. That sharing also encompasses specific dates in that both years saw turkey day fall on Nov. 28.

I was a big Kennedy fan, although slightly too young to vote when he was elected. I didn’t pay a lot of attention to politics back then, but the Cuban missile crisis got my attention. That’s when I officially joined his fan club.

I didn’t understand much about the cold war and strategic issues but knew a little something about cowboys. In the heroic vein of Matt Dillon, Kennedy positioned himself in the middle of the Atlantic “street” that ran to Cuba.

In my young mind, he stood poised with nuclear six-guns at the ready, daring Khrushchev to make his play. Back then, news reports kept us updated about soviet ships advancing toward the showdown. It was very real drama.

Finally, the bad guys stopped and turned around. In western vernacular they “took water.” Everybody — especially Otis Gardner — breathed a sigh of relief when Marshal Kennedy holstered his weapons and walked into the saloon to grab Miss Jacqueline.

That’s when Kennedy seemed larger than life, although history has watered down the perceptive mystique of those days. It seems there were some side-bet negotiations going on involving U.S. weapons in Turkey.

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