|LastC7/"rchie Lewellyn Grant died in June following a short illness. He was famous for being the last driver to have signaled before turning. Mr. Grant, known to generations as "Mr. Last," claimed to have made the turn in 1984. He was about to make a turn when, for some reason, he signaled his intention. "I don't know what got into me," he said later. "I just flipped the stalk, and the signal went on."Mr. Grant's claim was never officially verified, but most scholars of extinct customs take him at his word. In fact, the more they studied Mr. Grant the more apparent it became that he was the last person to do a number of things.He was, for instance, the last person to stop for a yellow light, come to a complete stop at a stop sign and give pedestrians the right of way. And he never opened his car door into traffic. A fastidious man, Mr. Grant was also the last person to say "thank you" to 188|
strangers and to hold the door for someone behind him. He also was the last person not to ask "Who's this?" when suspecting he had called a wrong number.
Mr. Grant was the last person to eat hot pasta, never have ham and cheese on a croissant and never wear colored underwear. "White is the only color for me," he would assert. Shortly before his death, he became the last person never to have jogged. He was very proud of that.
Until the end, Mr. Grant regaled school children with the way things used to be. He once told some kids how he had been the last person to have eaten plain vanilla ice cream and not to have been computer literate. None of the kids believed him; one of them cried.
Mr. Grant is survived by his wife, Martha, and a son, Walter.
There were no last words.
—Richard Cohen, Washington Post Writers Group
|Acs of old, tattered bills were returned to the U.S. Treasury. A $1 bill and a $20 bill in the same sack started talking."Gee, I went to nice stores, good restaurants, country clubs and exotic places," the $20 bill said. "How about you?""All I ever did was go to church, go to church, go to church."—jack Hanus, quoted by Alex Thien in Milwaukee Sentinel|
As a carpenter, my husband was working alone repairing the steeple of our town's church, which sits high on a hill. Suddenly, a gust of wind blew his ladder to the ground, leaving him stranded. Not too worried, he planned to wave to passers-by for help.
When he got home, he told me that after a couple of hours he decided to take the risk of coming down the lightning-rod cable. Horrified, I asked, "Nobody saw you up there?"
"Oh, sure," he replied, mentioning several familiar names. "We have lots of friendly folks in town. They all waved back!"
—Contributed by Faythc J. Kasper
: DEAR DOT: The piece is A Parable of Immortality, by
Henry Van Dyke:,., . :
"I am standing upon the seashore. A ship at my side
spreads her white sails to the morning breeze and starts for
the blue ocean. She is an object of beauty and strength, and
I stand and watch until at last she hangs like a speck of
white cloud just where the sea and sky come down to
mingle with each other.. Then someone at my side says,
'There she goes!' ■■" r ;, '■"
; "Gone where? Gone from my sight.. .that is all. She is just as large in mast and hull and spar as she was when she left my side, and just as able to bear her load of living freight to the place of destination. Her diminished size is in me, .not in her. And just at the moment when someone at my side says, j 'There she goes!' there are other eyes watching her coming and other voices ready to take up the glad shout, 'Here she comes!' "
In my research as a historian, I ave come across many examples of the creative power of forgiveness. My favorite is the feud between Thomas Jefferson and John Adams. The two patriots had become estranged when Jefferson defeated Adams's bid for a second term as president in 1800.
On the eve of his inauguration, Jefferson went to the White House to tell Adams he hoped the vitriolic
campaign had not damaged their friendship. As the story goes, before Jefferson could say a word, Adams began ranting, "You have turned me out! You have turned me out!"
For 11 years, not another word was exchanged. Then some of Jefferson's Virginia neighbors visited Adams in Boston. The doughty old man struggled with bitter memories, then burst out: "I always loved Jefferson and I still love him."
The neighbors brought that message to Jefferson, who urged a mutual friend to let Adams know of his "affections." Adams responded with a letter, and the two men launched perhaps the greatest correspondence in American history, with astonishing exchanges on politics, philosophy, religion and the psychology of men and nations.