A deeper look at a person might reveal a better side — or not

Roselle and I recently traveled to New Orleans to see our boy Jonas and his wonderful family.

We are very proud of Jonas, his wife Andrea, and their daughter Mila. They live in a double shotgun house that is filled with art relevant to their lives, including a wonderful piece of outsider art, a picture of Leadbelly, Huddie Ledbetter.

We love going to New Orleans. Like so many of you who follow your kids and grandchildren to their various postings, we have visited Jonas in some wonderful places, including Austin, Houston, Venice Beach and more.

New Orleans, however, is my favorite. It is a diverse, healthy city that is filled with great people, great restaurants and great stores. The World War II Museum alone is worth the trip.

There is always a lot of fun associated with traveling to the Big Easy. Jonas picked out some wonderful restaurants including an alleged old Mafia joint called Mosca’s.

When we got there with our crew, Jonas noticed that political pundit James Carville was sitting in the room behind us. He was wearing a bright green shirt and was obviously having a good time. So Jonas, ever clever, had Roselle and I sit next to each other and pose for a picture with just a little space between us.

He was able to take the picture so that if you looked really carefully you would see Roselle and Alan with James in the middle. Naturally, Jonas posted the photo on Facebook and we got incredible numbers of likes and comments. It was sort of like one of those “Where’s Waldo?” puzzles because if you got it, you felt very proud.

This took me back to Ten Mile River Scout Camp, where the older guys had all the young people get down on the floor in a downward dog position and repeat the ancient incantation, “O Wha Tagos I Yam.”

The idea was that of you listened to what you were saying you would get a message and then you could go to bed. Most of my fellow scouts got it and went to bed. I said it over and over for what seemed like an eternity and finally the assistant Scoutmaster tapped me on the shoulder and told me I could go to bed.

In the middle of the night I woke up with a start and realized that the message was, “Oh what a goose I am.” Years later, I still feel the pangs of foolishness that one gets when one realizes how stupid we can be. I thought of that because a lot of people who saw the picture didn’t get it while others did.

On his way out, a very happy Carville came out and talked to us for a while about football scores. I, of course, had no idea what anyone was talking about since I don’t follow that brutal game which causes head trauma and other injuries.

Anyway, I never really liked the guy’s dog and pony show with his wife who plays the Republican in the schtick. But now, after having a few seconds of interaction with the guy, I like him. Shows you how fickle we human beings can be. Believe it or not, I have heard people say, “I always hated Chartock on the radio but when I had a chance to talk to him I changed my mind.”

So when you next see Donald Trump on the television suggesting that no Muslims be admitted into the country and feeling your blood boiling about his un-American and even fascistic thinking, you might ask yourself if you had a chance to have a conversation with the guy whether you might really like him personally.

On the other hand, maybe the philosophical may really be the way to judge him and to hell with the personal. So much for this column.

Originally published in the Berkshire Eagle, 12/12/15

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