Wednesday, February 19, 2014

The Presence of a Great President...by Gina Waite

Do you ever have those déjà vu moments and then recall something about yourself so grim that you are embarrassed by the memory!   That happened to me the other day while shopping!  As I was standing in line at the grocery store, I happened to glance over at the "impulse shopping rack" located right near the register and ho-hummed at the familiar assortment of candy, nuts, and jerky.  Then I spotted it, the flashy and colorful package of "fruit stripes" gum beckoning to me as it had when I was around seven years old.  I had an instant flashback of an experience of when I went shopping with my Mom at the grocery store that I am not particularly proud of! 

 I remember being enticed by the "fruit stripes" gum commercial and wanting a pack of it so badly, I was willing to risk everything to have it!  I hatched a plan and had decided to put the gum under the "impulse rack" near the register and when leaving with my Mom, I would drop my glove near the gum and pick both of them up together, only to quickly hide them in my pocket!   By completing this heist my Mom would not suspect anything and it would go unnoticed by the store clerk.  I must admit, I'm flushing with heat even writing down the thoughts I had that day!  The next part of my plan shows my inability to be a hardened criminal as I decided I would take the pack out of my pocket while driving home with my Mom and explain, "Oh Wow...how'd that get into my pocket?  Well I guess I'll go ahead and have some then!"

Please...I can't believe I thought that would work on my Mom as she must have been trained by Sherlock Holmes himself.  A cupcake could go missing in our house and my dear Mother would be able to approximate what time it came up missing and whom it was that took it!  As I started to open the package of gum...my Mom started questioning me and before you could say, "Bob's your uncle" she had figured it out!  With great precision she turned the car around and dropped me off at the grocery store.  I was instructed  to pay for the gum, apologize to the clerk,  and  come back to the car to work out details with my Mom to pay off my debt owed to her.  You've just read the story of my ten minutes of juvenile delinquent  behavior!  So that's what I was doing when I was young...typical behavior of a child...unless you compare me with say...Abraham Lincoln.





He was an independent thinker that based his actions on his own moral integrity.  It seems from a very young age, the core value that defined him best was honesty.  Almost every account I've read of President Lincoln's life indicates his dedication to always being honest!  He expressed his utmost concern about being forthright in statements like, "No man has a good enough memory to be a successful liar," and "truth is generally the best vindication against slander."  My absolute favorite quote in regard to honesty that I've read from our 16th president was one of caution to his colleagues in the law profession when he said, "Resolve to be honest at all events; and if, in your own judgment, you cannot be an honest lawyer, resolve to be honest without being a lawyer. Choose some other occupation"...seemingly great advice that today's lawyers would do well to think on!  


I had the good fortune of visiting Springfield, Illinois two years ago.   A place where President Lincoln lived, practiced law, and his body now reside.  It was a spiritual experience, for me, to stand at Lincoln's tomb!  Grateful for his legacy, grateful for his life but most especially grateful for his presence of mind to ALWAYS be honest!  Happy belated birthday Mr. President!