On January 1, 2015, I entered the last half of my 90th decade. You are now reading my 25th column of “In a Small Pond”.
The title comes from the second part of the saying “A Big Fish in a Small Pond”, which is used to describe a prominent person in a small community.
To use the whole quote would have seemed egoistic on my part and heaven knows I am not that. However, to quote author James Owens, “It ain’t bragging if you’ve done it, but proper pride says ‘I’m good at this.’ Improper pride says ‘I’m better than you’”.
I chose proper pride, but I also remember that Shakespeare wrote “If thy be a braggart, fear this, someday every braggart will be found an ass!”
Hum mm! Tough choices. Dear readers, this is a sample of my self-depreciation humor. Please at least smile.
My column was first described by the editor as “The Musical, Political and Traditional Memoirs of a Bayou Native”.
I guess that describes me pretty good. So far I have lived through a depression, a major war, (WWII), four minor (?) ones, Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq; the last president to serve more than 2 terms, but died in office (F.D.R.); the assassination of a president (J.F.K); the resignation of one (R.M.N.); the election of the first African-American, (B.H.O.), and a son also becoming a president, (G.W. following G.H.W.B.), the only time since (J.Q.A.) followed John Adams, our second president.
No, I wasn’t there for that one, but son following father in public office sounds familiar. Those events shaped our country and our native Cajun homeland. (I hope you know your history because I use initials to shorten the column, but this explanation didn’t help THAT any).
More colorful and affecting us were the elections (and defeats) of Louisiana governors during my timeline: Codes: (W) I won my vote (L) I lost my vote.
1. The assassination of Huey Long in 1935. (His term in office, 1928 to 1935). He is credited with free school books, new roads and bridges and was loved by the voters, especially in South Lafourche, (remember the 3 pictures on Cajun walls, Jesus, Roosevelt and Huey Long?), but hated by his opposition. (I was too young to remember any of this.)
2. The first to go to jail, Richard Leche, (served from 1936 to 1939). This is the only thing he was credited with. (Also too young).
3. First brother to also serve, Earl K. Long, (served from 1939 to 1940), Lt. Gov. replacing jail bird Leche also, (served from 1948 to 1952 and 1956 to 1960). He is credited for his flamboyancy, his attachment to a strip tease artist named Blaze Starr, and being sent to the nut house by his wife Blanche.
Any good or bad he might have done was over shadowed by these events. In 1956 (L)--I started losing with “Chep” Morrison
4. John McKeithon. The first elected to 2 consecutive terms as allowed by a new law, his reward for building the Superdome. (L) Lost again with “Chep” Morrison. Ain’t I a glutton for punishment?
5. First Republican, David Treen. (served from 1980 to 1984) (W). He lost his 2nd term to Edwards. (L)
6. First son, Murphy Foster (1996 to 2004), (W) to serve after father, Murphy Foster, Sr. (1892 to 1900.) (No … I wasn’t there!)
7. First woman, Kathleen Blanco. (2004 to 2008) (W) She lost a 2nd term to Hurricane Katrina.
8. First non-Caucasian, Indian American, Bobby Jindal. (2008 to 2016?), if not president. (W)
Obviously, three Governors were left out, Robert Kennon (1952 to 1956), Jimmy Davis (1960 to 1964), and Edwin Edwards, four terms between 1964 and 1996, because they were more important in my life and the lives of my fellow Cajuns, so I will devote my next column entirely to them.
Wow! This column took research and am I tired, but not so much as to not add a little humor.
A minister had just given his Sunday school class a lesson on the Bible. He called a little boy and asked “Bobby, what are the first lines of the Bible?”
Bobby dutifully answered, “A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away!”
Comments are welcomed at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Posted on Tue, January 6, 2015
by Leroy Martin, Contributing Writer