Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Fare thee well, Ted Kennedy

“Good morning Governor’s Office, Lori Magno speaking.”

“Uh, Lori. This is Ted Kennedy. How are you? Is the Governor in?”

So went my first introduction to Senator Edward M. Kennedy. “The Senator”, Ted, Teddy, the Lion of the Senate – so many names for one giant of a man.

My reaction to The Senator’s call was to dash to the Governor’s door and blurt out “Ted Kennedy is on the phone – and he sounds JUST LIKE TED KENNEDY!” I’m kind of a genius like that. Few have mastered the obvious like me.

But he did sound just like Ted Kennedy should sound. Not the fake bad-acting Boston accent – but like a Kennedy. Not like Mayor Quimby on the Simpsons – but like Ted Kennedy. Like all the campaign clips from all of the family members – that’s what he sounded like. He sounded just like Ted Kennedy – and it was awesome.

The time was just after 9/11 and I was working for Governor Jane Swift. Senator Kennedy, Senator Kerry, the entire congressional delegation, the FBI and many agencies were constantly on the phone working with the Governor and the State Police and everyone else, as it was truly all hands on deck. But even in the throes of national tragedy, The Senator still asked, “How are you?”

The Senator always had more than budget proposals or security programs or recovery plans with him. He brought his heart and his soul and his kindness. A quiet word whispered to staffers about staying strong and sticking together. A pat on the shoulder and a wink to say “I’m with you.” A booming and reassuring voice that said we shall not be defeated by this or any other act against our country. God knows how that helped during that most awful and unbelievable time.

Ted was a man who knew how to overcome and not just keep moving forward, but to take the lessons of the past and use them for good. Everyone knows the Kennedy family has known tragedy on a scale that would cower lesser humans, but they still reached out past their own difficulties, and their own comfort, to help others.

Ted was a good man. His wit, kindness, charm and the twinkle in his Irish eyes will be sorely missed. I’m not one for Irish blessings or any of that kind of stuff, but Teddy – we hardly knew ye.

I wish peace to his wife Vicki and all the family and friends and colleagues who loved Ted. May his work on behalf of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the United States Senate continue in his name. With healthcare and education and housing and opportunity for all.


Jetpacks said...

For all their privilege and wealth, the Kennedys did a lot of altruistic things.

In the coming days, the Limbaughs and the Hannitys will remind us of the flawed man Ted was; the drowning, the affairs, whatever else. These same finger-pointers will then temper ther comments with some bullshit about "our thoughts and prayers go out to his family."

The fuck they will. Kennedy didn't pretend to be holier than thou. He knew his frailties and did what he could do in spite of them.

megan said...

Girl, what a great post. You made me cry!

Anonymous said...

Great post, RIP Ted Kennedy.

derek said...

That’s a terrible thing for American…and the world; we all lost a great man and also a long legacy of family patriots and supporters to the American people and politics. We will miss you. Condolences to the family.

~ Lora Hart Jewels ~ said...

What a wonderful experience to have had. And a lovely, moving tribute. Thanks for sharing your experiences.

Anonymous said...

Amen to that, Lori.