The 1960 Democratic Convention was a high-steppin, wild west of a good time, and my family and myself had front row seats in front of our Philco. It was as rip roarin, rip snortin a time as any western on TV.
The Convention was a crawlin’ with glitter, a continuous blaze of color with Kennedy cuties bedecked in red white and blue sundresses, sporting JFK buttons, banners and bows, snake dancing through the delegates.
This fandango of frenzy, flashbulb- popping fiddle- faddle, glad-handing- gadabouts trading guffaws and favors, with party brass a huddlin’, and scalawags a scamperin’ was brought to you in basic black and white, with the color enhancement courtesy of Walter Cronkite, his well honed ear to the ground.
With scouts sent boldly onto the convention floor to ambush any delegates willing to spill the beans, a vigilant Cronkite listened to every sound, for the dense, smoke- filled hall full of scuttlebutt, was a bedlam of balderdash, brass bands and brass balls.
“Kennedy went through a heap of trouble to get that nomination”, Cronkite commented. “His high falutin Harvard friends did a bang up job. And his daddy who was powerful rich didn’t hurt none. And now by gum, he was the biggest toad in the pond.”
Dad was dumbfounded -he thought anyone was plumb crazy to support a tenderfoot like Jack Kennedy.
“Criminy! He aint worth a hill of beans!” Dad snorted. “He’ll have a hard row to hoe if he runs against Nixon.”
When the new sheriff chose his deputy, a tall Texan who sounded just like Deputy Dawg, Dad was incredulous.
“What in Sam Hill are they doing”, Dad cried out. They got the wrong pig by the tail choosing Lyndon “I-don’t-play-second-fiddle-to-anyone” Johnson !”
Just before it was time for me to skedaddle off to bed, the victor climbed to the top of the podium and looked out at the wilderness spread out below him.
Just like Dad said, he was grinning like a weasel in a hen-house.
John Kennedy was one of the best woodsman in the frontier.
He was a hard livin’, hard lovin’, hard fightin’ believer in freedom, who like Lariat Sam couldn’t see anything but good in anybody.
After weeks of hard travel through every one horse town, he had reached the last Mountain in Los Angeles, by the skin of his teeth.
He knew he would face many dangers.
But he had a mind to face them. Political life was not for the lily livered, or yellow-bellied, but John Kennedy was tall hog at the trough
Under skies that were not cloudy all day, a young, hell-fired up John Kennedy was fixin’ to accept his party’s nomination that blazing summer in 1960, inviting us all to “Saddle up Pardner,” hitch our wagon to his train and be pioneers in a New Frontier.
With my Matt Dillon gen-u-ine leather holster embellished with bright metal jewels hugging my hips for fast draws, my matching pair of shootin’ irons with the big hammer-head for quick fanning action – A-RAT-TA-TA TAT and A RING A DING DING- I was ready to be a pioneer in that New Frontier that Kennedy beckoned us to.
Copyright (©) 2012 Sally Edelstein All Rights Reserved
- High Noon at the 1960 Democratic Convention (envisioningtheamericandream.wordpress.com)
- Captivated by Camelot
- Sun Sand and JFK