Today, November 22, 2010, is the 47th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy's assassination. Like many others, I remember the exact spot I was standing in when I found out. DESPITE HIS SHORT TIME IN OFFICE, KENNEDY WILL BE FOREVER REMEMBERED AS ONE OF OUR GREATEST PRESIDENTS.
Two days later, as Jack Ruby shot Lee Harvey Oswald on TV, I remember sitting on our couch with my sister and my Grandma Edelblum shrieking, "What's this country coming to!"
RUBY SHOOTING OSWALD WAS THE FIRST MURDER EVER SEEN LIVE, ON TV. FAR WORSE, IT SPAWNED AND PROTECTED THE GREATEST MYSTERY OF MY GENERATION.
A couple of more days later, I was watching JFK's funeral procession on my parents' bedroom TV and the sight of John Jr's good-bye salute to his dad became forever etched in my psyche. THIS POWERFUL IMAGE STILL LEAVES A LUMP IN MY THROAT.Sadly, the debate of a lone gunman theory versus a colossal conspiracy remains unresolved. I hate to admit it but I can't stop waffling between the two notions. This is especially strange because I've been behind the fence, atop the grassy knoll at Dealey Plaza in Dallas. Based solely on my instinct and an unscientific standpoint, I can't imagine the "kill-shot" coming from anywhere else, let alone one man (Oswald) so high up in the Texas Book Depository.
JULY 1976, I TOOK THIS PICTURE FROM THE BEHIND THE FENCE, ABOVE THE GRASSY KNOLL. THIS SPOT IS NINETY FEET FROM WHERE THE LIMOUSINE DRIVER CAME TO A COMPLETE STOP AFTER THE FIRST SHOTS RANG OUT. THAT SHORT PAUSE EITHER PURPOSELY OR ACCIDENTALLY SET-UP WHAT THE CONSPIRACY THEORISTS BELIEVE TO BE KENNEDY'S "KILL SHOT."
OLIVER STONE BORROWED WINSTON CHURCHILL'S QUOTE ON THE RUSSIANS WHEN HE HAD JOE PESCI'S CHARACTER, DAVID FERRIE SAY OF THE JFK ASSASSINATION, "ITS A MYSTERY. IT'S A MYSTERY WRAPPED IN A RIDDLE, INSIDE AN ENIGMA."
To further cloud the picture, the Warren Commission and the House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA) both came to the same, lone assassin conclusion, (but the HSCA did speculate that based on disputed, acoustic evidence that there was the probability of a conspiracy).
Deep down, I doubt that today's government has anything to gain by failing to disclose vital JFK assassination data. That's why it is both annoying and embarrassing that a country with so many resources can't provide closure to the greatest puzzle of my generation. Even with all my wisdom, for the sake of my serenity, I no longer try to absorb the information, misinformation and fear that other facts are being withheld. So before my head spins off, I feel it is necessary to stop dwelling on who killed John Kennedy.
To redirect my general, inner need to know, I have become a detective and concentrate on unraveling my own, less challenging mysteries. When I succeed, I take a bow and crow, "I am a charter member of the, 'JUNIOR SHERLOCK HOLMES CLUB.'"
My latest case wasn't as elementary as most. It started six weeks ago, at a luncheon date with FLOWGLO, at the Red Oak Diner in Hazlet New Jersey. During our lengthy conversation, my wife Sue reminded me to, NOT forget my glasses. I assured her that I had the situation under control. Forty minutes later, I was standing in the vestibule getting ready to leave when the kindly waitress burst through the door and handed me my glasses.
The middle leg of our journey was to Sue's old neighborhood, in the Rockaway Beach section of Queens. It was shocking how many things have changed. Like the Gil Hodges Bridge that links the Brooklyn mainland to the her old stomping ground. In the 70's, that toll was ten cents. Back then, it was not uncommon for someone in the passenger seat to try to make a hook-shot basket from the other side of the car with a dime. Hard to believe but true, thirty something years later, they took the sport out it and now charge $2.75. Sue gave a shot to the ribs when I said, "If it was that much back then, I probably would never have pursued you."
Our final destination was Angelina's, an Italian restaurant in Lynbrook, on Long Island. Through FACEBOOK, Sue got invited to a dinner with her childhood BFF's. Together with husbands, children and one mom, we were a party of thirteen. Lucky for me, at the bar, I discovered that every single person there was a joy to be with.
Angelina's menu featured small calligraphy. It was a good thing that the waitress from the diner returned my glasses because the fancy lettering would have been impossible for me to decipher.
Long after the dinner was finished, everyone moved to different seats and formed intimate conversation circles. I spoke to everyone and learned that one couple flew in from Torrance California, a family was visiting from Israel and the rest were Long Islanders.AFTER DINNER, 11,000 PICTURES WERE TAKEN. SOMEHOW, I ONLY GOT INTO ONE...WITH STEVE (left) AND FRANK (center).
Sue hadn't seen a couple of these friends in 30 years. So the good-bye process was as long as the meal. Coincidentally, everyone had parked in the same municipal lot so we continued gabbing by the cars for another half hour.
During our three-hour drive home, Sue and I basked in the warm afterglow of the dinner, afternoon visit to Rockaway and chumming with FLOWGLO.
The next morning, I got back into my routine by taking a cup of Emeril's, "BIG EASY BOLD," coffee out onto our deck to do my Sudoku puzzle. Sometimes I forget to bring something from my arsenal but I remembered my pen, newspaper and coffee (with sweet-n-low and half-n-half). I settled in and came to a startling revelation...I didn't have my glasses.
I did a quick sweep of the kitchen, family room, all the bathrooms and the bedroom...nothing! The only place left was Sue's car. I was confident when I went outside because I deceived myself into definitely picturing them there. Duh! They weren't on the floor, in the glove box or the console between the seats. Now with my tail between my legs, I had to face the inevitable; I told you so...after telling my wife that I left my glasses at the restaurant.
It angered me that nobody from Angelina's staff was clever enough to give me a heads up. After all, we lingered there forever.
Six weeks pass. A couple of days ago, it was time for me to take Sue's car for a lube job. Before heading over there, I tidied up for her. I pulled used tissues out from under the seats as well as a five-month old newspaper and four quarter-pounder wrappers. I vacuumed last summer's lingering beach sand and tons of dog hair. Then to my surprise, wedged between the seats was a shiny maroon cylinder. Being a member of the Junior Sherlock Holmes Club, I thought; wow, that looks like my old glasses case. Genius! It was and you'll never guess what was inside.THERE IS NO STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS ON FINDING YOUR OWN GLASSES...UNLESS YOU BUY REPLACEMENT ONES FIRST. SINCE I DIDN'T STOOP TO THAT, BASIL RATHBONE, (THE DEFINITIVE HOLMES), STOOD UP IN HIS GRAVE AND SALUTED ME.
Of course the real Holmes would have deducted that I only used my glasses to read Angelina's menu. Then he would have noticed that I properly secured them after dinner, (see picture above with the other Steve and Frank, the glasses are in my breast pocket). Plus, Sherlock would have stated; if you really knew you had them in the car going home, you should have stuck to your guns and searched more thoroughly the next morning.
I bet the real Holmes would have questioned Professor Moriarty and the Hound of the Baskervilles back in 1963 and solved the Kennedy case in less than ninety minutes.
Now you know why I'm only in the Junior Sherlock Holmes Club...and I better be careful, my next slip-up might put me on double-secret probation which could lead to being demoted to the dreaded Watson Auxiliary...or dropped from the club all together.