…because I think it is a mountain out of a molehill, but it gives me the chance to tell a great story from Tip O’Neil’s autobiography Man of the House (that even now R. C. Lane and other liberals are checking to determine who actually wrote it.) page 108. The Scene JFK’s Inauguration:
On the aisle was George Kara whom we used to call the ambassador because he came to Washington so often. George was an affluent businessman from Boston who was a kind of a mystery man. He knew everyone and everyone knew him, but nobody could say exactly what he did for a living.
George Kara used to show up everywhere. If the governor was being sworn in, George was on hand. If the Yankees were in town to play the Red Sox, George would be sitting with the players wives. If there was a championship fight, George had a ringside seat. There’s a guy like George in every town.
“Push over, Ambassador,” I said.
“Quiet, Tip, or they’ll kick us the hell out.” But he moved over to make room for me.
A moment later, Jack Kennedy was standing beside me, waiting to climb the steps to take the oath of office. “How are you, Tip?” he asked.
“Fine, Mr. President. Good luck and God be with you.”
Then George Kara leaned over and said, “Mr. President, good luck and may God be with you.”
Just then the band started playing “Hail to the Chief,” and Kennedy marched down the aisle and up to the rostrum to be sworn in as president. As the music played George leaned over to me and said, “Years from now, historians will wonder what was on the young man’s mind as he strode to take his oath of office. I bet he’s asking himself, how George Kara got such a good seat.”
…The scene now shifts to the Inaugural ball and Kennedy asks Tip a question…
“…Was that George Kara sitting beside you?”
“Yes,” I replied. “And when the band played and you stepped forward to be sworn in, George told me that future historians would wonder what was on your mind at that moment.”
“Tip,” he said, “you’ll never believe it. I had my left on the Bible and my right hand in the air, and I was about to take the oath of office, and I said to myself, How the hell did Kara get that seat?”
Flash forward 4 years (and one page) for LBJ’s inauguration Tip is sitting with Ted and Bobby Kennedy and has just repeated the story to them…
They both knew George and they got a tremendous laugh out of the story.
A couple of minutes later. Bobby tapped me on the arm and pointed to a man in a dark coat. “Tip,” he said, “is that were Kara was sitting?”
“Yes,” I said, “that’s just about the same location.” Then I blinked hard and took another look, and wouldn’t you know it–the man with the dark coat was George Kara! There he was sitting in the very same seat for Johnson’s inauguration as he had for Kennedy’s. To this day, I still don’t know how on earth he got there.
This book is full of stories like this and would make a great Christmas present for the political or historical junkie in the house. My Amazon review written almost a decade ago is here.
The only difference between the Salahis and George Kara is George is was a smart enough guy to stay low key. Then again he didn’t have facebook did he?
I actually think stuff like this happens all the time, usually on a much smaller stage, my father always said if you want to get in someplace just act like you belong there.