Nana maternal counselled me as a lad that “every man wastes his life in his own way~~if you are rich, you get to choose how to waste your life~~and that’s a great advantage.” Today, a yellowed paper from 40 years on gives me pause to recall Nana’s admonition and likewise to think, fleetingly, of a long forgotten fella~~of Mr. George Frost Kennan~~man of The Department~~

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 George Frost Kennan (February 16, 1904 – March 17, 2005)

As I was taken out to “make the rounds at Washington” very young, I had occasion to know George Frost Kennan fairly well when I was small.  He visited on several  of occasions~~at my father’s house~~and those of my uncles~~as well as at various events~~both social and official.

 I remember that he had been a boxer~~golden gloves~~like my father.  I remember that he had reasonably decent taste in suits~~very odd for a government man~~and that he wore English vests~~odder still~~I remarked these modes of dress as a high positive.

George Frost lived a very long time and for a awhile had~~what passes for~~high influence at Washington~~and very much more specifically so also at The Department~~for a time~~until his luck ran out there.

I remember George as being gentlemanly enough~~but Nana was ever in my ear and I can hear her, yet now, saying “Princeton is a playboy school.”  I never knew what that meant, or if it was a positive or a negative, but Nana was so autocratic of opinion that I accepted all she said as God’s Gospel.

I do remember that Mr. George Kennan~~when I knew him~~struck me as both affable and excessively guarded~~in private meetings.

Being guarded is understandable~~likely~~a requirement~~to hold the offices Mr. Kennan held.  But, as today, I suppose, if one must run squads of Philadelphia Lawyers through one’s brain before engaging a~~bromidic~~ question~~one runs risk of becoming laconic.

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Mr. George Frost Kennan~~in hard hat~~I think~~a Homburg~~yes~~it is~~a Homburg~

Today, Lovey came across a weathered note of mine sent to Mrs Graham’s morning paper, The Washington Post, penned by me in July of 1977, concerning Mr. George Frost Kennan~~by then a man of ~~rather late~~middle age.  That note follows on below:

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Over the course of a long career, Mr Kennan’s point of view did alter course~~more than once in  fact.  That’s~~perhaps inevitable~~given the tenor of the times~~its ebbs and flows.

In my note to Mr Kennan, shown here, penned in July, 1977, I was young and eager and perhaps~~over keen.  The ebb and flow of the times since 40 years ago have changed the tenor for me, and everyone else, I  guess~~again~~more than once~~likely.

I do hold yet to the general attitude that democracy is a universal good for all men~~and that America ought actively to promote that universal good.  Yes, actively so.

Rejoice and Glad!!

Amen.

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John Daniel Begg

At

Washington DC

Friday, 25th Mai, Anno Domini Nostri Iesu Christi, 2013

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Mr. George Frost Kennan, pictured playing chess with those~~ crafty Russians.

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2 thoughts on “Nana maternal counselled me as a lad that “every man wastes his life in his own way~~if you are rich, you get to choose how to waste your life~~and that’s a great advantage.” Today, a yellowed paper from 40 years on gives me pause to recall Nana’s admonition and likewise to think, fleetingly, of a long forgotten fella~~of Mr. George Frost Kennan~~man of The Department~~

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