Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Inagural Tueday

From all that I see on the news and in the blogosphere, it appears that today was either a red letter day of happiness or a black shrouded dirge of sadness. If you were liberal, fed up with Bushie, young, excitable, non-Caucasian, or ... you were overjoyed and happy. If you were a dyed in the wool conservative, or a Rush Limbaugh fan, or ... you were enveloped with a deep and lingering feeling of sadness.

For my part, I am of a mixed mind. The problems facing the Obama administration are large and growing. The honeymoon will be short and the aftermath ugly if definitive action doesn't happen in the early days of power. But, for the first time in a lot of years we have a powerful orator who is young and quasi-intellectual as our President. Given that Mr. Obama is a veteran of the Chicago political machine, he should be able to negotiate the pitfalls of Washington with aplomb. So here's to hoping that good things will happen and this country will get back on track.

Today was sad in this part of the world. Rex Monahan, one of the pillars of the community died on Monday and the news was released today. The announcements and preliminary obituaries reflect the private nature of his life. He was a man who did much good for the community. He and his wife have been involved in the community for years and years. I went to school with two of his four children, and even that far back he was known for his generosity. Sometimes what he did was known, like the library at the college named for his family and the park in the city named the same and the support of the literacy program and the endowed scholarships, and .... Other times his generosity was hidden, like the family battling cancer who mysteriously got added to his payroll so they could concentrate on the fight. He was a man who lived life full on, deciding to get into power lifting after he quasi-retired. He still holds power lifting world records for the 75-80 year old category. He and his wife set a goal of helping 1000 people to become literate, tutoring and supporting the literacy coalition. They easily exceeded that goal. He decided to learn a new language as a hobby even after his hearing degenerated (due to all the loud noise exposure in the oil fields). It was typical of his determination.

One anecdote that I remember about Rex came from his wife, Doris. We were having supper and she was expressing how happy she was that Rex had finally taken up a hobby other than photography. I asked why and she explained that she was tired of coming home and finding "things" in the bathtub where Rex had put them to photograph and then gotten called away. I asked what kind of things. Doris' answer - "Oh, you know. rattlesnakes and frogs and turtles, things like that." I have two lasting mental images of Rex. One is the two of us standing, with Rex draping one arm on my arm, his good ear towards me, saying "Now Dan ...". The other is visiting the nursing homes and finding Rex making visits so that no one would feel alone. He was always there for the people of the community. Rex's courtly manners, community spirit, and giving heart will be greatly missed.

Well, with that it is time to get some real work done.


  1. I love hearing the stories of people like Rex, really inspiring and Bravo to a life that seems to have been enjoyed and well lived.
    Although I did not vote for Obama I so want him to be successful in his endeavors as I love our country. Our son-in-law is in Afghanistan (F-18 pilot) and our son is currently in route so I am always holding my breath.

  2. Rex sounds like a he was a totally awesome guy and will be sorely missed.


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