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Publisher's Notes: Contemplating the vagaries of aging, and whether Texas governors do swagger


August 21. 2011 9:09PM

An old friend, and I do mean old, dropped by for a visit the other day.

'You know you are getting old,'' he said, 'when you see someone who looks like someone you once knew, and it turns out to be that person's son or daughter!''

No kidding.

One of the editors asked me if I knew a particular reporter at another New Hampshire newspaper.

'You must,'' she said, 'he's been there for 40 years.''

And I did know him, but not as well as I knew his FATHER.

Come to think of it, the friend who came to visit was considerably older than I, but I also knew his father.

I was teasing a young woman who works here about her first name.

'Were you in the New Christy Minstrels?'' I asked.

She and her equally-young co-worker looked at me with the original blank stare.

'Never mind,'' I said.

Gov. Rick Perry, who is younger than I, but not by much, dropped in one day last week. He talked to me about Sam Houston, who ran for President briefly in 1860, and I had the uneasy feeling he thought I might have known old Sam. (I didn't.)

'What did you think of him?'' I was asked by a colleague after the governor departed. 'He seemed pretty down-to-earth.''

Well, yes, he did. But so did every Texas governor I have met, which is now a total of three. One ran for President and won. The other ran and lost, but he did spend $1 million to win exactly one delegate in the New Hampshire Primary. Wow. That was so long ago, $1 million was worth $1 million.

Here's a fun assignment: In the coming weeks, see how many feature stories about Gov. Perry refer to his Texas 'swagger.''

Funny, I looked but I didn't see him swagger once while he was here. But perhaps I am getting too old to see much.

I didn't know Ed Bennett too well, but when he died last week, age 86, it had me thinking of colorful people. Ed was a country editor and passionate politician. As a legislator from Claremont, he once hid out with others in Concord to prevent a quorum in the state Senate.

Ed also spoke his mind. As state Economic Development director, Ed was asked about a pulp mill proposed for the Connecticut River, and being backed by Ed's boss, Gov. Mel Thomson Jr.

'I think it stinks,'' said Ed.

Ed lost the job, but the pulp mill wasn't built.

Write to Joe McQuaid at

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