A Tale of Trigger
By MAUREEN DOWD
Published: December 26, 2007
As re-reported in Dowd Report earlier, Maureen Dowd was spotted getting a bagful of copies of Caroline Kennedy’s A Family Christmas signed at Politics and Prose in DC. She can now expense her Christmas shopping as research since she made it the centerpiece of her Boxing Day column.
She mines the book for jokes by Groucho Marx, doggerel from Calvin Trillan, letter’s to the Macy’s Santa, and the personal letters of Caroline’s daddy, JFK.
And in a heart-warming story, she tells just how long she can hold a grudge:
When I was little, I got one of those wooden horses that bounced on springs for Christmas. I loved him and rode him every day.According to her Mormon Temple tale, she still just a kid when that happened, but she took away an important lesson from her mother’s passive-aggressive behavior:
One morning, I came down to the porch and the horse was gone. My mom explained that a poor woman and her son had walked by, and the little boy had stopped and stared longingly at the horse.
My mom’s world was turned upside down when she lost the father she adored at 12, so she had a soft spot for children who hurt. On a police widow’s pension, she was always mailing a few dollars off to St. Jude’s or to children she had read about who were hungry or needed an operation.
When she told me that she had given my horse to another child — a stranger — I was crushed. Whenever we fought for the next 16 years, I reminded her of her perfidy.
On my 21st birthday, I came home to find a bouncing horse with a handwritten sign in its mouth. “Hi. I’m back!” It was signed: “Trigger.”
Her lesson was lovely: that materialism and narcissism can only smother life — and Christmas — if you let them.She ends the column with another quote from the Kennedy kid book:
In a piece reprinted in the Kennedy anthology, Henry van Dyke writes: “Are you willing ... to own, that probably the only good reason for your existence is not what you are going to get out of life, but what you are going to give to life; to close your book of complaints against the management of the universe and look around you for a place where you can sow a few seeds of happiness ... to make a grave for your ugly thoughts and a garden for your kindly feelings ...? Then you can keep Christmas.”Does this mean we can look forward to less sarcastic bitterness from the Dowdster in the coming year? Let’s hope not. I like it when she gets on her high horse.