Pine Nuts: Lincoln Day Dinner
There are only a handful of counties in America with only one township, and Nevada’s Churchill County is one of them. So I was honored to be invited to speak as Mark Twain at this year’s Lincoln Day Dinner at the Fallon Convention Center, hosted by the Churchill County Republican Central Committee.
Mark’s opening came easy, “With the inauguration of Mr. Lincoln, my brother was appointed secretary to Territorial Governor Nye out in the Silverland, Nevada.”
And the closing came easy for Mr. Twain, “When I said goodbye to Nevada I knew I was saying goodbye to the most vigorous enjoyment of life I would ever be afforded. Those days were full to the brim with the wine of life, and there have been no others like them. I thank you for inviting me to dine with you this evening, so I shall close here with malice toward none and charity for all.”
But the middle part was not so easy. For the past 33 years I have found Mark Twain’s passage about the Nevada legislature from his book, “Roughing It,” to be well received by both major parties …
“Never have I seen a body of men with tongues so handy and information so uncertain. Oh, they could talk for a week without ever getting rid of an idea. If any one of them had been on hand when the Creator was at the point of sayin’, ‘Let there be light,’ we never would have got it. No, the Nevada legislature meets every two years for sixty days, when they ought rightly meet every sixty years for two days. When the Nevada legislature is in session, nobody is safe.”
Well, with the political climate already overheating and ready to boil over in the coming midterms, I was a little apprehensive as to how that passage might be received. But I delivered it with the hint of a smile, and glanced around the hall hoping for an equally sympathetic smile. I did see one gentleman wipe his mouth with his napkin, then bite down on that napkin, probably to keep himself from cursing out loud. So perhaps it might serve me to keep that little passage in my breast pocket until after the midterms, and maybe insert a little less acerbic Twain extract, “I don’t vote for politicians, it only encourages them.”
Not being a political animal myself, I’m not about to give up on any one of my friends on account of their political opinions, so long as those opinions are rational. We can all learn to disagree without being disagreeable, can we not?
The Lincoln Highway Band of Fallon filled the hall with uplifting patriotic music, which was followed by three-minute talks offered by candidates running for office, though not one of those candidates echoed my favorite midterm campaign slogan so far, “Free Beer on Friday.”
Well, onward and upward, your friend across the aisle … McAvoy.
Learn more about McAvoy Layne at http://www.ghostoftwain.com
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