Daddy had just been elected to his first public office (State Representative for Rapides Parish) under Governor Robert F. Kennon (Dem. 1952-1956) I was nine.
Governor Robert F. Kennon
I liked this governor. He and daddy were good friends, part of the anti-Long administration. And when I would go to Baton Rouge, I would be left with the governor's secretary while they were in session. I remember sitting at the governor's desk and coloring or reading comic books which were kept in the right hand bottom drawer of his desk. Of course, I like to think that they were kept there just for me, but truth is, the Governor had 3 sons of his own.
This story revolves around Gov. Kennon calling on the phone one evening.
Our family was always lively, especially around evening meals. With four left-handed children and two right-handed parents, some of us ran around as if we were in our right minds...which as you know, we were, except for our parents. I remember one fine meal around the time I was 10. My two sisters, younger brother and I were all relating our daily activities, each trying to out talk the other while mama and daddy loudly expressed their opinions to each of us. Actually we were a series of monologues all practicing our parts for some final dramatic performance each trying to outstage the other. I'm sure we sounded like a battle scene in some Shakespearian play
When really it was
and I'm equally sure that if one were to view us from the window we would appear as gorillas in the midst of mating season. Arms flailing, standing, sitting, taking turns moving to mama or daddy for their attention and back again to our seats or someone else's, sharing each others meals without anyone noticing whose plate they were eating from.
Mama could have thrown the food on the floor for all we seemed to care. The noise must have been deafening. Yet we all seemed to be getting the attention we desired and all seemed to be able to fully understand the conversation going on around us.
Suddenly the phone rang.
Of course it would be for daddy. Being a politician's family left us open for interruptions at any hour, day or night. The farmers who got up early would call their senator at the crack of dawn and the night owls would call sometimes as late as midnight. Sometimes they would just show up in person...kept us on our toes as to clothing outside of the bedrooms.
Daddy answered. “Hello. Yes, hello Gov. Kennon. No this is a good time. How are things down in Baton Rouge?”
Looking like a pack of well trained seals, we all fell silent or at least reduced our noise to a few giggles and whispers while moving back to our places and eating our meal while they talked.
Suddenly my brother, Bob, always the clown, could stand it no longer and got up and began a Groucho walk around the table, through the kitchen, into the living room and back through the den.
One by one we joined him in this merry silent protest, each walking bent-legged through the house, flicking our pretend cigars by daddy as we passed him on the phone every time we came around.
After mama joined the troop, we could hear daddy say apologetically, “Could you hold one a moment, Governor? I'll be right back.” Daddy stood up, squatted to the proper stance, flicked his cigar and joined the procession, as the caboose, one lap around the house.
We were stifling our giggles as daddy sat back down, picked up the phone and said, “Now, Governor, as you were saying, sir....”