Bob Hall’s review of the book, Stan Musial, An American Life, by George Vecsey [Sept. 15] reminds me of a spring day in 1945 when I received generosity from Stan the Man.
I was an 18-year-old seaman first class, temporarily stationed at Camp Shoemaker, Calif., awaiting deployment to the South Pacific. Musial was stationed two barracks away from mine, but I was too shy to go to his barracks to meet him, the established star.
However, fate intervened. I was struggling to lash my seabag, a two-man job. Musial was walking by, saw my predicament and offered to help. He didn’t play the big shot and introduce himself. With his help I got my seabag lashed in time to make muster. While helping me, he indulged in ordinary chitchat. Where’s your hometown, where did you go to boot camp, how long have you been in the Navy, where do you think you are headed? When we finished, he shook my hand and wished me good luck. Just then a sailor from his barracks walked by and called, “Better hurry, Musial, or you’ll miss muster.”
I was humbled by the fact that the famous big leaguer took time to help a little nobody he never saw before. I did see Stan again in 1980 and reminded him of his kindness toward me in 1945. I told Stan I was impressed by the fact that he didn’t play the big shot; he just acted like one guy helping another guy. Stan said, “That’s what life is supposed to be like.”
Stan Musial – great athlete, an even greater human being.
MAKE A DIFFERENCE
This October 22 is Make a Difference Day – a national day designated to helping others. Why not take steps to help animals as well as people? Here are some easy things that you can do:
Donate to vegan hunger relief organizations, such as Food for Life Global or Food Not Bombs. Or take non-perishable vegan food items like oatmeal, rice and beans to your local food bank.
Support cruelty-free health charities, including the Avon/Love Army of Women and the National Breast Cancer Coalition. They spend their time and money on relevant programs that can really help save lives – not on animal experiments.
Use reusable cloth bags when shopping in order to help save trees and marine animals, who often mistake plastic bags floating in the ocean for food and eat them.
Volunteer to walk lonely dogs or help staff clean cages at a nearby animal shelter.
Visit www.PETA.org or read Ingrid E. Newkirk’s book One Can Make a Difference for more ways to help people and animals.
I recently watched a one-hour program called “How Unequal Can America Get Before We Snap?” presented by President Clinton’s former labor secretary, Robert Reich.
The program said inequality of income, wealth, and opportunity in America is wider now than it’s been since the 1920s, and by some measures since the late 19th century.
There are two potential outcomes for this growing disparity. One is that our society will “snap back” with a series of reforms to regain a sense of fairness. The other potential outcome is for our society to “snap break,” whereby this country exists with two entirely different societies. The latter outcome often leads to the arrival of a demagogue who plays upon the emotions of the middle and lower classes all for the hidden intention of personal gain. We have seen this all too often in history with the likes of Napoleon, Mussolini, Hitler and Lenin.
I prefer a new progressive movement over even a peaceful revolution. My fear however, is that we are already rapidly approaching the point of “critical mass” beyond which there is no turning back. The question today before the American people is what are you prepared to do?