Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Kennedy Paralysis...

I sent a letter to Senator Kennedy this morning, wishing him all the best and promising frequent prayers for a miraculous healing. Writing it made me think back to the time when my boss ... well, here's the story (as expressed to Sentaor Kennedy as part of my letter)

From 1981-1985, I worked as a Field Services Rep and Field Services Director for the Animal Protection Institute of America, an animal welfare agency, from my home in the Pacific Northwest and from API’s headquarters in Sacramento.

During that time I was mentored by Ted Crail, Creative Services Director, a man some said was “impossible” to work for. I never found him that way. He was simply a perfectionist and wanted everyone to work and strive for their full potential. He was lovely to me, because he knew I always was striving to be top-notch.

I was assisting him one day, researching a bill sponsored by Senator Ted Kennedy. He asked a question I couldn’t answer, so he said, “Call Senator Kennedy’s office and get the answer.”


“Oh, my God in heaven!” I thought. “I can’t do that!”

Since he didn’t hear me grab for the receiver right away, and I was inordinately silent suddenly, he turned to me, to find me in Kennedy paralysis.

“Hello?” he inquired.

“Call Senator Kennedy’s office?” I tried not to squeak.



“What’s the problem?”


Did I dare say, “I don’t recall ever being asked or expected to phone an icon”?

He finally “got it,” without my saying another word.

“Look, Kris, Senator Kennedy is a public servant. He has an office phone that rings at least a hundred times a day. I’m not asking you to do anything that a hundred other people don’t do every day. It’s no big deal.”

I finally confessed, “It’s a big deal to me.”

I had never refused to carry out a single direction of his – until now. He had a deer caught in his headlights, unable to process the information in a sane, rational manner. I heard the words. My motor functions simply froze and I became catatonic.

“OK,” he finally conceded. “I’ll do it. Sit there and watch how easy it is.”

I sat there. I watched how easy it was. Masterful. Fun. Interactive. Even a laugh or two!

Never did try it myself, though… Too, too scary!

It was a humbling experience, to realize the high regard in which I held someone – to a point that actually speaking to him would have paralyzed my vocal chords and stayed all physical movement in my chair…

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Senator Kennedy, consider this my once-in-a-lifetime “phone call” to you. I will darken your door no more.

I just want you to know… you mean the world to me… and you are in my prayers hourly (often, more often)!

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