On one sunny afternoon, in the summer of 1993, my grandmother stopped by for an unexpected visit. She told me that she had developed cancer and wasn't feeling well, and hinted that she felt that she didn't have much time left. We organized an impromptu picnic and there, in a park in Dallas Texas, we sat and talked for hours about various things - my father's precocious childhood adventures, her failed marriage to my grandfather; her life, memories, and regrets.
As dusk approached, the conversation suddenly turned to John F. Kennedy. She had admired the man, she said, and "was disgusted at what those men did to him". I immediately realized that she was alluding to a conspiracy, but was rather taken aback - I had always accepted the official version of events and, well, this just wasn't the sort of thing I'd expected to hear from a woman such as herself; serious, thoughtful, and conservative - not exactly the type one might suspect to be a conspiracy theorist! She seemed to sense my confusion and pressed on. She told me the story of her cousin, a charismatic wheeler-dealer and close friend of Lyndon Johnson. She had worked for him for many years but had eventually grown to loathe him for his sinister ways, she said. His vengeance for those who crossed him was legendary and, quite often, fatal; a dangerous man who relied on fear and influence to protect his interests. That all came to a head in the early fall of 1963. His office (where she worked) soon saw a bustling surge of activity. A constant stream of new and familiar faces, secret conferences held on a daily basis behind closed doors, and shady exchanges of packages and envelopes were common; a dark cloud of mischief had settled on the office along with venomous utterances of a man named Kennedy. Eventually, she decided she had had enough with it all and left. Shortly thereafter, tragedy unfolded in Dealey Plaza.
She never spoke to him again, it turns out. Her eyes reflected bitterness and despair, and for a while we just sat quietly saying nothing. Her last words on the matter was that she felt ashamed for having kept the secret for so long. I could tell that she felt better having confided in someone, and so despite my shock I was happy to share in her moment of reflection. We packed up and left and soon parted ways. It was the last I ever saw of her - she died just months later from complications of cancer.
So today I reflect too. John F. Kennedy was a complicated man, far from perfect, but arguably one of the most visionary presidents of all time. Whatever the events surrounding his demise, I think we can all look back and remember that one thing for sure is true: his mark on this world will not be forgotten. God Bless you Jack!