Tampa Tidbits

by Jay Nordlinger

Among the many guests at NR’s party last night was George Will. I was in a crowd of people who are not easily star-struck. But it’s hard not to be struck by George. People wanted to meet him, as well they should.

I remembered an anecdote about him — a story told by Sam Donaldson. On himself. I think he told it on the Johnny Carson show.

“For a long time,” said Donaldson, “I said to people, ‘George Will is the smartest person I know.’ Then a friend said to me, ‘But Sam, you disagree with him on every issue. Are you sure you want to say he’s the smartest person you know?’”

Big of Donaldson, I thought, to tell that story.

Here’s a story told to me by a local friend — a friend in the Tampa area. It concerns a friend of hers and a “magnolia” — a real, genuine, stereotypical southern belle.

The friend — let’s call her Betty Lou — meets Magnolia in the grocery store. Magnolia says, “Betty Lou, how’s that handsome man you’ve been seeing?” Betty Lou says, “I had to break up with him.” “But why?” says Magnolia, disturbed. “Well, for one thing, he drinks.” “Nobody’s perfect,” Magnolia replies. “For another, he lives with his mother.” “That won’t last forever,” says Magnolia. “Finally,” says Betty Lou, “he doesn’t have any money.”

Magnolia pauses, puts her hand on her friend’s arm, and says, “Betty Lou, find yourself another man.”

Better with accents, this story is. And dead-true, I feel confident.

I’m typing these notes in the Marriott Hotel, where I’m told Romney and his family are staying. Which makes sense: Romney was named after Mr. Marriott (Willard).

Walking on some grass down here, I thought, “The kind of grass golfers are always complaining about. Spongy. Kikuyu, is it?”

Speaking of golfers, a reader writes, “Say Artur Davis becomes a big star in the Republican party. And Mia Love does the same. Someday, could the GOP ticket be Davis-Love?”

Clever.

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