Mort’s theory of everything

Dr. Don Newbury

My Uncle Mort’s screeching to a stop on his golf cart isn’t a rarity; seldom, however, does he leave the motor running. I thought this meant his visit might be brief. It was briefer, but several minutes beyond briefest.

“I’m the luckiest guy in the thicket,” my 102-year-old kin bragged, “The two-hours-only shoe sale coincides with Maude’s kick-off of spring cleaning. So I ducked out of work, volunteering to fetch her some new sandals in town. The sales guy asked me her shoe size; I told him Maude says she wears a size 9, but a 10 feels so good, she usually buys 11’s.”

Good fortune followed my uncle to the thrift store, where he found a like-new pair of brogans for $3. And they gave him a buck for the ones he’s been wearing for 20 years. I guess my kin are, uh, “summer-ized.”


Mort had “a brief, two-pronged” agenda—analysis of our country’s defense system and discussion of a recent dream.

He began thusly. “Can you believe a man could land a gyrocopter on the Capitol lawn unchallenged, even after announcing he was coming?”

Of course I’d read and heard plenty on the subject. I’m still eye-rolling after the 61-year-old Floridian flew the contraption at an altitude of 150 feet at a speed of 45 miles per hour. My uncle said this postal employee has taken special delivery to a new level. Further, with the scheme working so smoothly, Mort predicts airlines will clamor to offer scheduled passenger service to the Capitol lawn.


“My historical perspective helps to understand how such a thing could happen,” my uncle said. “More than 50 years ago–during the Cuban missile crisis–our military leaders assured us we had missiles capable of striking major world targets with great accuracy.”

I asked him why we didn’t flex our muscles more against Cuba.

“That’s precisely the point,” Mort responded. “Cuba is less than 100 miles from Miami, and we didn’t have missiles that would shoot that close.”


What, pray tell, does the Cuban missile crisis have to do with a guy who builds a gyrocopter, announces it to the media and then flies to Washington?

Mort makes no fortune teller claims, but he has strong opinions about why the illegal landing was unchallenged. “Kinda like Cuba was too close, now we don’t have any radar that detects aircraft flying that low and that slow.”

Whatever, officials of 32 different agencies are squirming. That’s the number of groups which have varying degrees of Capitol security jurisdiction. No doubt, they’re “going postal.”


I’m not suggesting Mort was on a high, but clearly, he was on a roll.

Wink-quick, he changed the subject, switching from our country’s defensive flaws to Jordan Spieth’s offensive assault on golf courses.

What’s not to admire about this young man who appears to be “hound’s tooth” clean from every angle, with a great chance to become the hero to a nation? Mort admitted his golf game is way south of miserable. “If my own game was a prize fight, they’d stop it,” he lamented.


“You won’t believe the dream I had about Jordan,” Mort said. “Before reaching the first tee at a PGA Tournament, his opponents surrounded him to sing what I’ve always considered to be a Christian hymn—I Don’t Have to Cross Jordan Alone.

Mort assumed he’d hear the same lyrics sung at church across the years. But they were radically different.

“In essence,” Mort said, “the lyrics warned that if Jordan is crossed, they’d best gang up on him and bring along their biggest guns.”


Before he puttered off toward the thicket, I asked his secret to a happy marriage, acknowledging his 81-years in tandem with 101-year-old Maude.

“An easy answer,” Mort said. “I wrote the Constitution for our marriage, but I accept all of her amendments.” I smiled at the recollection of Maude’s Christmas gift to Mort last year—shaving lotion called “Old Spouse.”

It’s surprising he didn’t end our visit by waxing poetic, a la Ogden Nash: “To keep your marriage brimming–with love in the loving cup–whenever you’re wrong, admit it–whenever you’re right, shut up.”…


Dr. Don Newbury is a speaker in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex. Inquiries/comments to Phone: 817-447-3872. Web site: Archived: newbury blog, He’s a former Sul Ross State University news and information director.

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