Memo From Mac



The Burlington Hawk-Eye
The Hawk Eye
Burlington, Iowa

Easter Tidings Reaffirm and Test Faith 
April 10, 1977

We had a Good Friday baby in our family and it seemed fittingly joyous news at the end of the sorrowing time, and just before the even of Easter.

Kevin showed admirable restraint, not at all in keeping with a journalist's training to break the news when it happens. He waited until 9 a.m. Washington time before calling, lest he awake the aging grandparents. The baby had been born before 4; on precisely the date her mother (the former Annie Long, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Clem Long of Burlington) had said all along it would happen.

But there was no disguising his enthusiasm, the ring of wonder in his voice, and I heard the echo of myself, as I have four times, in these breathless calls from four sons, the echo of my own amazement at the miracle of life, when I began breaking this kind of news to bemused parents, nearly 30 years ago.

So we have another granddaughter the third in a row and one grandson, and that ratio is some kind of warning to male chauvinists everywhere and one more scrap of evidence that the women, indeed, will inherit the earth.

Her name is Niamh (pronounced Neeve) and while I will take full grandfatherly credit for her beauty and brains, I deny all responsibility for the grief that's going to cause schoolteachers and newspaper copyreaders far into the next century.

This is what happens when you let a nice Burlington girl go gallivanting off to the University College of Galway for part of her education. She comes home and produces a leprechaun.

The Irish in me of course is proud as Paddy's pig of it, as I am of her elders in the grandchild clan, John Barry and Brenda and Kathleen. And though there is no exact translation of it into English, it is the Gaelic for "grace and beauty," which I will believe, even though her mother confides on her bedside phone that she looks like her father.

So here is the joy and the meaning of Easter for us: New life and life eternal as the blood of whatever unknown ancients we strung from courses down through another generation.

I came to work with these happy thoughts and watched the editing of another story on this page, another, grimmer side of Easter's meaning.

Faith is easy when you're celebrating healthy birth and the indestructibility of your own flesh. Faith is hard, and so desperately needed, when you face painful and unfair and inexplicable death.

I get angry when I think of Bob Rowley. Furious, bitter to the edge of blasphemy. Why, for God's sake, destroy so useful a life in so useless and unfathomable death?

He was my doctor; saw me through some painful episodes that now seem so minor. A fellow pilot with whom I should have had so much more hangar talk. A gentle and understanding man. Read his story and do what you can. I will try this morning to turn my joy into a prayer for his peace.

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