Tuesday, April 17

Salute to Matthew - Our Family Airman

I hosted a pizza party on Monday, April 16, 2018, in the common room at my apartment house in Mt.Pleasant for family and a couple of guests to honor my grandson, Airman First Class Matthew Godbold, USAF, son of my daughter Wynn and her husband Rett. Matthew is home in Myrtle Beach on leave from his service on Okinawa. This is his first home leave in about 18 months.

Matthew continues a family tradition of USAF service. I was in the Air Force (1951-1959); his grandmother (my late wife) served from 1951 to 1954 and his uncle James served four years in the 1970s. 

(Somewhere along the line my oldest son Frank, and two of my brothers went astray and were United States Marines.)

As usually happens, everyone was snapping pictures and I was no exception. Here are some snapshots from the happy event (some pictures have been removed from the original post at the request of the participants.)

 Matthew laughs at something his smiling Uncle Frank just said. 

Friday, April 13

Clean up! - The maid is coming

Clean Up! - The maid is coming

I have heard it in movies and on TV sitcoms and thought why? Yet, this very week I found myself thinking the same line; (not uttering it out loud lest I be guilty of talking to myself, a sign of  dementia,) “I have to clean up, the maid is coming.”

I emptied wastebaskets in the bathroom, bedroom, and den. I put dishes in the dishwasher and organized the napkins on top of the table. Some clean pots and pans on the stove went into a nearby cabinet. I put a three or four day trove of newspapers into a paper bag and later took the bag to the trash dumpster. I took bath and hand towels and a face cloth and put them in the clothes hamper to be washed later. I picked up slippers and shoes and organized them in a closet. I adjusted the window blinds in the open position and straightened up the bed covers. Then satisfied that all was satisfactory I left my apartment, locked the door, posted a note to the maid that the key was in the rental office and went out to face the day.

Why do people always clean up for the maid? Why did I do it? Isn’t this her job?

My first wife and I were married 56 years and we had five children. I had a government job and there was no money for a maid. After her death I re-married and my second wife didn't want a maid “because it is easier to do it myself.” When she died I hired a maid who came every two weeks.

Then I moved and rented an apartment and my cost of living went up. Initially, I cleaned the apartment myself, including vacuuming carpet and washing wood floors. Then I tired of it and hired a maid service. 

So now on the first Friday of each month, I find myself uttering, “I have to clean up the maid is coming.”

Saturday, March 10

The Bixby Letter and Saving Private Ryan

I find it thoroughly enjoyable and highly interesting when separate pleasant events come together by accident, and certainly without planning on my part. I recently had just such an experience. 

I watched a movie on TV and a day later read a review of four new books on the life of John Hay, President Lincoln’s presidential secretary and later ambassador to European courts and Secretary of State.

I viewed “Saving Private Ryan” on one of those TV channels which show movies without commercial interruptions. A pleasurable experience despite having seen the movie years ago in a theatre. 

The early part of the movie is getting the Rangers led by Captain John Miller (Tom Hanks) off Omaha Beach on D-Day. The story moves on to the catastrophic news that a mother in Idaho is about to be notified three of her four sons have been killed in combat. A fourth is somewhere in Normandy. 

General George C.Marshall, Chief of Staff of the Army, orders a search for the fourth son and to “get him to hell out of there.” In explaining his order to staffers who brought him the news of the Ryan family, General Marshall quotes from a letter President Lincoln sent to a Mrs. Bixby of Boston who was thought to have lost five sons (it later turned out to be two) during the Civil War. 

The Bixby letter was an expression by the President of how inadequate words and feelings are to console the mother in such an overwhelming loss. It is the type of letter history and our imaginations let us accept Lincoln would have written. 

It now turns out that Lincoln was not the author of the letter; it was written by John Hay, considered to be “the stylish” writer on Lincoln’s staff, with the “pen of a poet.” 

Four new books on the life of this literary scholar, lawyer, presidential ghostwriter, and longtime cabinet member, are reviewed in depth by Christopher Benfey, Mellon Professor in English at Mount Holyoke College, in The New York Review of Books (March 8, 2018).

I am indebted to Professor Benfey and the authors of the reviewed books for this fascinating background which played an important part in the development of the storyline of Stephen Spielberg’s “Saving Private Ryan,” and for the pleasant surprise of watching a movie and shortly thereafter learning a bit of the history of what makes the movie work.

Monday, March 5


Last night I went to see Lewis Black at the Gaillard Center in Charleston. Disappointed all around. The show as billed as “The Joke Is On US tour,” and it turned out it was. 

The warm-up man before Black was in some ways a copycat. He was also on too long and had only one or two good jokes.

He and Black looked like they were the last two men dressed at the Salvation Army that day and just came off the bus from a job site. I consider this disrespectful to the audience who paid anywhere from $50 to a $100 for a seat. (Gaillard’s website listed lower prices but charged more when I bought.)

Most of Black’s material was thoroughly generic. He could have used it in any city in America. There was none of the biting satire and social critic I (and thousands of others, I am sure) have come to expect from him. I have seen several of his televised shows and bought his DVDs. 

Lewis's comments about his parents' age did get a lot of applause. His father, he said, is 100 this year and his mother 99. They live in an assisted living facility in Maryland. In some of the earlier shows I have seen they have been in the audience and were shown on camera. 

During one rant about not having guns in church, a man in the audience “booed” and Black spent several minutes hectoring this man on guns, the 2nd amendment, and mental stability. I thought this excessive and certainly, no one who has paid his money to sit in the audience needs to be criticized in this manner

Wednesday, February 21

A stupid idea from POTUS

Another stupid idea from POTUS - "ENDORSED ARMING SCHOOL TEACHERS." (Announced Wednesday (2/21/2018) night. 
This is the absolute dumbest idea I have ever heard. A teacher is an instructor, a mentor, a friend, a caring, loving person in the lives of hundreds of children every school day of every year, and this idiot (yes, Mr. Trump, I am referring to you) in the White House endorsed arming them with guns so they can stop a shooter before he starts shooting up a classroom, school hall or playground. (Such ideas I believe are evidence of mental instability.) I will wager that more than 98% of teachers will think this a terrible idea, and would no more strap on a gun all day in the classroom than drink hemlock at breakfast. (Many detectives put their weapons in their desk drawer when they are in the station handling paperwork and such.) Why should teachers have to go around strapped all day?
STOP SELLING AUTOMATIC WEAPONS is a better idea. And don't tell me about the 2nd amendment which was designed to provide for an armed militia if one is needed. We have armed police, local, state and federal. We have National Guard troops in every state. We do not need a citizenry mobilizing in the town square to fight.

Tuesday, February 20

Trump Parade

Letters to the Editor (Published February 20, 2018)
The Post & Courier
Charleston SC

Dear Editor

We can assume that somewhere in the Pentagon some field grade officers are hard at work on “the parade” President Trump said he wanted.

This is not a good idea for the United States.  We do not need a parade to entertain or convince our citizens, or the world, we are the most powerful nation on earth. 

Consider also, for example, how unlikely we would compare to India’s celebration of Republic Day on January 26. According to one account, Prime Minister Modi and his 10 chief guests, the leaders of the Association of Southeast Asia Nations, watched an hourlong parade of a “mishmash of tanks, marching sailors in spats, kilted bagpipers, female motorcycle daredevils, camels, ballistic missiles, dancing school children, and a tableaux representing such abstract concepts as ethical taxpaying.”


/s/ Francis X Archibald

Monday, February 19

A good day in February

Sunday, February 18, 2018

This was a good day for me. In the morning I put on a suit I have only worn four times since I retired in 1993. The first was for my wife Mary’s funeral in 2010, then my marriage to Joyce in 2013, and since then a friend’s wedding, and the funeral of another friend. In fact, I found a religious service memorial card in the inside pocket from the funeral.

When I went to brunch I felt the suit was too big for me to wear comfortably at dinner in the evening. So I took it off and wore some slacks and a  sport coat to the evening dinner. 

This was the annual dinner for the poker players’ wives at Frankie at Seaside. We had as our guests the wives of deceased poker players, and Franke Manager, Mark Lee and his wife Barbara. We had close to 60 people at the dinner. It was a special affair and the food and service was top of the line. I was the MC and told several humorous stories and one-liners. (Received several favorable comments afterward.) We raffled off bottles of wine and boxes of chocolates and every lady present got something to take home. It was a wonderful night and I thoroughly enjoyed. I also felt better with regard to my clothing.

I have another suit similar to the one I had on this morning which I also bought back in the 1980s when I served in the South Carolina House of Representatives. The suits have not gotten much use since I retired in 1993. I intend to try that on and if it fits like the first one I will donate them to Goodwill or Habitat for Humanity.