Thursday, March 27, 2014

The Child Is Father of the Man

Without a serious course correction, many feared Catawba College was on the verge of becoming a hippie enclave. The college Republicans — pretty much everyone who wasn’t in the drama or music departments — were especially alarmed.
Who better to turn back the liberal tide than third-year poli-sci major Pat McCrory, the only arch-conservative serving on the student senate in 1977? As leading member of the Grievance Committee his focus had been on trying to get the literary magazine defunded and synchronizing the clocks on campus.
I became acquainted with Pat three years earlier, when we were both freshmen. Looking for a ride home for the weekend, he scoured the student directory for anyone from Greensboro who had a car. I guess I was the first to say yes, despite never having met the guy. I can’t recall what was discussed during that or the two or three subsequent trips down Interstate 85; we had practically nothing in common. In high school he was class president; I was class clown. He played tennis in the afternoons; I drew comic strips for the paper.
I had to admire his brash confidence and dead certainty, a natural politician if ever there was one, with that unnerving, used-car-salesman smile, like someone with the summer sun in their eyes unable to see past the glare and compensating for it, and a Cheshire grin highlighted by eyes that, depending on his mood, could flash bright or go dim in an instant: Elvis has left the building.

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