The Ikeman Cometh

When we were still toddling — we did not know we were toddling; we thought we were prancing — there was no greater imprecation than the taking of Gen. Eisenhower’s name in vain. To hear a hoarse “Ike dammit!” from the upper reaches of the Adult Canopy was the cue to seek shelter. “Oh my Ike!” could be good or bad, but either way it meant enormity. We little ones euphemised the curse to a mild “Yikes!” a sound of surprise you may sometimes hear to this day from the dope-ruined throats of startled sextagenarians.

Before the hurricane hit Texas, I did not understand the cult of dread that surrounded Eisenhower. That bald-headed president seemed to me the very picture of geniality. Not being a Nazi, what had I to fear? Now I get it.

The rain pounding my little city, filling the gutters, forcing the trees to kneel, agitating the cats, is so heavy and steady it seems like an over-the-top special effect from a global warming scare film (the deluge portion, not the drought sequence). And to think this is but the hem of Ike’s robe brushing us lightly as he strides Titan-like onto the continent! If a mere outrider of Ike can thunder all the way up the Mississippi, hang a hard right at the Quad Cities, leap across hundreds of miles of soybean fields and slap Chicago silly like Moe Howard in a snit, then what could he not be doing to Galveston?

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