The Foreign Service Journal, June 2003

Enjoying the Journey John Naland got it right in his April “President’s Views” column when he said, “The Foreign Service career is best viewed as being a jour- ney rather than a destination.” Simon Hankinson illustrates this attitude beautifully on the last page of the April issue in “Reflections,” writing about his life in Suva and his yearning for a “Big City Fix.” Hankinson acknowledges the allure of something bigger, but clearly appreciates the passage, as well. David Casavis U.S. Department of Commerce presently detailed to Homeland Security New York, N.Y. Memories of James Todd Following up on the obituary in the April Journal regarding the pass- ing of James Richard Todd, I would like to add a small addendum. In the early 1960s, I was a diplomatic couri- er and one of our African trips included an overnight stop at Ft. Lamy, Chad (now N’Djamena). Mr. and Mrs. Todd and their daughters invariably invited us couriers to din- ner during our evening in Ft. Lamy. Believe me, the welcome mat extended by the Todds was very much appreciated by all of us because by then we had been travel- ing in Africa (mostly by propeller air- craft) for several days. Although nearly 40 years have passed since those days, the expressions of kindness shown us by the Todd family have not been forgotten. Edward H. Wilkinson FSO, retired (on WAE to Consular Affairs) Springfield, Va. Remembering Daniel Patrick Moynihan I was a widow of a certain age on an initial consular assignment in India when Ambassador Daniel Patrick Moynihan and his wife hosted a reception for newcomers, which I attended with my 9-year- old daughter, Nancy. All of the children were given souvenir bal- loons. Nancy’s was purple, on a long string. As we stood on the covered ter- race of the beautiful residence, say- ing goodbye to the Moynihans, the balloon caught on the sharp prongs of a brass light fixture and suddenly popped. “I’m so sorry,” the ambas- sador murmured. “That’s all right,” my daughter assured him. “It’s happened before.” The very tall Moynihan leaned forward. “I can see,” he said gravely, “that you are a young woman of some experience.” On another occasion, an elderly Indian man, trying to ingratiate him- self with me (and influence my deci- sion on a visa for his son) submitted a 200-stanza poem he had written to honor the coming bicentennial of the United States. The poem rarely rhymed and didn’t make much sense. It was, however, the heartfelt presentation of an old gentleman who admired America and was in love with the English language. I sent it, with a note, to the ambassador. Days later, Moynihan, back from a hasty trip to Washington, sum- moned his huge staff to the confer- ence room. He loved having an audience for his invariably witty reports on the U.S. government in action. My office was in a building connected to the chancery by an underground tunnel. I put my work on hold and raced to the meeting. Arriving late, I self-consciously dropped into the chair nearest the door. The ambassador was reading aloud from Mr. Ramanujan’s opus. His voice rose to dramatic heights, as did his leprechaun eyebrows, as he concluded with an ode to Henry Kissinger: You dashing healthy bachelor, Most well-dressed and admired ever, Until wife Nancy stole your love and came To mellow your memoirs as loyal dame. Moynihan then asked for “a round of applause for Ginny Carson, who brought this to my attention.” My colleagues responded. I damn near floated back through that tun- nel to the interview counter where a L ETTERS J U N E 2 0 0 3 / F O R E I G N S E R V I C E J O U R N A L 7