Friends from various parts of the country had come to Keokuk, Iowa
to celebrate the 50th wedding anniversary of Ruth and Bob Fisher. Before what
would be a festive dinner, we were enjoying cocktails on the broad lawn high on
a bluff overlooking the Mississippi River.
I was deep in a conversation about the wonders of air travel with
someone I'd just met and knew only as Butch. I mentioned that I'd seen on
television Bob Hope getting off an airplane in Beijing swinging what the Chinese identified
as a stick. In fact, it was a golf club, an unknown item in that part of the
world. Then, it turned out, Hope was later entertaining
a group with his famous one-liners, none of which were understood by his
"Wasn't that silly?" I asked Butch.
He nodded in seeming agreement, but now I realize he was just
I later discovered I'd been talking to Maurice Granville, CEO of
Texaco, Bob Hope's sponsor for the trip to China.