Gillian’s guidelines for us were exact: No more than four minutes, or 500 words. Ted had a similar compact with John Kennedy: Be direct, and to the point; use short words and clauses; aim for clarity.
There’s an old saying, attributed to Montaigne, that no man is a hero to his valet; that when you come to know a person, to see a man, warts and all, he appears smaller somehow, less worthy of admiration. I suppose that may be true in some cases. It’s certainly not true in mine.
I was privileged to be Ted’s friend for many years, especially in our years at the Council on Foreign Relations. He loved that organization and Gillian and I wondered if I might recount some of our experiences at the Council.
Today, as wordsmiths, politicos and Kennedyophiles alike remember Ted Sorensen for the eloquence of his speeches, I am chuckling to myself about the eloquence of his humor.