Libraries and theaters

By John J. Duncan Jr.

My wife has told me more than once “No more books,” because my offices and our homes have always been filled with books.  But I love to read.

She has told me more than once that I am the “most boring person” with whom to take a vacation.  She is right, but I love to read.

Thus, even I am surprised that I recently watched two full-length movies on television.

One was called “All the Money in the World” about J. Paul Getty.  The narrator said at one time Getty was not only the richest man in the world – he was the richest man in the history of the world.

Yet he led one of the most unhappy, miserable lives imaginable.  He was married five times.  In the last marriage, he had a son who was blind and died at the age of 12.  Getty did not even attend the funeral.

He also had a son who was a complete failure because of drug addiction and a grandson who died at 54 because of drugs.

Getty himself died alone, surrounded by paintings and sculptures worth billions.

Just a day or two after seeing that movie, I heard my friend Hallerin Hilton Hill interviewing Jim Haslam about his new book.

Jim Haslam told Hallerin that he had known many wealthy people who were very unhappy.  Jim is a happy man because he has given so much love to his family and been loved by them, and because he has given so much of his treasures to others.

Two men of great wealth but total opposites in the lives they led.  East Tennessee and this country are both fortunate to have had a great man and good citizen like Jim Haslam.

The other movie I watched was “Air Force One” starring Harrison Ford.  I was fortunate to get to attend the world premier of this movie in Washington and have a special memory about it.

I did not drive much in Washington other than just to and from work.  So, I had bought the cheapest car I could find – a used, chocolate brown K-Car (Plymouth Reliant).  I think it must have been wrecked before I bought it because the front passenger door made a horribly loud sound every time it was opened.

The late Mel Hancock, a Congressman from Missouri, went to the movie with me.  Mel was the oldest freshman Congressman at 62 in 1988 and became one of my best friends.  He lived in Knoxville for a couple of years in the mid-50s and had a son born here.

I drove, and the premier was being conducted like a major Hollywood event – bright lights, red carpet, etc.

A limousine was just in front of us and one was right behind.  When one of the greeting attendants pulled open Mel’s door, that very loud, horrible sound blasted out.

I will never forget Mel busting out in laughter and saying “Boy, I wish I had a video of this.”

I have read and heard that Harrison Ford has a mother-in-law who lives on Cherokee Lake and that he has eaten several times in Morristown restaurants.

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