‘Happy Golden Days’ | National Review

‘Happy Golden Days’ | National Review

A nighttime scene, outdoors in New York, December 28, 2021 (Jay Nordlinger)

The picture at the top of this post? I encountered that scene on a recent night in New York. Kind of surprising and whimsical. Anyway, I include it at the end of my Impromptus today. At the beginning, I have a note about dictators and sports. Putin and Lukashenko teamed up earlier this week. They led a hockey team, which won 18 to 7. Putin scored seven goals. Against retired Russian hockey stars. He was scoring against them at will.

What an athlete, what a guy — although he cannot match the late Kim Jong-il, who had eleven holes-in-one in his first-ever round of golf.

Also in my column, I remark on political extremists who smash up instruments. Americans who flirt with national divorce. Steven Spielberg, who has brought a new West Side Story to screen. And more.

Here on the Corner, I’d like to publish three pieces of mail. I’ll be quick, as I know you have partying to do.

My friend Dave writes, “Football on television for 20 consecutive days. That my grandfather could have lived to see this age of wonders.” Dave adds that his grandfather owned one of the first TV sets in his community. He had “one game on TV and another on the radio.”

Another reader writes,


. . . In a column back in May, you referred to Jack Fowler as “a fabulous combination of compassion, smarts, and fun.” I could not agree more. I first met Jack 40-plus years ago in high school. He was a year behind me and had the most clever sense of humor that I had encountered. We worked on a couple of high-school shows together and have kept in touch over the years. A Great Guy in every sense of that term.


Finally, Christmas music — which can make people sad. I had an item about this in my column on Wednesday. A reader writes,

Dear Jay,

You always strike a chord.

This time you wrote about how Christmas music can bring sadness, and you also mentioned something about addiction. Two notes that resonate with me.

As a recovering booze addict, I have a lyric in mind: “Have yourself a merry little Christmas . . . Next year all our troubles will be miles away.” Every time I hear the melody, I recall hearing it out of a loudspeaker in front of the Port Authority Bus Terminal on Christmas Eve. Ashamed to go home and face my wife and kids, drunk and empty-handed.

Thank God all that is in the distant (1970s) past, but the regret, distress, and despair are palpable still.

Those “olden days” were not “happy golden days of yore.” These days are golden, and you help me appreciate them (as do my wife and kids).

Happy golden New Year to you and yours . . .

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About the Author

Tony Beasley
Tony Beasley writes for the Local News, US and the World Section of ANH.