Wally World | National Review

Wally World | National Review

(Chinnapong/Getty Images)

After initial sea farings in the mid 90s, National Review’s cruise program quickly hit its stride — ever-growing contingents numbered 300 and 400 conservative passengers (the peak — 794!) for the typical week-long floating conference. A consequence of this success meant the need to have more worker bees on hand to engage in daunting customer service. Howard Moses, founder of the Cruise Authority, and overseer of all these expeditions from the Caribbean to Alaska, the Baltic to the Mediterranean, had an inspiration: He’d bring along his dad.

And so Wallace Moses, a.k.a., Wally and Big Wally, came into the life of National Review, and for a decade or so of voyages he was a fixture — a beloved one. Wally was big indeed, maybe six-foot-three, built like he had played linebacker in college. Coming from deep Georgia, he possessed a classic Southern-fried accent, heard through a loud bass accessorized by an infectious laugh. He oozed charm and friendship, and in his native gregariousness told many a marvelous tale while his large mitts worked their way through packs of Marlboros. And then there was Wally’s age-belying youthfulness — many thought he was Howard’s big brother.

What Wally Moses was . . . was a man’s man (and it seemed the women’s too; because the strapping Southerner was handsome to boot). Put the package together and one was tempted cast him à la Foghorn Leghorn (but one never really did, if only because of the infamous rooster’s game-playing and duplicity). And what Wally was was admired, and loved (as Jay Nordlinger rightly and wonderfully remembers).

It was not unimportant that, although Wally was no employee of NR, he de facto represented it to friends, subscribers, and supporters. This he did this with ease and wisdom, even a sense of authority. And prudence. (Fun fact: The Moses clan grew up neighbors of Jimmy and Billy and Miss Lillian, and their affinities, rarely raised but for private conversation, leaned thataway.)

The dynamics were this: You sailed with NR once, odds were that you’d sail again, so over the years Wally came to be a recognized and friendly face. Often too, a friend. He could do more than share a tale or a laugh: An entrepreneur who endured years of running and growing a small empire of women’s clothing stores (the man could tell deadly serious stories about the crushing effects of shoplifting), Wally if asked to would disclose to NR cruisers contemplating ideas of retail their pitfalls and realities. He bore the scars.

But whatever the reasons he found himself engaged with customers, Wally did it well, and to the benefit of NR. My opinion: We have a great indebtedness to him. If it matters, and it does — Bill and Pat Buckley were fond of him.

The day came when Wally’s turn at pop-helping cruise work ended, his new and lovely wife Joanne and he finding happiness in their beautiful home in Albany, in traveling (sans duties), and in boating on a lake or in the Gulf of Mexico or in Alaska’s waters, to the detriment of the vicinity’s fish. He could wield a pole, and loved to.

On occasion we’d chat, usually with Howard handing over a phone, and there came the instant thrill of hearing that wonderful laugh and being in Big Wally’s presence, even if only via the ether.

As November ended, so did Wally’s happy life. Those Marlboros caught up with him — still, it took 83 years. A long time that, in which he shared a special bonhomie with countless people. He mattered to us. A lot. To our dear pal Howard and his sister Alissa, to her husband David, our paisan and the other force at the Cruise Authority, to Wally’s wife Joanne and to the grandchildren he loved so much, you have our sympathies and condolences, personal and institutional. NR shares both in your sadness, and in the knowledge that Wally Moses was a special and very good man, and a friend we will miss sorely.

Jack Fowler is a contributing editor at National Review and a senior philanthropy consultant at American Philanthropic.

Original source

#Wally #World #National #Review

About the Author

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