John’s father was an old-time Democrat. He adored Jimmy Carter and felt America would come to a tragic end if that “goddamned actor, Ronald Reagan, becomes president.” I said nothing, but I knew I would vote for Reagan because I believed he would prove America’s military might once again by affecting the return of the 52 American hostages trapped in Iran. Change was in the wind: Reagan would bring a sense of renewal—“It’s morning in America again”—just like my rebirth as the wife of John Stewart Jr.
As for John, he was a free-wheeling capitalist. He bluntly told his father that Reagan would cut taxes, “and he’ll make sure the government will stay the hell out of the hair of the small businessman, men like me.”
The old man looked up sharply when my husband said that and he gripped the edge of his Lazy-Boy chair as if it were going to come up from the floor. And then he said in a voice that echoed throughout the house, “If all the goddamn Republicans run their businesses as slipshod as you do, America is going to be in deep shit.”
A red flush crawled up John’s neck as he turned to Alma, saying, “It’s time for us to go Mama.” He kissed her on the cheek, saying nothing more to his father.
I kept quiet, but felt an instant sorrow for John. The old man’s comment was a low cut. My new father-in-law only seemed mollified when Alma was fussing over him.
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