Thursday, February 14, 2008

The Churchill Series - Feb. 14, 2008

(One of a series of weekday posts about the life of Winston S. Churchill.)

On November 30, 1924 Churchill turned fifty.

Here's biographer William Manchester's description of Churchill at fifty:

(He was) portly, bald, stooped, his face lined with wrinkles accumulated during countless crises, any one of which would have aged most men overnight.

Yet the overall effect was pleasant. He had begun to resemble the cartoonist's conception of John Bull, hearty and prosperous, with an ovoid torso and a low center of gravity, good-humored if you let him have his way but stubborn and even refractory if you didn't.

His height was just under five feet, seven inches, which would have surprised those who knew him only through newspaper photographs, because his massive shoulders led one to expect a taller man.

His manner was always forthright, never devious, no one ever called him enigmatic.

As unsubtle as the rare roast beef he ( and John Bull) loved, his expression invariably reflected his mood. He beamed, looked puckish, frowned, wept, or brooded, but of the thousands of Churchill photographs, none shows him bored.
What a wonderful word portrait.

And as for no photo showing him bored, remember what our parents told us: boredom is what happens to people who aren't interested in anything? That was never Churchill.
William Manchester, The Last Lion: Visions of Glory. (p. 755)


Anonymous said...

John: When my kids were growing up, they picked up the "I'm bored" refrain from their peers. I always replied "Only boring people can be bored." Now that they're older, I think they finally believe me.
Tarheel Hawkeye