- The Washington Times - Sunday, May 4, 2003

A farmer’s lessonIn late spring of 1990, this Inside the Beltway columnist wrote a small item about a group that was forming to defend then-Vice President Dan Quayle, who was under attack from the left-wing media.John Piper attended that first meeting and soon became president of “Friends of Dan Quayle,” a bipartisan grass-roots group dedicated to a “fair and balanced” presentation of the tasks and talents of the vice president.”For over two years we had a number of accomplishments,” Mr. Piper, a vice president of PaineWebber, recalled yesterday. “We put together a media guide on Vice President Quayle (something that should have happened in 1989) and then sent it to over 2,500 talk-show hosts. I personally did over 50 talk shows on radio and TV. We hosted two large birthday parties for the vice president and saw our membership grow to over 3,000.”Just this week, Mr. Piper sent the following letter to Mr. Quayle:”Dear Mr. Vice President: The letter below and attached picture is from Lt. Col. Steve Heywood, an old friend and neighbor of [Mr. Pipers wife, Tracy] from Rhode Island. He is the U.S. Marine Squadron Commander of HMLA-267, a Cobra ‘gunship’ helicopter squadron in Iraq.”About 7 years ago (during the height of the Clinton arrogance), I went to a high school class reunion of Tracy’s in Rhode Island (I don’t think any husband particularly enjoys being at one). Being in the liberal bastion of New England, I was getting a little worried when this huge Marine came up to me and said, ‘You’re Tracy’s husband … the one who knows Dan Quayle.‘“Then he turned to me and said, ‘Any friend of Quayle’s is a friend of mine.‘“He told me he used to fly Marine One and other transport for the president and vice president. He recounted a story about when one time transporting the Quayle family (I think to Andrews Air Force Base) one of the children became ‘sick’ in the helicopter. The Marines all rolled their eyes.”Mr. Piper’s letter continues: “After they landed and the family exited, the crew went back to clean up the mess. To their surprise, they found Mrs. Quayle cleaning up. She insisted that no member of the United States military would have to clean up after one of her children.”He went on to tell me that he and his [crew] will never forget the respect the Quayles had for the military, and to put him on my list of supporters.”The photograph that Mr. Piper included for the vice president showed Col. Heywood in Iraq, where he’s been among the U.S. military men and women fighting to overthrow the dictatorship of Saddam Hussein. The reason the Marine is posing next to an Iraqi farmer is explained in Col. Heywood’s letter:”All: On day three of the war I lost my CBOX oil pressure and had to set down in a field (more to this story). We were approached by a local who was dirt poor but still proud, proud of his mud hut, his son, his 20 goats and his tomato patch. He spoke not a lick of English and I thought at first he was asking for food. Then I thought he wanted to sell me a box of tomatoes.”In the best tradition of Arab benevolence and pride, he was offering us a box of his best tomatoes. It was all he had. All he could offer. Saddam’s boys would surely put a bullet in his head if they knew.”Wars bring out the best and worst in people. When he approached my boys were edgy and ready to waste him. We all learned a good lesson that day. Steve.”Maryland footballWashington-based television and radio personality Armstrong Williams was riding the train to New York not long ago and struck up a conversation with fellow passenger David Modell, president of the 2000 Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens.”We hit it off, and have been keeping in touch by phone,” Mr. Williams says. “Then the next thing you know this big box arrives in my office filled with Ravens stuff — a jersey, hat, record and fact book, you name it, if it says Ravens on it, I’ve got it. He’s trying to make me a Ravens fan,” Mr. Williams explains.But you’re a Washington Redskins fan, right?”Absolutely not. I’m a Cowboys fan,” he says of Dallas’ football team. “I grew up in the South, and that was the only thing on TV where I grew up and I became addicted to them. So I can’t help myself.”But you know what, I’m beginning to like the Ravens. I like the colors,” he says of the purple and black uniforms. “And I like Baltimore. So maybe I will become a Ravens fan. Plus, the Redskins now play in Maryland anyway. I used to be able to walk to their games in Washington until they moved to Maryland.”Today, Mr. Williams is lunching with Mr. Modell at La Brasserie, a French restaurant on Capitol Hill. Mr. Modell is even lugging his team’s Super Bowl trophy into the restaurant at the journalist’s request.”Anything it takes to make a fan out of me,” Mr. Williams says. “It’s going to be just him and me and the trophy for the entire lunch. Maybe he’ll let me hold it up.”Mr. Modell and several of the Ravens players today are taking the trophy to Walter Reed Medical Center, where they not only hope to cheer up some of the wounded U.S. soldiers who have returned from Iraq, but turn them into Ravens fans, too.

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide