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CENTRAL VIEW for Monday, April 8, 2024

by William Hamilton, Ph.D.

"Hold my Guinness! Thatís Gromyko!"

Enroute from W. Germany to D.C., we were in the departure lounge ot Shannon International Airport when I said to Wonder Wife, "Hold my Guinness! Thatís Gromyko!"

Walking up and down the long concourse while his AeroFlot flight refueled, was the Soviet Foreign Minister, Andrei Gromyko. The diplomat appeared to be alone; however, I knew just as soon as I peeled in behind Secretary Gromyko that at least two men in bad suits would appear and fall in behind me. They did.

Not wanting to intrude on Gromykoís privacy and also not wanting to be shot, I stayed 100 feet behind Secretary Gromyko, with the Soviet agents trailing about 100 feet behind me.

When our little column of Gromyko, yours truly, and the Soviet agents reached the end of the concourse, a counter-march meant we would be passing by in close proximity to each other.

As the Soviet Foreign Minister and I came fleetingly face-to-face, the only Russian I could think of was, "It is a very nice day."

Unfortunately, it was so cold and rainy outside, no wonder the snakes left Ireland. So, Gromyko, who was obviously smart enough to survive Stalinís purges, had to know that yours truly knew nothing about the current weather and even less about Russian. Obviously, I was nekultutrney and did not merit even the "nodding acquaintance" I would have years later with Mrs. Gorbachev.

For their part, the two bodyguards simply glared at me No doubt because I had disturbed their rest and they were probably ticked off at me for taking them away from Shannonís legendary duty-free shopping.

And so, up and down the concourse we went. As long as I stayed back 100 feet from Secretary Gromyko, the minders stayed back 100 feet from me. If I narrowed the gap with Gromyko even a few feet, the minders drew closer to me. Other than closing ranks even more, they never did figure out how to solve the problem of the close-proximity turns at each end of the concourse.

Each time our little column passed by where Wonder Wife was sitting, I could tell she wanted me to come in for a pit-stop. But I was having too much fun following along behind one of the USSRís top officials. But then, after four round trips, even I could see it was time for our little parade to end.

But, as long as the cheeky American was going to march, Secretary Gromyko and his escorts were going to do so as well. It was like the space race being played out inside the earthís gravitation field. Neither side was willing to run up the White Flag. If ever detente was needed by both sides, it was right there in Irelandís Shannon International Airport. Dr. Henry Kissinger, please pick up the red courtesy telephone.

Mercifully, the PA System announced that the Aeroflot flight was ready for boarding. And so, our ground-bound space race ended without a loss of face by either side.

Maybe Putin and Zelensky could work out their differences at Shannon International Airport. Despite the rain, the duty-free shopping is great, and there are no snakes.

*These stories will continue until morale improves.

©2024. William Hamilton.

©1999-2024. American Press Syndicate.

Dr. Hamilton can be contacted at:

Email: william@central-view.com

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