BOSTON (CBS) – Tom Menino was upbeat about his latest health challenge when he spoke with the media Sunday, addressing his cancer diagnosis with trademark defiance and humor.
But I did notice a cloud over his mood when he talked about his grandchildren, and his concern that they might become upset hearing things about his condition.
Listen to Jon’s commentary:
Mayor, I think I can help out here.
Menino grandkids, this one is for you.
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You surely know by now that there’s something special about your grandfather, the way people treat him and go out of their way to greet him.
Many of them do so because he has helped them or a friend or relative in some significant way, creating a program that helped them find housing or medical treatment, maybe helping them find a summer job or raising money to fund their sports team’s trip to an out-of-state tournament.
That he used the power of his position to do that doesn’t diminish the generosity – there are plenty of powerful pols who aren’t quite so aggressive about putting it to work for ordinary people.
Others make a fuss over your grandfather because he symbolizes so many things that give them hope – someone of modest means with no special privileges who rose to become honored and courted by the rich and privileged, even by Oprah.
I covered your grandfather when he ran for mayor 21 years ago, and can attest to the fact that he is the exact same person now that I got to know then, no small feat in a culture where fame and fortune tend to warp people.
So kids, don’t worry about Grandpa Menino.
If anyone can beat this illness, it’s him.
And as long as you live, you will always have his honest values and generous spirit living inside you.
You can listen to Keller At Large on WBZ News Radio every weekday at 7:55 a.m. You can also watch Jon on WBZ-TV News.
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