Tom Purcell

He talked about a recent trip to Ireland. He visited Castle Rock, the place where St. Patrick erected the first cross in Ireland.

"A young Irish guide took me to the cemetery and showed me an ancient tombstone there," he said. "The inscription read: 'Remember me as you pass by, for as are you so once was I, and as I am you too will be, so be content to follow me."

As Reagan paused, the crowd eagerly awaited his follow up.

"Then I looked below the inscription, where someone scratched in these words: 'To follow you I am content, I wish I knew which way you went.'"

The crowd roared loud and long, causing the president to deadpan to his advance men: "Why didn't I find this place seven years ago?"

The pub visit was videotaped by Reagan staffers and released to Troy 10 years after Reagan left office. I watched that video and got to see a snapshot of pure, unscripted Ronald Reagan.

It shows how powerfully and eloquently the man was able to engage any audience, large or small, just by being his genuine self. As we begin the process of selecting our next president, we sure could use another fellow like him.

I'll be sure to offer up a toast to the Great Communicator as I celebrate St. Patrick's Day this year:

"To follow you we were content, and grateful for the way we went."


Tom Purcell

Tom Purcell, author of "Comical Sense: A Lone Conservative Humorist Takes on a World Gone Nutty!" and "Misadventures of a 1970's Childhood," is a Pittsburgh Tribune-Review humor columnist syndicated nationally by Cagle Cartoons. Visit him on the web at www.TomPurcell.com