-Art's Art-
Recollections of a Small Town Boy


How do you know it when you see it? The person of integrity carries no sign boasting about it. He or she is not likely to recognize it as a trait they own. And others may not realize such a wonderful quality in a friend they had until long after.

A dictionary definition falls short of a true description. A supreme court justice said he could not define pornography, but he knew it when he saw it. Fair enough, but he would have trouble with integrity, I bet. But this wise jurist gives us a hint.

We may not know integrity when we see it but we enjoy it without question while it is there for us. Later it’s up to us to reflect and decide about our own saints. Too subjective? What do I have except ordinary people so lately beatified?

Miss Agnes Lawton, the principle of my elementary school who was dedicated to teaching and doing it fiercely;

The French teacher who refused to boost my failing grade by one-half a point. She did me a favor;

Emma Mueller, English literature which she loved and cut no slack for shirkers and smirkers;

G. C. McKelvey, high school principal and math teacher called Cap’n Mac. As a World War I decorated veteran (and a gay!) he had two suits, lived in a rented room and spent most of his salary to put poor kids into college;

A priest of my church whose wise counsel kept me from making a horrid mistake;

A college instructor who knew my term project was completed, swept out by a janitor while I was at my father’s funeral, but gave me no “A” because my project was unsupported summary. I spent a day and a night writing that damned summary!;

Charles Leland Harper, the guy who taught me the printing trade, also much about life. At age 37, with a wife and four children, he enlisted in the navy after Pearl Harbor. He waived an honorable exemption!

Others throughout life who simply show up when you need them most.

I know integrity exists and is found in diverse places and people.

Art Darwin
4 January 2007

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