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President Obama: Twisting & turning

My Grandma Jenny never went to school, but she really knew how to teach life lessons. I didn’t understand them then, but the older I get the more her stories have come back to me with a renewed understanding.

One of her favorites was ‘Twist and Turn,’ which in her broken English I always thought referred to “Twist and Shout.” For many years it quietly resided in the back of my head -- until recently.The fact is that President Barack Hussein Obama brings it to mind.

Here goes -

An old woman lived in a little village. She never worked, never toiled, preferring to put up her nose at anything remotely distasteful or scandalous.Although she smiled to everyone and claimed to be a friend, whenever there was a whiff of hard times or scandal she would “tsk tsk” and turn her back. Her mother-in-law, on the other hand, was a hardworking woman who never let much of anything stop her from helping friends and family. In fact she was usually the first to come to the aid of anyone involved in anything, scandalous or not.

She obviously did not like the daughter-in-law who was, as my grandmother was fond of saying, “delicata.”

Anyway, the time came when the husband of the delicate daughter-in-law died and left her alone, fending for herself. The husband was not a showy man, but did wear a diamond pinky ring, a gift from his father.Although the wife liked it, he would never give it to her because of its sentimental value. Years passed, the old man worked hard and eventually died in the field where he toiled. As it was some time before he was discovered, his hands had curled in an awkward position, preventing access to the ring. When they brought him home to be prepared for burial, the delicate wife instructed the men to bring him into the barn where hired undertakers would prepare him.

As she sat with him alone, to grieve, she said, she wondered how she would remove the ring. After much prodding, twisting and turning she sat atop him, not bothered by his dead condition and pulled with all her might until it came off.

She hid the ring in her bodice, walked out and feigned tears for the villagers to see. The mother-in-law who was a smart cookie had witnessed the twisting and turning and saw her opportunity.

As the delicate wife cried and wailed to all who would listen,the mother in law said with a sneer, “The poor thing, she is so delicate -- look how she’s twisting and turning now.”

When ACORN’s scandal became known, and the president was asked about federal funding, he was quoted as saying, “You know, if -- frankly, it’s not really something I’ve followed closely.I didn’t even know that ACORN was getting a whole lot of federal money.”

But last November, the then Senator was happily reminding usof his history with ACORN, saying,“I come out of a grassroots organizing background. That’s what I did for three and half years before I went to law school. That’s the reason I moved to Chicago was to organize. So this is something that I know personally, the work you do, the importance of it. I’ve been fighting alongside ACORN on issues you care about my entire career. Even before I was an elected official, when I ran the Project Vote voter registration drive in Illinois, ACORN was smack dab in the middle of it, and we appreciate your work.”

He’s a hands-on kind of guy, so how come, “it’s not really something I’ve followed closely,” now?

Not for nuthin’, but it must be all that twisting and turning that’s made him forget. JDelBuono@cnglocal.com.

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