ALL ABOARD: John Cameron Swayze, camels and other childhood fixations

The other day I was thinking about breathing and the importance of it.

In fact, the more I thought about breathing, the more I appreciated the concept and the performance thereof, not to mention the opportunity.

What got me to thinking about breathing was not only my own pattern, but that of the synchronized swimmers who boggled all lungs during the recent Olympics.

It’s one thing to tread water.

It’s another to walk on it.

But to breath it, well, I always thought breathing water was the exclusive pleasure of DC Comics Aquaman and Aqualad.

Remember Jethro Tull’s classic song and album “Aqualung”?

Aqualung would be a great name for a synchronized swim team.

Speaking of great names, how about this for a book title?

“Thirty Years of Sausage, Fifty Years of Ham — Jimmy Dean’s Own Story.”

I picked this beauty up in the large- print section of the Freeland Library, one of our many Sno-Isle Regional Library pleasure palaces.

Who cares about the parking hassles?

It’s a great way to slow down an avid reader.

I also picked up the large-print library copy of David Brinkley’s memoir entitled (better take a breath) “11 Presidents, 4 Wars, 22 Political Conventions, 1 Moon Landing, 3 Assassinations, 2000 Weeks of News and Other Stuff on Television and 18 years of Growing Up in North Carolina.”

I always liked David Brinkley better than Chet Huntley.

For me, a well-traveled fourth-grader, Brinkley was less wrinkled than Huntley.

Plus, although Brinkley sat on the right of Huntley, he seemed more liberal.

We weren’t allowed to watch Walter Cronkite.

That would get me in trouble almost as much as subscribing to William Buckley’s National Review in sixth grade.

I won’t be glued to the TV this week like I was when Mom and I watched Huntley-Brinkley caption the conventions crowning Kennedy and Nixon in 1960.

I won’t be glued to our black-and-white 10-inch RCA this week like Mom and I were in 1952 when John Cameron Swayze in New York would go live to David Brinkley in Washington on the nightly Camel News Caravan.

Hardly fiber optics and satellite dishes when you are smoking the news by camel, eh?

I wish we still had news by camel.

I don’t want to know who is what and where with only 1 percent of the vote counted.

I don’t care to know what votes were already counted in Florida while we wait to vote at home.

I liked the slowness of black-and-white politics.

I liked the one TV camera so far away that every kid’s TV had a small picture.

I liked waiting up half the night with Mom wondering if Mamie Eisenhower would have another neat hat to wear talking to Today’s Dave Garroway the next morning or to Chet and Dave that night.

Oh my.

I’m sounding like those guys wearing suspenders, sitting on the park benches of my youth.

Good night, Freeman.

Good night, Jim.