"I went to Jerusalem to become acquainted (Gk. istoria) with Cephas" - Paul's words from Galatians 1:18.

Richard Nixon and Remembering People's Names

Yesterday I had the privilege of having breakfast with 83-year-old Dr. Jack Dancer and his son Brian Dancer. Brian is a new member of Emmanuel Enid, the church that I pastor, and his father was in town for a visit. Brian knew I'd be interested in some of the stories his dad tells, so they invited me to breakfast.

Dr. Dancer is a surgeon and a fascinating man. He is a graduate of George Washington University's medical school, a former professor of surgery at OU Medical School, a highly successful Air Force surgeon who was commissioned to be the surgeon on the Search and Rescue Mission of the only United States atomic submarine to ever sink (the USS Scorpion), and a long-time successful surgeon in Shattuck, Tulsa, and Stillwater. (Edit: Two commenters pointed out that the USS Thrasher also sunk in 1963, making TWO nuclear submarines that have sunk, not one).  Dr. Dancer retired about 10 years ago at the age of 73, but he still serves on many prestigious national medical boards.

Dr. Dancer told me that while he was in medical school at George Washington University (1957-1961), he worked at night (after classes) as the elevator man for the United State Senate elevator in the old Senate building. He regaled me with stories about Lyndon B. Johnson, John F. Kennedy,  and a host of other U.S. Senators with whom he rode privately on the elevator over the course of four years. His stories and anecdotes of the various senators, including LBJ and JFK before they became President of the United States of the United States were fascinating.

But there was one story that stood out to me.

When Richard Nixon was a Senator from California (before he became President), he used his elevator key and Jack Dancer took manual control of the elevator and went to Senator Nixon's floor. When the elevator opened, Richard Nixon looked at Jack and said, "You're new here, aren't you?"

"Yes sir," Jack replied.

"What's your name?"

"Jack Dancer."

"Whose patronage are you under?" asked Nixon.

It was customary for elevator worker and security guard jobs in the Senate building to be given to students in the Washington D.C. by various U.S. Senators in a patronage program.

"Senator Barry Goldwater," responded Jack.

Jack had attended Arizona University where he obtained his Bachelor's Degree in chemistry and physics before going to medical school. It was while in college at Arizona that Jack met Senator Goldwater.

"Are you still in school, Jack?"

"Yes, sir. I just started medical school at George Washington University."

Are you married?" the future President asked.

"Yes sir, I'm married to Joy Sue."

"Any children?"

"Yes, we have two kids, Sheila and Brian."

"Well, I'm glad to have you on the Senate elevator. Nice to meet you!" With that, Richard Nixon stepped off the elevator in the basement and took the underground trolley to the Capital to cast a late night vote.

Dr. Dancer continued telling me the story.

"I didn't see Senator Nixon again until over two weeks later when once again Nixon used his private elevator key to call me to his floor. When the elevator arrived and the door opened, Senator Nixon got in and I closed the door."

"Hello Jack," said the Senator, "How's medical school?"

"Fine, Senator. I am enjoying it."

"How's your wife Joy Sue?"

"She's doing well, thank you."

"Well, I know it must be a difficult transition for her, especially watching over the two little ones. Tell me, Jack, how are Sheila and Brian doing?"

Jack Dancer was stunned.

He was a lowly elevator boy, and here a powerful Senator from California not only remembered his name, he remembered the name of his wife and two small kids.

The conversation continued until the elevator reached the basement and Senator Nixon stepped off and bid Jack goodbye.

"That conversation occurred 60 years ago and it has never been forgotten by me," Dr. Dancer, said, "but what happened the next time I saw Senator Nixon is what taught me the importance of knowing peoples' names."

A few weeks later Jack was alone in the elevator again with Senator Nixon, and the future President once again inquired about each of Jack's family members by name.

Jack said, "Senator Nixon, I must ask you a question. How can you remember names like you do?"

Nixon paused, looked Jack in the eye and said, "Jack, I'm a politician. I learned a long time ago that names are important."

"Yes, Mr. Nixon, but I ride with other Senators, and they don't even remember my name. Why are you different."

Nixon then reminded Jack of the Bible story where Jacob wrestled with the angel of the Lord. "What is your name? Jacob cried, What is your name?"

Nixon said, "Jack, Jacob knew what every politician ought to know. When you know a person's name you control that person."

"That lesson," Dr. Dancer told me, "is a lesson on leadership I've practiced since."

As I've since reflected on Dr. Dancer's anecdote, I can't help but reflect on Jesus' words:

"I am the good Shepherd, and I know my sheep" (John 10:14).

Pastors aren't trying to control people, but we are wanting to lead people.

I can't lead anyone unless I know their names.

It's a challenge I give over and over to myself and the other pastors at our 3,500 member church. 

There are many reasons, psychologists say, why we forget names. 

But pastors should work harder than anyone to remember names. 

Nixon's motives for remembering names may not have been the same as ours, but if Nixon can remember everyone's names, so can we.

26 comments:

Anonymous said...

The USS Thresher also sank.

RB Kuter said...

Thanks for a great reminder, Wade. It takes effort to remember names. I have to focus on the person and then repeat their name over and over in my mind immediately and then, if talking to them, say their name in conversation repeatedly. It all helps, but it's worth it, as you said, if you are successful. It's really difficult when trying to remember the names of people from different countries, like Asian countries. We're involved with Asian Indian families in ministry and I ask their names and then have to ask them to repeat it and often have to ask them to spell it for me. But I know how much it means to me to encounter someone and they say my name in their greeting instead of doing like I so often do when I can't remember their names and say, "Hey! How are you!" Must keep trying!

Wade Burleson said...

Anonymous,

Indeed. I’ll make a correction later. Appreciate it.

Rex Ray said...

Wade,

Today’s my birthday, so bear with me in being negative about your post. :)

I’ve nicked-name Judy and me: she’s the ‘finder’ and I’m the ‘forgetter’.

To remember names is very very important, but not all have the ability to do so.
Many years ago I asked my wife what was the name of my best friend. Two years ago he was the ‘best man’ when Judy and I were married.

I believe head injuries effect memory. This is what I recall:
Age 10: unconscious...skull fracture.
Age 12: fell from horse...concussion.
Age 21: motorcycle wreck...unconscious 4 hours.
Age 45: skiing accident... “24-hour amnesia”.
Age 72: fell from tree...broke pelvis, 5 ribs, ruptured spleen.
Age 85: fractured back...unconscious several minutes.

It seems 'Senior moments' come around too often.

Unknown said...

USS Scorpion is one of TWO nuclear submarines the U.S. Navy has lost, the other being USS Thresher, April 10, 1963.

Wade Burleson said...

Rex Ray,

As always, you are hilarious.

Unknown - I stand corrected! Thank you.

Rex Ray said...

Wade,

The only fall that was funny is when I fell 23 feet because I wasn’t hurt and went back to work. I was welding a pole barn for my Dad to store hay.

It was 44 by 88 with 23 feet walls. The scaffolding was a long ladder with boards on top. To move it, I stood on the edge and pulled a board between my legs until it tilted and hit me in the seat of the pants.

I hit on my back and thought I was dead because I felt no pain. My two sons, 10 and 12, heard me scream but didn’t see me fall.

They ran to me and the oldest said, “Ah, he’s faking it.”

Christiane said...

Rex Ray, thanks for the laughs. They were needed.

When Richard Nixon 'resigned' in disgrace, my husband said something that made me stop and think . . . my husband said, 'he (Nixon) was not one of our lesser men'. And, at the time, I thought it was a strange thing to say, especially coming from my husband who has no great love for the scheming and game-playing that goes on in politics.

I think there may have been a time BEFORE Richard Nixon got caught up in distrusting people and in hiring 'like-minded' associates whose moral sense of 'loyalty' was to a man and not to the principles on which our nation was founded.

That Nixon was 'wounded', I don't doubt. That he chose wrong especially towards the end of his time in politics is pretty much a 'given'. But there must have been a time 'before' . . . . when he still cared about serving.

I'm for giving a person the benefit of the doubt until they no longer allow anyone that option. I read that Nixon met with his cronies and was happy that the new medical insurance companies would make a PROFIT by denying claims as much as possible and by cutting services to people that doctors had recommended that people have for their health.
When I heard that, I knew he was not a man I wanted in office to lead the country.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9QkgUkM0o6Q

'The less medical care they approve, the more profit they make'

Well, we still have the effects of this 'system' for private enterprise 'robber barons' to rip off our sick citizens:
recently I was discharged from hospital and assigned by doctors to have oxygen therapy at home . . . . but they told me it was not included in my insurances and I would have to pay for the service out of pocket . . . and I SAID 'NO'

The hospital nurses were shocked, but I told them I had three (THREE) MEDICAL INSURANCES and I had to maintain them and I could NOT understand that they wouldn't cover oxygen after treatment for bilateral pneumonia with complications.

One of the nurses went to work as my advocate for the insurance companies and said 'they approved it', so I have oxygen at home, no charge extra. Her advocacy made a difference.
I just wondered how many people must say 'no' and have no one to advocate for them????

Profits are good, until they violate the rights of people to live . . . then I back off 'private enterprise' and I think about what matters most. So I could never support a politician who was comfortable with people suffering so that insurance companies could have larger profits . . . . there ARE limits to 'being conservative' and one of them is that people are more important than profits.

What changed Nixon from a person that my husband believes was at one time not one of our lesser men? What made him the scoundrel who fostered abusive health maintenance corps that desired higher profits at all costs?????

And now, millions have no health care at all. And what will happen to them?"
This is a rich land. But people suffer here. I want to know 'why' this is considered 'okay'. I dont get it.

Rex Ray said...

Wade,

The only link in my comment states: “Nixon never clearly said who was responsible for Kennedy’s death. But he did say, "Both Johnson and I wanted to be president, but the only difference was I wouldn’t kill for it.”

You related that Jack Dancer was 83 years old and told stories of LBJ and JFK. That flung a craven on me to write what I sent an email to Bill O’Reilly when he was advertising his book how Oswald killed JFK.

These 14 facts in James Tague book with page numbers as (#) and my comments in [ ] will prove Oswald did not kill JFK.

1. Photograph of Texas Department of Public Safety showed two spent rounds and one live round in the ‘sniper’s nest’. (#279) [“live” means the rifle firing pin had not made a dent in the round; only the lead and powder had been removed.]

2. Carolyn Arnold saw Oswald eating in the lunchroom on the second floor at 12:15 which was 15 minutes before JFK was killed at 12:30 (#47).

3. [No one knew the time JFK would pass the School Book Depository.] Four employees saw Oswald reading a newspaper on the first floor at 11:50. (#47)

4. Oswald asked James Jarman JR. why people were gathering outside. Jarman answered, and Oswald said, “Oh, I see.” (#46)

5. Marrion Baker, policeman, thought the shooter was on the roof but had to take the stairs because the two elevators were at the 5th floor and the electricity was off for 3 minutes (which let assassins hide their guns and escape down the elevator.) Baker pulled a gun on Oswald in the lunchroom on the 2th floor 75 seconds after the first shot was fired. Oswald appeared calm. Afterwards, Oswald bought a soda from a soft-drink-machine. Baker continued up the stairs to the 5th floor and saw one elevator had gone down. He took the other elevator to the 7th floor. (#44) (#373)

6. Vickie Adams and Sandra Styles were watching on the 4th floor as shots were fired. They immediately went down the stairs without seeing anyone. (#214)

7. If Oswald had shot Kennedy from the 6th floor, he’d had to hide his rifle on the 5th floor, and be in the lunchroom in 75 seconds without being out of breath. Also, since the women had a head start of two floors, he would have the impossible task of running past them without being seen. (#217)

8. After drinking the soda, Oswald casually walked out of the front door and caught a bus. After the bus got stalled in traffic, he got a taxi but not before waiting for the bus driver to give him a transfer that was stamped 12:40 (#95) [Would a killer on the run wait for a transfer?]

Rex Ray said...


9. Attorney General of Texas, Waggoner Carr, said Oswald was hired by the FBI in September 1962 as an informant with a salary of $200 a month. (#179)
10. Oswald was put at the TSBD by the FBI (October 15, 1963…five weeks before the assassination. (#205)

11. E. Howard Hunt was a former CIA agent who served 33 months in prison for Watergate. Oswald believed he was in charge and wrote a letter two weeks before the assassination: “Dear Mr. Hunt, I would like information concluding my position. I am asking only for information. I am suggesting that we discuss the matter fully before any steps are taken by me or anyone else. Thank You, Lee Harvey Oswald.”

http://johnsonbushandnixonkilljohnfkennedy.blogspot.com/

[Oswald should have known Paul Newman’s statement: “If you're playing poker and look around the table and can't tell who the sucker is, it's you.”]

12. “It is evident to me [Tague] that the taxi ride to Oak Cliff [to his apartment] gave Oswald a moment to think, and he panicked knowing he was a patsy. (#97) [TV quoted him saying: “I’m a patsy.”]

13. Oswald rushed in and out of his room so fast, his landlady, Earlene Roberts said, “My, you’re sure in a hurry.” (#95) [He probably got his pistol that he was accused of shooting a policeman, but the bullets did not match.]

14. “A theater cashier called police and reported a suspicious wild-looking man had entered the Texas Theater.” (#96) [In the lunchroom, Oswald faced a policeman’s gun and stayed clam because he hadn’t done anything wrong, but now fear of being a ‘patsy’ had him looking for a place to hide.]

Wade Burleson said...

Rex,

12 interesting - and seemingly irrefutable - facts.

Christiane said...

I know that the whole field of conspiracy theories is entertaining and thought-provoking as well as politically useful at times.

But a word of caution:
Russia is an enemy of the United States, without doubt. And they are an enemy of Western civilization and Western thought on democracy especially. Part of the current program going on out of Russia is to 'pretend' to be American bloggers and to 'stir the pot' by tempting both 'sides' of our divided nation to have animus towards one another. It is to this end, that they have employed much activity on line, especially creating conspiracy theories that are designed to move people towards certain political stances favored by the Russian government.

The point?
Beware of conspiracy theories that may be coming from Russian bots.
Please know that a lot of divisive tweets and bloggers' comments are coming out of Russia but have been doctored to look like they are not from Russia.

In short, 'enjoy' the conspiracy theories as entertainment, but use your discernment about the sources and also about the possible agendas those sources are operating under.

We live in interesting times. And may the Lord have mercy on us all.

Rex Ray said...

Wade,

https://www.thedailybeast.com/roger-stones-new-book-solves-jfk-assassination-johnson-did-it

This is Roger Stone’s new book, “The Man Who Killed Kennedy; The Case Against LBJ.”

“The best part of Stone’s book may be a series of interviews he conducted with his former boss, Nixon, toward the end of the former president’s life. Nixon said, “Both Johnson and I wanted to be president, but the only difference was I wouldn’t kill for it.”

Rex Ray said...

Wade,

https://www.thedailybeast.com/roger-stones-new-book-solves-jfk-assassination-johnson-did-it

This is Roger Stone’s new book, “The Man Who Killed Kennedy; The Case Against LBJ.”

“The best part of Stone’s book may be a series of interviews he conducted with his former boss, Nixon, toward the end of the former president’s life. Nixon said, “Both Johnson and I wanted to be president, but the only difference was I wouldn’t kill for it.”

Rex Ray said...

Christiane, Hello friend.

I know there’s lots of rumors in the world, but the book, “LBJ and the Kennedy Killing”, by James Tague, was written 50 years after the death of JFK by a friend of mine. Because he was wounded by a stray bullet when JHK was killed the Warren Commission had to ‘invent’ the magic bullet.

He became popular and was on TV. It’s strange he died three months after his book was published.

Because JFK was hit by three bullets on Friday, November 22, there HAD TO BE THREE SHELL CASTINGS at the ‘sniper’s window’ (east window), but on Friday photographs showed only two. Monday’s photographs showed three shell castings but one had the lead and power removed and had NOT been fired. #279

TSome of the book was about Oswald being innocent, but most of it proved LBJ was the ‘mastermind’ who planned to be President. LBJ’s ‘hit man’, Mac Wallace, bragged he killed 17 men for LBJ. #409 In 1998, the unknown fingerprints in the ‘sniper’s nest’ were identified as his. #406

“In October 1951, Mac Wallace first hit for LBJ resulted in his only trial. Senator LBJ stayed in a hotel nearby with a ‘runner’ keeping him posted. The jury found him guilty of premeditated murder, but the judge, Charles O. Betts, overruled the jury and pronounced a sentence of five years imprisonment, suspended, and he walked out a free man.” #408

Rex Ray said...

In November 1961 (two years before JFK was killed) at the funeral of Sam Rayburn, in Bonham, Texas, Mac Wallace met Lawrence Loy Factor, an Indian with the reputation of being an expert marksman.

A World War II vet that had a plate in his head, Factor received $76 a month from the VA. Mac Wallace gave him $20 to get ice cream for his kids, got his address, and told him he might have a job for him in the future.

About a year later, Mac Wallace tested Factor’s shooting ability, gave him $2,000, and promised $8,000 more when the job was done but didn’t tell him what the job was. Factor said when he found out what the job was, he was in too deep to pull out. He was stationed at the ‘west window’, and described their escape. #416 #417

The night before JFK was killed, a dinner party was held in Dallas on the pretext of honoring FBI chief, J. Edgar Hoover. After the party, there was a secret meeting of 25 people to know what was going to happen the next day.

LBJ’s ‘right hand man’ Cliff Carter, Executive Director Democratic National Committee ran the meeting. Hoover said, “Any information that gets out will have to come through me, and I’ll have it wired to from the Police Force to the CIA.”

Some that were present:
Clyde Tolson, Hoover’s lover and second in command of the FBI.
Clint Murchison Sr. and H.L. Hunt, billionaire oil men.
John Currington, an HL. Hunt advisor.
Mobster Carlos Marcello and Joe Civello the Dallas Mafia.
Jack Ruby; killed Oswald.
Vice President LBJ.
Mac Wallace, assassin.

After the meeting, LBJ told his mistress of 21 years, Madeleine Brown, “After tomorrow those xxx-xxx Kennedy’s will never embarrass me again.” #354 #355

Rex Ray said...

Christiane,

I hope you don’t mind my ‘using you’ to write truth about LBJ.

In the 1950’s so much cotton was grown the selling price was not worth growing. Farmers were thrilled to lease their land to Billie Sol Estes.

Before it became public, Senator LBJ had told his friend Estes the government was going to pay farmers NOT to grow cotton. Estes was worth $400 million in 1962. He had funneled millions back to Johnson.

In 1961 U.S. Department of Agriculture field agent, Henry Marshall discovered Estes’s dealings and the link back to Vice President LBJ.

He reported his findings to his superiors, but LBJ found out about it. Mac Wallace shot him five times in his side.

LBJ used his influence to have authorities ruled the death a suicide, but Marshall’s wife finally got it changed to murder. #395 #396

Christiane said...

Hello Rex Ray,

I never mind anything you write. I may disagree, sure. I may question your sources on the conspiracy stuff. But I would never want to see anyone shut you down or tell you not to share what is on your mind. Let us celebrate the freedom of speech (within reason) for as long as we can.

Christiane said...

Today is a good day to remember the names of the dead from 'The Sandy Hook Generation', that their faces and names not be forgotten in our land. So many . . .

God have mercy

Rex Ray said...

Christiane,

I like your reply. Yes, Sandy Creek Massacre is tragic. I almost agree with Bob Cleveland or was it Aussie John that said? “It’s a great time to be old.”

Thinking of Aussie, it’s been a month since he’s made a comment. I hope it’s not like someone said, “Old soldiers never die; they just fade away.”

The author I keep quoting, Tague, was working for billionaire Frank Late as general manager of a Chevrolet dealership in Dallas when JFK was killed.

Frank Late was a self-made man. At the age of 20, he borrowed $5,000 and bought a Chevrolet dealership in Oklahoma. He owned several corporations that employed over 10,000 employees, and was one of the richest men in America. Everyone called him Mr. Late.

He had a 38,000 acre ranch that had a lodge near LBJ’s lake home. Johnson visited the lodge often. On one visit, President Johnson didn’t remove his $500 Stetson western hat. Everyone was drinking a lot.

Mr. Late told him he shouldn’t wear his hat in the house and put the hat on a table. In a few minutes, Johnson put it back on.

Mr. Late yanked it off with a warning, “xxxx it Lyndon, you do not wear your hat inside the house.” There was a tense chuckle and the Secret Service Agents were at attention.

Johnson put his hat back on and Mr. Late yanked it off for the third time. He threw it on the floor and stomped on it until it was flat and said, “Let’s see you wear the xxxx hat in the house now Lyndon!”

Even Johnson had to laugh at Mr. Late’s antics. #294 #295

I wrote this to show LBJ was accustom to doing whatever he wanted to do; even to wearing a hat.

Rex Ray said...

Christiane,

Once I had twelve books of Tague’s. I gave eleven away including one to Wade. I reduced his book to eight pages and printed many copies which I gave to strangers; usually in waiting rooms of many doctors including Mayo Clinic for a venous ulcer ankle problem.

It was sort of a joke if I couldn’t walk when Judy and I were to marry, she was going to carry me piggyback and we’d call it ‘Sadie Hawkins Day’.

At one waiting room, a woman said, “My father went to grade school with LBJ, and the kids knew he might steal your lunch.”

The end for LBJ was not good. He probably would have been elected for another four year term as President, but he chose not to run. I was listening to the radio when he said, “…if elected, I will not serve…”

“One Secret Service agent was quoted as saying: “If LBJ wasn’t president, he’d be in a mental hospital.” #319

“He lived four more years, “completely ‘nuts’ at the age of 64.” #375

Rex Ray said...
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Rex Ray said...

Wade,

On the subject of Richard Nixon, I believe America would have forgiven him like they did JFK when he admitted he made a mistake. But a lot of people will remember him as “I’m not a crook!”

Tague’s book, page 355, list 25 people that attended a secret meeting in Dallas the night before JFK was killed. You may have noticed that I left off ex-Vice President Richard Nixon.

The list was provided by Madeleine Brown, LBJ’s mistress of many years who had a son by LBJ. After the meeting LBJ squeezed her hand so hard it hurt and said, “After tomorrow those xxx xxx Kennedys will never embarrass me again!” page 356

Robert still had proof that President Johnson had $100,000 kickback from a Fort Worth Aircraft firm, and schemes that paid Johnson millions with Billy Sol Estes and Bobby Baker. pages 399-400.

WHO did Robert’s death benefit the most? I believe it was the same person that benefited most by his brother’s death.

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