Case in Point


This blog site will feature essays, columns and musings that deal with the intersection of Christianity and journalism and the American Songbook.

Straight Arrow Society Banquet (speech: Kittitas County Straight Arrow Society)

(Note: The Straight Arrow Society was a group of community leaders in Ellensburg, Washington who selected a member of the broader community for recognition at an annual banquet and dance. It was an honor to be chosen and it represented something akin to the person of the year award for Kittitas County.There was a roast of the chosen member where several members of the SAS committee and a family representative gave remarks. My father was chosen to receive the SAS award in l981 and these are my remarks. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on one’s point of view) a page is missing from the original document.)

Straight Arrow Pioneer Society Remarks
Honoring Robert Case, Sr.
April 4, 1981


When I was asked to present a family view of my father, I was told to keep it short because there was a lot of garbage about the old man that a lot of people had been waiting a long time to tell. Therefore, I too, only have about 3 minutes so I’ll get right to my points.

I’ve picked out a couple of traits of my father that I remember when I still under his roof. I’m sure it seems to him and his pocket book that I’ve never left his roof.

I. Drunkenness

In any case, one of the characteristics I remember well is that while Dad drank, he never got drunk in front of us kids — well, there was that one time- at Rodeo when I was in junior high. We were all going to the fair and carnival together, and we waited for Dad to come home from work, and we waited. And we waited . . . and we waited. Seems to be the story of our lives. But sure enough, he came home. However, he had been out with some fertilizer friends and he was pleasantly pickled when he showed up on the door steps. And that’s all the farther Father got because Mother had no intention of letting a drunk in her house. So there he sat on the back porch steps in the dark. Meanwhile, his little cherub daughter and saintly son were being denied all the fun of the annual carnival.  To make amends for his libations indiscretion old drunk Dad ponied over 5 bucks a piece to us kids for a grand time on the Midway. Off Deb and I merrily went to enjoy our new wealth and all the time chattering to each other how nice it was to have Dad and “Old Grand Dad” together once in a while. We never knew the outcome of that little drunk, but we did see Dad sleeping alone on the living room couch when we got home later that evening.


Another characteristic that I want to remember to you tonight is Dad’s liberal, accommodating attitude towards us kids when we disagreed with him. My particular illustration comes from the area of politics, but it could be for any other area of disagreement. as well.

The incident which sticks in my mind occurred when I was a freshman at Central. This was in 1961 and the student body invited the old Communist, Gus Hall, to speak on campus. However, the board of trustees vetoed Hall’s coming and so a mini-storm of protest began to brew. I was living at home at the time, but I was a townie in Elwood Manor, and the “Men of Elwood” planned to picket in support of free speech and Gus Hall’s right to speak on a public campus. I went home and informed Dad of our intentions and his response was that, that was a noble and constitutional thing to do. His only hope was that when he kicked me out of the house and cut off my tuition payments that I would still find time to sandwich in a class or two at Central. Needless to say, it was shortly thereafter that I joined the Young Republicans.


Thirdly, while my father’s sense of humor and wit is well known, he was also a man of personal modesty and private decorum while we kids were growing up. But my how things have changed. Take, for example, an incident which occurred a few years ago during one of the year’s most….

(Third page missing)

….ceremony supposedly takes place in the middle of the night with the male cult member stark naked darting in and out behind chairs and sofas and the tree itself. All of this takes place while the female cult member is laughing, clapping her hands and avidly taking pictures of her partner’s naked celebration dance.

After this apparent bacchanalian rite of my father, a well known physician in their neighborhood (who happens to be a Presbyterian) decided that after this he and his wife would spend future Christmases at their vacation home on the Puget Sound.


To end on one more characteristic of my father, I want to say that in my opinion a great measure of his ability and success to function publically and professionally is due to the fact that privately he is encouraged and supported by his wife, our mother. It reminds me of some advice another small town businessman, Henry Ford, once gave. At his lavish 50th wedding anniversary party, Ford was asked by a reporter, “How do you account for your successful marriage?” The tycoon replied, “By sticking to one model.” And so has my Dad.


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