And from the readers…

Here’s an e-mail from Andy Nickle, a retired South Bend attorney who is a graduate of Adams High School, Hillsdale College and Notre Dame’s Law School. He also has recently published a book,”Men, Moments & Myths,” about his Notre Dame football memorabilia collection.

A few days ago, I read Bill Moor’s column on the change in greeting or introduction from the handshake to the fist pump. In Bill’s piece, he makes mention or reflects on the handshakes he had with some notable or well-known people.

That prompted me to think that putting together a list of interesting people with whom a handshake had been exchanged would be an interesting exercise. Three days ago, I started such a list for myself.  Recalling the encounters marked by a handshake has really been a fun thing to do.

  Since then I have found a new name or experience surfacing almost hourly and memories that have faded or that had long slipped into a non-recall phase resurfaced. I found myself going all the way back to 1960 when my father came home and picked me up and took me to the Whistle Stop restaurant on South Bend’s west side where Stan Musial had been seated at the table next to him for dinner.

 That encounter and the awkward handshake I offered Stan The Man is something I had not thought about for many years, but sure brings a smile to my face now.

  While many handshakes accompanied memorable moments, you might particularly enjoy a comical experience I had when, as a college kid, I was driving William F. Buckley from Detroit Metro to Hillsdale and had a flat tire.  The two of us, nicely dressed, standing on the side of a busy highway working to change the tire is still good for a chuckle.

  I mention these two experiences in support of my belief that putting together a handshake list is good for us old-timers as it prompts us to reflect on experiences long gone, but that helped mark different moments or stages in our lives. My list currently gets added to almost hourly. 

I am encouraging others to do the handshake list exercise and I have already gotten back some lists of others. One interestingly included Ike and Jesse Owens — two hands I sure would have enjoyed shaking

My handshake list follows:

Presidents: Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, 

Vice Presidents: Richard Cheney,  Dan Quayle

Governors: John Connally, Otis Bowen, Robert Orr, Joe Kernan

Senators:  Richard Lugar, Dan Coats, James Eastland, Strom Thurmond, Bob Dole, Birch Bayh

Congressmen:  Newt Gingrich, Robert Michael, David Stockman, John Brademas, John Hiler, Tim Roemer, Chris Chocola, Jackie Walorski, Mark Souder, Katherine Harris, Phil Crane, Jack Kemp

Political Figures: Barbara Bush, Marilyn Quayle, Pat Buchanan,  John Ehrlichman, Ron Zeigler, Bud Krogh. Pete Buttigieg, Steve Goldsmith, John Mutz, Tom Huston  

Sports:  Stan Musial, Bill Russell,  Bob Richards, Carlton Fisk, Andre Dawson, Rocket Ismail, Ara Parseghian, Tom Pagna, Bart Connor, Digger Phelps, Tom Landry, Muddy Waters, Chester Marcol, Mike McCoy, Larry Dinardo, Ron Peranowski

Arts/Entertainment:  Mark diSuvero, George Rickey, Philip Johnson, Shirley Temple Black, Chubby Checker,  Susan St. James, Kreskin, Bob Keeshan, Robert Indiana

Notre Dame:  Father Theodore Hesburgh, Father Edmund Joyce, Father John Jenkins, Father Edmund Malloy, Richard Rosenthal, Gene Corrigan

Others: William F. Buckley Jr., Caroline Kennedy, William Safire, Maria Shriver, Robert Pierpoint, Ralph Nader, Gloria Steinem, Dick Gregory, Floyd McKissick, Steve Forbes, Bill Kristol

P.S. While I have become a fist pumper in the last two years, I do not believe I will be putting together a fist pump list.  A fist pump just does not warrant the same significance.


Tuck Langland, Michiana’s well-known sculpturer, writes this about Bill Moor’s handshake article:

For some reason, somebody came up with the elbow touching greeting during Covid time. But think: We are told to cough or sneeze into our elbow, which then makes it the most germ-laden part of our body, and then they tell us to touch someone with that elbow. What? Insanity.

Why do we need to touch each other while wearing masks and staying 6 feet apart? And could anyone come up with a more dorky look than elbow touching? And a fist bump is touching, spreading the virus directly from one person to the other. 

I suggest this: Look the other person in the eye. Then the first two fingers of your right hand go up and just touch your right eyebrow. Stay a safe distance away, and for heaven’s sake don’t touch each other. It’s a sort of civilian salute, and it says to the other person, ‘’Hi, I see you and acknowledge you.’’ And it’s really simple and not so stupid looking.


Gene Bruce, a retired U.S. Army Colonel and South Bend resident who served as the executive dean of Ivy Tech’s Northcentral region, took issue with what Ken Bradford wrote in his recent “Take One For the Team” article on leadership and being a decent person.

Ken wrote:

“With our nation under attack by mysterious forces (during 9/11), we couldn’t find our commander-in-chief. He had hopped on an airplane and was flying willy-nilly over the nation. Others might die, but terrorists couldn’t kill him because they couldn’t find him…”

Gene replied: 

Ken implies that the President selfishly “hopped” on a plane to fly “willy-nilly” over the nation.  That’s not totally true!  There are procedures in place to protect the President at all times, especially in times of emergency.  9/11 was one of those times.  And, yes, the President was a prime target of the enemy at the time.  He also had all the tools necessary aboard the plane to perform his commander-in-chief duties.”