The night before Herenton announced that he would be stepping down as mayor I was having dinner at Houston's Restaurant. While enjoying my meal (the salmon is out of this world) I looked up and there was the mayor taking a seat at the bar. He had come alone but was quickly surrounded by well wishers and others just wanting to talk to THE MAYOR. He was chipper and animated. You could tell he was in his element.
One by one the patrons left until the Mayor was by himself. His cheerful demeanor now somber. His hands only a moment ago that were waving in the air and giving warm embraces were now nursing the same single glass of Chardonnay he had ordered earlier. The person I saw sitting there was not THE MAYOR, or Dr. Herenton or even King Willie. The person sitting there was just that, a person. The same person each of us pass by a thousand times each day without even a glance. A person with the same dreams, hopes, and disappointments that we all selfishly guard deep within us. We heave much on the shoulders of our elected officials. We demand from them far more than we could give ourselves and when they fall short, angrily chastise them for being less than perfect.
Herenton is an example of the quintessential boxer. Everybody keeps trying to count him out even though he keeps coming out for one more round. Be he the one you put your money on or not, you have to give him credit for climbing back in the ring round after round.
The person I saw sitting at that bar seemed tired and drained. Over the years Herenton has taken on all comers, but now he may find himself fighting the one opponent none of us can defeat, and that's Father Time.