We should all celebrate today with Don Edwards, the gifted, passionate liberal beacon in Congress for three-plus decades, who is celebrating his 100th birthday at his home in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California, surrounded by family and friends. He'll be fielding phone calls from all over the country and enjoying cake with several generations of children and grand and great-grandchildren. If he looks out the french doors at the end of his living room, he'll see the blue Pacific rolling onto Carmel Beach.
His has been a remarkable life of accomplishment, commitment, adventure, romance, travel, friendship and love. Born on January 6, 1915 to a solidly Republican family in San Jose, California, he became one of the leading Democrats in Congress and American life. At various times, he was a champion golfer, Naval officer, FBI agent, successful businessman, distinguished member of Congress for 34 years, husband, father, mentor and friend. He was a much-married man, but the great love of his life, Edie Wilkie, preceded him in death, despite being 30 years his junior. They were great together.
Don appreciated the irony in life. When, fresh out of Stanford, he won the California Amateur golf title, he went to his father and told him he wanted to turn pro and play golf for a living. His father said: "Don't be ridiculous, there will never be any money in golf. Go to law school."
And Don did.
That, and more.
Happy Birthday, Don.
Terence Smith is a former correspondent for PBS, CBS News and The New York Times. His website is terencefsmith.com