Every good wish and warm though I can muster goes to South Dakota Senator Tim Johnson, who stood before 1,000 folks yesterday at his “Thank you, South Dakota” rally welcoming him home. Thompson has endured a tremendous struggle since suffering a brain hemorrhage and subsequent brain surgery nine months ago, and he has a long road to hoe before full recovery. Yet I’ve little doubt and every hope he will recover soon.
Thompson entered the stage in a wheelchair pushed by his son and stood to address the crowd for some 15 minutes talking of his ordeal and progress. Ever a humorous and modest man, he slowly quipped, “Before I get too far along in my remarks, it must already be clear to you that my speech is not 100 percent. My doctors tell me that it will get there, and in fact, if you ask Barb, she will say that I am already talking too much. So let me ask one thing of you tonight. If you bear with me in this, I will promise you that when my speech is back to normal, I will not act like a typical politician and overuse the gift,” he said.
Johnson’s son, Brendan introduced his father before “the homecoming that he dreamed of” during his entire recovery efforts. “He has to learn to move again. He has to teach himself to talk,” said Brendan. He called it “a long, hard process,” and one his mother characterized “as not always pretty, but beautiful.”
Thompson was interrupted several times in his speech for standing ovations and, at the rally’s conclusion, he watched somberly as a four-tier birthday cake was wheeled before the crowd, who sang “Happy Birthday” to the Senator. Thompson’s actual 60th birthday arrived quickly after his hemorrhage, but I doubt many birthdays in his life have been as sweet as this one.
May every blessing continue to come your way, Senator Thompson and family.