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Laughlines: SQuire Rushnell
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Andy Andrews and fellow Homecoming Magazine columnist SQuire Rushnell grab a few minutes on the phone to talk about the GODwinks that have brought him to where he is today —with a little American history lesson on the side!

ANDY ANDREWS: SQuire! Did I catch you with a few minutes to talk?

SQUIRE RUSHNELL: Absolutely, Andy! It is a beautiful day here and I’m excited to have the chance to catch up with you.

ANDY: Well … I’m fine. Now that you’re all caught up, exactly where are you? Are you at home?

SQUIRE: (Laughing) Yes. I am home. My wife Louise and I are living a storybook life. We’ve narrowed the title of that storybook down to Madly in Love on Martha’s Vineyard or Happy as Two Pigs in Mud.

ANDY: Ha! I vote for the first one. It’s more likely to be made into a movie! Now … here is your first question: What would we be surprised to find on your bookshelf?

SQUIRE: You know, you might be surprised to find as many books as I have on American history. I am particularly interested in Franklin, Adams and Jefferson. And it was Thomas Jefferson and John Adams who gave me the very first Godwink.

ANDY: Seriously? Tell me.

SQUIRE: As you might know, John Adams was a mentor of sorts to Thomas Jefferson, and they were especially close during the time Jefferson was writing the Declaration of Independence. Many years later, after both men had served as presidents of the United States, they died on the same day, five hours apart. First Jefferson, then Adams. The year was 1826. Both men died to the sound of exploding fireworks … because everyone was celebrating what those two men had accomplished years before. It was the 4th of July.

ANDY: Wow! So that was the first of your Godwinks?

SQUIRE: Yes. I was working at ABC— mainly because I thought I couldn’t be a speaker. I loved speakers like Norman Vincent Peale. On weekends, I left New York City and went to Pawling, N.Y., where Peale lived. I had a small place there and even attended Peale’s church.

ANDY: Did you see him?

SQUIRE: Oh yes, he was getting on in years at that time, but, amazingly, I was honored with an offer to deliver a Sunday sermon there. They gave me six months’ advance notice.

ANDY: What do you remember about that experience?

SQUIRE: Well, it was the first Sunday service after Dr. Peale passed away. Here I was — the producer of “Good Morning America” and “Schoolhouse Rock!”—but I was in awe of the moment. My sermon title was “Coincidence … Is It Evidence of a Grand Plan?” And, in truth, I wasn’t certain about the answer. I told the story of Adams and Jefferson and, for weeks after, folks who had been there deluged me with stories that couldn’t be ignored.

ANDY: Obviously, that was the time when the Godwinks reality was firmed up in your mind.

SQUIRE: Yes, it was. Now, Louise and I see these Godwinks consistently. I share the stories in my books, as I speak, and as a regular feature on “The Today Show.”

ANDY: What is your favorite thing you do?

SQUIRE: Probably rising early to write. I get up at 4:30, and here in our place on Martha’s Vineyard, there are two rooms with fireplaces where I work. It’s a beautiful and productive way to start the day. But my VERY favorite time is 7:00 a.m., when I bring a bagel and coffee to Louise and we pray together. As she says, “We have bagels and coffee with our Father in Heaven.”

ANDY: That’s an awesome picture! If you could have a quick conversation with your 18-year-old self, what would you say?

SQUIRE: I would encourage that obnoxious optimist to stay the course. There were those who said that no one could be as happy as I acted, and, for a time, it created a bit of doubt in me. I had to decide if I wanted to be known as a nice guy living in a world of sharks. I decided “yes” and ultimately that decision was a major factor in the success I’ve had and the life I continue to live.

ANDY: You are the best, SQuire. Thanks for your time and give our love to Louise!

SQUIRE: You bet. See you soon!