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At the time I became head of the Advertising Council's Washington office in 1980, it reflected all the elements of the genteel poverty that befitted its non-profit status, to the point where my most immediate concern was to improve the appearance of the place. My inclinations in this direction were given added impetus when I received word one day that council director Bart Cummings was coming to Washington and paying a visit along the way.

Armed with a bottle of Olde English scratch-remover furniture polish, I stayed late into the evening before Bart's arrival, shining and buffing away with an energy and zeal seen only in TV commercials. Meanwhile, age-old plaques and certificates on the walls in my office were replaced with a half-dozen New Jersey coast seascapes from my own hand. In the larger outer office I hung a like number of modern abstract pieces that had been executed by my fine arts-major son on a recent scholarship in Europe.

Throughout, no detail was overlooked. Indeed, by the time Bart arrived, the place had been transformed into a sparkling, squeaky-clean renaissance showplace. Eagerly I awaited his reaction, which, unfortunately, was not long in coming.

After briefly casting a discerning eye about, he shoved his hands into his pants pockets, peered through the venetian blinds to the street below and, after a long, long pause, quietly intoned, "Colly, I travel all over the United States raising money for the Ad Council-and you spend it!"

Collingwood Harris

Damascus, Md.

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