Sure enough, Shelby Hodge, our very own Robin Leach at the Houston Chronicle, did not disappoint. The news, so to speak, on La Wyatt is kinda bad---for the second consecutive year, she’s foregone her annual summering at a villa in the south of France, previously a 30-year tradition, to stick close to the beleaguered Big O---but it’s also kinda good, according to a long, long line of Wyatt associates and “chums” trotted out and lavishly quoted attesting to Ms. Wyatt’s chin-up attitude as the government hounds seek to run her 83-year-old husband to ground. Hodge sums it up thusly:
The approaching legal storm has failed to dampen her gusto for the extraordinary lifestyle that she has enjoyed throughout her 44-year marriage to Oscar. And the absence of a personal villa did not mean months of seclusion in sweltering Houston.Yes, no sense in lying around here fanning yourself in the stinkin’ heat when you can jet …
back and forth across the Atlantic, attending designer Valentino's 45th-anniversary celebration in Rome, house-guesting with billionaire Lily Safra on the French Riviera and visiting Lord Jacob Rothschild's archaeological digs at his vacation home in Corfu, Greece.Nowhere in the story, of course, is there any connection drawn or even hinted at between the maintenance of at least a small part of that extraordinary lifestyle and the millions in surcharges, or kickbacks if you will, or bribes if you still will, that Mr. Wyatt is accused of paying to Saddam Hussein’s government to buy Iraqi oil under the U.N’s oil-for-food program.
Wyatt also took time in recent months for the premiere of the London revival of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat as a guest of Andrew Lloyd Webber and a Renée Fleming concert in Monte Carlo combined with a visit to the palace for personal time with Prince Albert and Princess Caroline. (She was a friend of the late Princess Grace and Prince Rainier.)
Perhaps the highlight came in July when Elton John threw a grand black-tie birthday party for the ageless fashion diva. He hosted 16 guests from around the world at his estate in Windsor, England.
But it’s possible that such a connection is a chimera, a fevered product of small, overly moralistic minds. After all, at this late date it’s very clear that Oscar Wyatt, and possibly even Lynn, was right in warning against our invasion of Iraq (although not, perhaps, in warning the Iraqis [allegedly]). And we’re certainly willing to entertain, if not immediately embrace, Wyatt’s assertion that he’s being unfairly singled out by the vindictive Bush clan (and here’s an interesting piece pushing that line by former Georgia congressman Bob Barr). We have no standing, and few if any facts, to judge Oscar Wyatt, a bull-headed son of Grimes County who generously donated his own time and money and forbearance in dealing with nettlesome foreigners to meet America’s unceasing demand for imported oil.
Yet we must forestall the temptation to extend any of our limited store of sympathy to Oscar and his resolutely jet-setting wife after learning of last week’s death of a 21-year-old Marine from Houston, blown apart by an IED while on his second tour of duty in Iraq---according to the Chronicle, the 89th person with ties to Houston to die there since Bush launched his war. We had heard a story about this young man: It seems the mother of a boy just a little younger than the Marine ran into one of his relatives early last week, and the two women talked of how the young men were faring, with the relative relating how good the military experience had been for the young Marine, how it had helped straighten him out and turn him from a slightly wayward path. At the time the two spoke, the young man was already dead.