“I Murdered My Grandmother This Morning” — F.D.R.

Are You Really Listening?

The following story is told of president Franklin D. Roosevelt, who often endured long receiving lines at White House receptions and was tired of the small talk and flattering comments he received from White House guests.

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Roosevelt decided that the guests were never really listening to what  he was saying. One day at a reception he decided to try a little experiment. As each guest arrived and shook the president’s hand he smiled politely and said pleasantly, “I murdered my grandmother this morning.”

As Roosevelt had anticipated, the guests responded with such comments as, “Marvelous!” “Keep up the good work!” “We are proud of you!” God bless you, sir!”

It was not until the end of the line, while greeting the ambassador from Bolivia, that his guest actually listened to what Roosevelt was saying. The ambassador leaned over and whispered, “I’m sure she had it coming.”

Source unknown. This story appears in many sites that provide illustrations for sermons. Is it true or was it invented to illustrate a point, like the story  of George Washington and the cherry tree told by Parson Weems?