This article is from the archive of our partner .

The guarded reports about former president George H.W. Bush's health haven't been good of late — last we heard, after alternating statements from his family spokesman Wednesday, the 88-year-old was suffering from a fever that won't quit and had been transferred to the Intensive Care Unit of his Houston hospital. But a different family aide swooped in late Thursday with some good news: "put the harps back in the closet," Bush chief of staff Jean Becker wrote in an email to Bush family and friends, according to CBS News. The full note goes on something like this:

Is he sick? Yes. Does he plan on going anywhere soon? No. He has every intention of staying put. He would ask me to tell you to please put the harps back in the closet. ...

Is there anything you can do? Yes, of course ... Keep him and the family in your prayers. I am thinking heaven has not seen such a barrage of prayer intentions since It's a Wonderful Life.

Becker's statement comes amidst dribs and drabs of reports over Bush's health, which has largely been kept private: it was late last month when we found out the former president had been in the hospital for a week, and Wednesday, after conflicting reports that Bush was OK then not OK then really not OK, the final statement from family spokesman Jim McGrath said the president was "surrounded by his family" in the ICU. Which might have induced those harps getting tentatively pulled out. But to hear Becker so confident and candid seems to be a good sign. Ergo, if no news is bad news, then this news ... is probably the best news we'll hear aside from the former president speaking up for himself. 

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to