KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - United States Secretary of State John Kerry on Wednesday swapped the crutches he has been on since breaking his leg in a cycling accident in May for a silver-handled cane that served successive members of the Kennedy clan, including former president John Kennedy and his father Joseph.
Mr Kerry appeared with the cane at meetings with countries of Asean in Malaysia. He said it had been loaned to him by Ms Vicki Kennedy, widow of Senator Teddy Kennedy.
"This cane has a history," Mr Kerry joked at the start of one meeting in Kuala Lumpur.
"This cane belonged to Ambassador Joseph B. Kennedy in England during the war. And after the war, President Kennedy, before he became president, used this cane when his back was bad after the war," he said.
"And then Teddy Kennedy, who broke his back, used the cane," Mr Kerry said, adding that Teddy Kennedy had loaned him the stick twice in the past after he had an operation on his knee.
"So when Vicki Kennedy, his widow, heard that I had broken my leg, she knew I was going to need the cane," Mr Kerry said. "She loaned it to me. So here it is. It's - and the third time I've used it - three times is lucky, right? No hard breaks."
Mr Kerry, an avid sportsman, broke his right leg in an accident while cycling a portion of the Tour de France route near Scionzier, France, on May 31.
He has maintained a punishing travel and work schedule while on crutches following the accident, which came a day after he met his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif as part of marathon talks that eventually brought about a deal aimed at curbing Teheran's nuclear program.
Mr Kerry has been keen to get off his crutches since, but aides were taking no chances, hovering in the background with them at the Kuala Lumpur meetings, just in case they were needed again.