Saturday, June 14, 2008

A few years ago Jes and I were headed up to my family farm in Wisconsin (Christmas trees) and we stopped off at a Cracker Barrel for lunch. You can rent books on tape from one Cracker Barrel and return them to some other restaurant in the chain. So, we rented Tim Russert's book about his father: Big Russ and Me. The Wisconsin trip can be around nine hours with stops, which means that we had no trouble getting through the book in a single session. I'd been familiar with Mr. Russert from Meet the Press and his debate coverage, but the book personalized this public figure for me and as a result, I felt a personal loss yesterday when we heard of his passing.

Jes and her father saw him a few years ago at the Maryville Speaker Series. When I told her that he had died she noted that he was the second speaker that they had see to have died, Benazir Bhutto being the other one. She said that after seeing a speaker in the speaker series you feel as if you know them on a personal level, as though you've become friends.

We sat and watched his coworkers say goodbye to him last night. I am certain we will miss him in public life - he did seem to set the bar for journalistic integrity. We will miss him in private life as well.


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