A voice from my childhood was silenced today.
I remember riding in the back seat as my folks took a drive, bouncing down 522 through Woodville and Scrabble, listening to Paul Harvey. It was a voice from a golden age, lost to modern walkman-toting teens like me. He read the advertisements the same way he read the news, as if he were encouraging a friend to buy this wonderful thing. he used small details of lives to illuminate what it really meant to be an American, to value freedom and practice respect. He made you think about larger issues in human scale, and understand why integrity and self-respect were important, the larger effects of small acts of honesty, kindness, and compassion. He opened up the possibilities by showing how everyday people became extraordinary. It was more than just cold facts in a news article; there was a very human side, a lot of shades of gray, even in the most black-and-white moments. What choices would you make? Where would those small choices lead in the larger world?
You could count to a surprise ending, a twist in the tale that showed how this yarn, itself a masterpiece of values in hard work, caring for others, and doing the right thing for its own sake, was actually about a larger personality, a small moment in a life that was changing the world. Small moments became momentous. He revealed the deeper fiber of a person in a single episode from everyday living.
I wish I knew more about Paul Harvey, who revealed so much about others, and showed us exactly why they- and we- were great. I wish I had the rest of the story.