Wednesday, June 18, 2008

you leave big shoes

i have hit a bout of writer's block the size of montana of late - and i would apologize, but i honestly believe you are all probably better off without my less-than-sunny disposition taking up space. maybe there's a post a-brewing about the potential pitfalls of counting down to an event and thinking that then, then ... then things will be ok. but this is not that post.

this is a post about tim russert.

i did not know tim russert, though i spent many a sunday morning with him. maybe i felt like i knew him. maybe i just can't imagine the election without him and his whiteboard. maybe i related to his passion for seeing how current events mesh with the fabric of american history or his unbridled glee over this election. maybe seeing someone so many people loved and admired die reminds me of my own mortality and - more importantly - the mortality of the people i love and admire. whatever it is, i am sad. watching the commentary and memorials, interviews with his son - they've all left me in tears.

so this afternoon after my mom interrupted my bar study to yell at me for being a terrible daughter, i figured - what the hell? why not turn on msnbc? why not watch the memorial service? my studying was already shot to hell, and i was already in tears. i think i caught the second half of the memorial. it was lovely. luke russert's musings on a special edition of meet the press this sunday, with aaron burr and alexander hamilton - or JFK and goldwater made me smile, but as tom brokaw thanked the crowd at the end over the israel kamakawiwo version of "somewhere over the rainbow" playing in the background i was in tears again. (how can a song be so happy and sad at once?)

i sat on the couch watching msnbc fade out to the song, ignoring my stack of bar review notes to be summarized (and learned, whatever), and remembered i had to pick up some stuff from the cleaners before they closed. wiping my eyes, knowing full well (but not caring) that i was about to go out into public not only without make-up, but looking like i'd just spent an hour crying, i slipped on a pair of flip flops, grabbed my wallet and umbrella, and headed out the door.

one of those crazy late spring storms was passing, the kind where rain was coming down sideways - and then not at all - and then from the opposite direction. the umbrella was the perfect cover to lower over my bloodshot eyes, and i sort of enjoyed the rain on my toes.

i was walking back down columbia, hiding my face beyond the umbrella, eyes fixed on the sidewalk when the rain stopped. i turned to look over the adams morgan skyline, east, in the direction of the clouds. and there it was. a rainbow arching across the sky. i imagine it was about the time that most people - certainly, i hope luke russert and maureen orth - were filing out of the kennedy center.

i don't care what any of you say, i wholly believe it was tim russert, smiling over DC and thanking us all for mourning him more than i'm sure he'd ever have imagined. or maybe he had saint peter take care of it for him. he might have been busy preparing questions for hamilton and burr.

godspeed, tim russert. you leave big shoes.


Beck said...

I caught some of the memorial service as well, but didn't get teary until I read your post. Thank you. :)

Anonymous said...

I went to his funeral (the public one) and it was beyond sad. The first Saturday after he died, I drove to MSNBC Washington Bureau to leave him flowers and I swear the city didn't feel the same without him.

I hope they go back to the original "Meet the Press" where guests really meet the press because no one single person can replace Tim. No one.

S said...

thanks so much for your post, anonymous. i've been thinking about tim a lot lately, especially as the race is about to pick up steam and go full throttle in the next few months. it makes me sad that i won't get to enjoy tim's honest and fair analysis of this, and that he won't be here to give it to us.