As I drove out on Friday afternoon to Golden Meadows to see Jackie, I heard the news about Tim Russert's death. I called Bob to tell him and then listened to PBS for more information.
I had only come to watch Meet the Press this year during the primary season. I knew of Tim Russert because I was a news junkie, but hadn't really appreciated his insight, character and abilities until recently. I knew also that he was a huge sports fan and from Buffalo - how could I avoid knowing that! - and that he'd written about his father, Big Russ.
We spent the weekend doing quiet, small town things. Friday night we watched NBC until we couldn't take it any more and then ate dinner on the deck until it got dark and then beyond. We had the first strawberries of the season - and actually, they were the dinner.
Saturday I worked in the office, then went out to the lake and chose to read on the deck and talk to neighbors. I took phone calls about my listings - "if you list, you last" - and rather enjoyed that. In the evening we went to the Elbridge Strawberry Festival at the firehouse on Route 5, ate more strawberries and listened to the community band play patriotic and Americana songs for an hour. "America the Beautiful" always brings a tear. We came home to eat popcorn and watch "The Sting."
I saw Meet the Press this morning before my open house and thought more about what Tim Russert's life meant, why it so resonated with me. Someone told a story about how when Russert went to work for Senator Moynihan he was a bit overwhelmed by the resumes of the other staffers. He was from South Buffalo and went to John Carroll in Cleveland, not Hotchkiss, Harvard and Yale. Senator Moynihan told him he could learn what the others knew, but "they will never be able to learn what you know."
Tim Russert made me proud of growing up in Syracuse. And oh yes, being born in Buffalo, too.