I just finished reading Tim Russert‘s book Big Russ and Me. I realized what what wise men both were, and how other’s in Tim Russert’s life influenced him.
They were both wise in something that just isn’t so common anymore; common sense.
Tim’s dad, Big Russ didn’t graduate high school and worked two jobs for most of his adult life without complaint. He dealt with the cards life dealt. He was a World War II veteran, who saw it as he had a job to do.
Big Russ taught simple life lessons. At one of his jobs, he was dealing with a young man who did not like black people. Big Russ teamed him up with someone. Two weeks later, the man came over and said, “I like this guy.” Big Russ just said quietly, “Well he’s actually colored (they used that word then), and I hope you’ve learned a lesson.
I enjoyed Tim’s stories about Canisius High School in Buffalo and the prefect of discipline, Father John Strum. I guess this is standard with kids the world over. The pranks pulled, the kids always think they are the first to try it. Father Strum was on top of it more than most. The kids tried to say they were late because the drawbridge at Republic Steel was up, Father Strum already called his buddy at the plant to confirm. Don’t you hate when your teenage plans always seem to be thwarted? Father Strum had eyes everywhere. Maybe he had help. 🙂
You wanted to sneak a cigarette on the bus going home. He got on several stops down the line. Oops. You wanted to go to the burlesque theater and the clerk in the booth knew the good father. I liked the one where they tried to dodge school because of the snowstorm. That would make a good comedy routine, especially the kid, who dove behind the counter and surfaced with an apron.
As a message for Luke Russert, I was blessed. My father passed when I was fifty-five years old. I cannot imagine the idea of my Dad dying when I was in my twenties. I always enjoyed watching Tim Russert, especially on Meet the Press. He was taken from us too soon, but as Tim Russert said to Michael Gartner of NBC about the passing of his teenage son Christopher, sometimes that is the bargain for the time you have.
A book I will cherish and I wish it had been on my to read pile sooner.
- How I Miss Tim Russert On “Meet The Press” (dekerivers.wordpress.com)
- Tim Russert looms over 2012 race (politico.com)
- Tim Russert dies (boardpad.typepad.com)