Paul Harvey died yesterday. I did not hear his broadcast every day, but I certainly enjoyed listening to his "Rest of the Story" pieces on the radio.
I can remember seeing Paul Harvey on Memphis television when I would visit my grandparents when I was a very small child. He was old then.
Somehow, the death of Paul Harvey seems like a milestone to me. He is someone I never met, someone I knew of only through TV and radio and the newspaper. But he is someone who has always been, as long as I have been alive. Movie stars, media personalities, sports figures, and politicians come and go. Paul Harvey has always been.
Now he is not.
That struck me when I heard the news of his passing this morning. I am sorry for his family's loss, but he was 90 and lived an obviously full life, and death comes to us all. The big thing that strikes me is that nothing about our world stays the same.
I am 44. My world no longer includes the Baltimore Colts, the world trade center towers, the Soviet Union, the Fairness Doctrine, the Berlin Wall, the ABC Superstars competition, manned space travel, cassette tapes (OK, I still have several hundred of my old cassettes, but you know what I mean), Circuit City stores, TWA, pro basketball in Seattle, Captain Kangaroo, and Shakey's Pizza. And, of course, we have lost countless people who, like Paul Harvey, seemed always to be there in our world - Paul Newman and Skip Caray and Johnny Cash and Bozo the Clown and Tim Russert and Jim McKay and Charlton Heston and William F. Buckley and Johnny Carson and so many others.
The building where I went to law school has been remodeled and is now used for undergraduates.
Popular music has captured this phenomenon for years. "Time keeps on slipping, slipping, slipping into the future." "They paved paradise and put up a parking lot." "If I could save time in a bottle...."
The world keeps turning. New buildings spring up and teams move to new towns and new stars arise and new styles come and go (whether I acknowledge them or not). These are not the things on which we count; they are not the things on which we depend. Our future is tied to something deeper and Someone permanent.
Still, it is a little jarring that we will never again here "and now... the rest of the story."