Wednesday, March 4, 2009


Chicago Tribune
Paul Harvey: 'Good ... bye' By Rob Gilbert
March 3, 2009

I had a good January, but a bad February.

I collect heroes. I have a very small collection. My first one was Ted Williams (I grew up in Boston). In January, I added a new star: Capt. Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger, the "hero of the Hudson," who saved 155 lives when he skillfully landed a disabled 81-ton jet in New York's Hudson River.

But on the last day of February, I suffered a setback. I lost my oldest and most precious gem
-- news commentator Paul Harvey. I loved him.

I had a relationship with him for more than 50 years. We never met. He never answered my letters or e-mails, but he was with me every day. Sometimes twice a day when I listened to his "Rest of the Story" broadcasts.

I didn't listen to Harvey for news. I could get that elsewhere. I surely didn't listen to him for his social "comments." We were at opposite ends of the political continuum. I listened to him for his stories. His stories were special for three reasons.

First, he was insightful enough to know what a great story was. He, not any sports channel, was the first person to tell me the Jason McElwain story. McElwain was a basketball team manager from Greece Athena High School outside of Rochester, N.Y., who unexplainably scored 20 points in less than four minutes in the first game he ever played. By the way, Jason was autistic. Harvey also introduced me to Kyle Maynard, the legless, armless champion high school wrestler from Georgia. I'm sure others in the media saw the same stories. Paul Harvey saw the inspirational value in them.

You see, I'm a college professor and just like Harvey, I feel a duty and obligation to do more than inform my students. I want to inspire them like Harvey inspired me. He taught me the value of stories.

I "stole" and "plagiarized" many of his stories. I'm guilty and I'm proud of it. After all, if you're going to stea
l -- steal from the best.

Second, even when one of Harvey's stories wasn't on target for me, I studied how he told it. He was a master storyteller.

Third, he had his own unique style. Whether he was reporting the news or telling a story, he kept your attention by his pregnant pauses. He was the master of the pause.

But before you feel sad that we've lost one of our heroes, I want you to know that I knew that this day would probably come. After all, Paul Harvey died at age 90. So years ago, I started taping his broadcasts.

Now, whenever I get nostalgic, I can put on a tape and hear a news report from 10 or 20 or 30 years ago. And it will always end the same way, with the great broadcaster saying (with his classic pause), "Good
... day."

Mr. Harvey: "Good
... life."