©Bert Gildart: It is no exaggeration to say that we here in the Gildart home are in mourning.
Tim Russert, our most favorite of all newscasters, passed away yesterday, June 13, 2008; and I would like to add our humble voices from here in Bigfork, Montana, and say that his passing will profoundly affect us. That may sound pretentious, but despite Russert’s tremendous success, he always seemed approachable, and we felt if we’d ever had the luck to bump into him, he’d look you in the eye and then share a bit of his time.
We relied on Russert’s Sunday morning “Meet the Press” to help us arrive at our own political decisions. What we appreciated most about him is that if he had a political agenda (other than the truth) it certainly didn’t come across as such. At the conclusion of each program Janie always used to say, “Now why doesn’t a man like that run for president?”
We also dreamed in our dream of dreams, that if there was any one celebrity that we’d like to have for dinner, it would be Mr. Russert, for he appeared like the type of man who would never make you feel second class; that he’d find a subject we could all discuss. He had a passion for music, and at our dinner the conversation may well have been confined to the lives of Roy Orbison and Bruce Springsteen. They were some of his favorites.
Perhaps that ability to communicate with people from all walks of life distills down to his own humble beginnings, for after all, his father (Big Russ) was a garbage collector in Buffalo, New York. And now, because of Russert’s seeming approachability and obvious lack of pomposity, I feel comfortable writing this blog. If it had been some other political giant, I’d most likely remain quiet. But today, because of his weekly influence on us, I wanted a catharsis. Sunday mornings won’t be the same.
Now, we’re left wanting to know more about Mr. Russert, and this seems a good time to purchase Big Russ and Me: Father & Son Lessons of Life, though it may be hard to find, for we understand the title has suddenly moved up to number six on the Amazon charts. We’ll be adding our name to that list, hoping the book will help us learn more about the upbringing of a man whose most enduring quality seems to be his integrity. Apparently he was a man who couldn’t be bought and we wonder how, in this day and age, he remained so far above the fray?