The news was filled this weekend with stories and memories of Walter Cronkite. I've never been able to watch or hear Cronkite without thinking of my grandpa Ducey and how much he loved watching the evening news. More often than not, news led by Walter Cronkite. My grandpa could be lost in the deepest nap, but if he heard Walter Cronkite's voice come across the airwaves, he'd sit up and tune in like he'd been there waiting and wondering for hours when Cronkite would arrive to update him on the days happenings.
Many folks this weekend referred to Cronkite as the most trusted voice in America. There was a story that said after Cronkite delivered a less than supportive opinion about the Vietnam War on his newscast, then president Lyndon B. Johnson said "If I've lost Cronkite, I've lost middle America." Several weeks later Johnson announced he would not seek re-election. Hearing that story helped me understand why my grandfather hung on to so many of Walter Cronkite's words. It also makes me feel a bit sorry that, in all likelihood, my boys will never witness a broadcaster like him.
Let's face it, it could be debated whether today's newcasts even broadcast news. Some nights the news looks more like a pre-paid political advertisement. Others, it resembles an entertainment magazine. I'm sorry, I have a hard time picturing my grandfather waiting patiently 6 consecutive evenings for Walter Cronkite to give him updates on Michael Jackson's death. No, Walter Cronkite and Katie Couric have two different ideas in mind when it comes to talking about moon walks. (Elliott and Ian, Neil Armstrong did it long before Michael)
I did my own news coverage this weekend with hopes of witnessing a story that I would be able to share with Elliott and Ian someday. I watched as Tom Watson, 59 years old, tried to win one of the most prestigious golf tournaments in the world. By a wide margin, it would have made him the oldest golfer to win one of golf's major tournaments. After 4 days of sitting near the top of the leaderboard and living out a golfing fantasy, Watson came up one 8-foot putt short of sports history. As always, it is painfully ironic how many valuable lessons come from watching someone lose.
First, no one competes on that stage at that age. That is unless you have a desire and commitment to continue doing something that exceeds others' expectations that you can do it. It was inspiring, especially as someone who can now see the dim headlights of the fifties creeping towards me. But the more important lesson is that losing always provides the most accurate answer to the question "how classy are you?" When Watson walked out to meet the press after his gut wrenching loss, the silent reporters sat waiting in obvious discomfort as they felt the pain of the man they were about to interview. Watson's response? "Cheer up guys, its not a funeral you know."
I've always found it an admirable quality when one tosses aside there own discomfort to provide first aide to the discomfort of others. It is at these moments, right when I am ready to discount the possibility that there are golf Gods governing the courses where simple games are played, that I realize there is definitely a God watching, only he often has a far different story in mind for me to share with my boys than the one I wanted to share.
Speaking of sharing stories, I do have one potty training update. I was able to teach Elliott this weekend that the back side of a park porta-potty is more user friendly than the inside of one. I'll leave you to write the rest of that story.