Wisdom of Our Fathers
by Tim Russert
Including an essay by Judith Pettijohn McConnell
Learning of a call by NBC News Washington Bureau Chief, moderator and managing editor of Meet the Press and genuine journalist Tim Russert for stories about fathers I think why not. With no idea as to what might qualify, still I write an essay about my Dad.
This will not be ‘Father Knows Best’ or memories of Sunday family dinners. But it will be honest. The book’s title is to be Wisdom of Our Fathers. Wisdom? Not sure about this either.
I write about my Dad for 20 or 30 minutes and send my thoughts. Within a week I receive an email from Tim’s editor Bill Novak saying they would like to include my essay. Oh my God. He explains it isn’t for sure because Tim is still receiving and reading submissions – ultimately 60,000 before selecting 78 single quotes and 126 essays. Mine makes the cut.
Wow. My writing will appear in a national best seller. When I meet Tim at a book signing in Chicago and tell him I’m not sure whether he will know what a ‘mailer’ (my father’s occupation) is Tim tells me he does know and that his own father always wanted to be one. Interesting.
So grateful am I for the opportunity Tim gives me, and for meeting him. A photo taken of us at the signing, hanging in my office, reminds me.
Sadly, Tim shockingly dies of a heart attack only a year later. I miss him.
Tim Russert and I at a “Wisdom of our Fathers” book signing.