I wouldn't have thought that the death of Tim Russert would get to me as much as it has. Every week I would watch Meet the Press and see who Russert was going to interview. His interviews made news every week. Everyone that has talked about being on the show the past couple of days has said the same thing: "Tim was tough but fair." I think it is an accurate statement. I never knew Russert's personal politics. I just found a couple of days ago that he had worked for some Democrats before he turned to journalism. You wouldn't have known it by watching his interviews. I could never tell, and I am an independent.
However, what struck me was the enthusiasm he had for, not only his work, but for his family - particularly his dad, "Big Russ" and his son, Luke. Months ago I bought Big Russ and Me at a book sale. I hadn't gotten around to reading it yet. I bet I read it soon.
PICTURED: Tim and Big Russ
I heard a story from a tape of Tim being interviewed by Tom Brokaw. He talked about the time that his wife had discovered a tattoo on his son while Luke was trying on a shirt he had recently got for Christmas (it was Christmas day).
When his wife brought it to his intention, Tim approached young Luke. Luke, admittedly had just read Tim's manuscript for Big Russ and Me, when Tim started on him about the tattoo, "Look, son, we talked about this and had an understanding . . ." Luke lifted up his arm and displayed the inked "TJR" on his ribs. He told his dad that after reading the manuscript, he wanted his dad and his grand dad (both Tim and Big Russ had the same initials) at his side forever. Tim melted and obviously made an exception to their "understanding".
It is odd still, that a the passing of a TV personality in the news game would cause me so much sorrow. Russert made me appreciate politics and take an interest in the way this country was being run unlike before. He also made me more excited about fatherhood - gave me a new appreciation for the joy it will bring.
Like I said, I hadn't read Big Russ and Me yet. In a way, I am glad that I hadn't. It gives me a little more time with someone I didn't know I cared about so much.