Sunday, June 15, 2008

A Bittersweet Sunday

It seems remarkably cruel that Tim Russert died (so suddenly, so shockingly) just two days before Father's Day. As known as he was for hosting Meet the Press, I think so many more people felt as if they knew him because of his willingness to share his memories and feelings about his family in books like Big Russ and Me and Wisdom of Our Fathers. Watching the tributes that have been composed for him all over television, not just on NBC and MSNBC, it's clear how important family was to Russert (as a son, as a father), how much his friends meant to him. But you also see a man who really, really loved his job, and loved what his life had become. And more than anything else, that's what I find myself admiring about him. How many of us get to say that?

Sunday mornings were often a source of tension between my father and me, though less so as the years progressed. I know he wished I'd go to church with him, and we never had the discussion we should've had about why I felt so conflicted about our church, and religion in general. But as Dad began to accept that it was something I just didn't want to do, we found other common ground on Sunday mornings, and that was Meet the Press. I don't think anyone was more gratified that MSNBC began replaying the show at 6 p.m., because he'd usually forget to tape the show, or we'd forget to do it for him.

Two people really got me interested in politics: Aaron Sorkin and Tim Russert. And I'm grateful for that, since it gave my father and I so much to talk about during what turned out to be the last years of his life.

Happy Father's Day, Dad.