I'm taking Paul Harvey's death harder than others might, because to me he was not just some guy on the radio, but rather a part of my childhood. I remember hearing Harvey's voice over the airwaves from the time I was old enough to know anything. Back during the early 70's, before I even started school, my father would often drive home during his lunch hour to have lunch at home. I remember he would always, always tune the radio to Paul Harvey. Whenever I'd hear that amazingly distinctive voice on the air, I'd get excited because I knew my Dad was coming home.
In this way, Paul and my Dad were always intricately linked in my head as I grew up. When I went away to college, I'd always smile when I heard his broadcasts. By this time, Harvey was altogether a product of a different era. (Hell, that was probably even true in 1970 when I first heard him.) I wouldn't listen to him in front of my friends, because Harvey's frequent forays into the mawkishly sentimental would often prove embarrassing, but whenever I was alone, the sound of his voice comforted me and made me feel a bit closer to home.
When my own father passed away in July of 1999, Paul Harvey kept on going. He was like Old Faithful, or some other predictable, unstoppable force of nature. He was one of the very few true constants over the course of my life, still doing exactly the same schtick at noon every day as he did 35 years ago. It was truly amazing. And rather than finding it painful to listen to Paul Harvey after losing my Dad, I found it once again very familiar and comforting. It was good to know that some things never changed.
Ironically, it was just this past week that I had to run an errand on my lunch hour, and when I cranked the car I heard that familiar voice once again. Maybe there were a few more cracks in it than there were during my preschool days, but everything else -- the voice, the cadence, the idiosyncrasies -- were all exactly as I had remembered. I marveled at this, and his advanced age, and actually found myself wondering for how much longer this voice would continue to be a part of my life. Well, now I know.
Mr. Harvey, I'll miss you. Every time I'm ever in a car or near a radio at midday. And wherever you are, I know you're still going to be as busy as you ever were. But I do hope you'll find a spare moment to look up my Dad. He was a loyal listener and fan for many, many years. He'd be thrilled to shake your hand... and I think the two of you would like each other.