— 1 —
I’ve spoken recently about reducing clutter and the “great purge”. I spent a portion of last weekend going through eleven boxes of old books that had been bequeathed to me years ago. Among the gems I found was an old hardcover called You said it, Paul Harvey! Turning to any random page in the book brought me immediately back the days of my youth. My dad was a faithful listener of Mr. Harvey on the radio. At the height of his popularity you could catch a five minute version of his news program “Paul Harvey News and Comment” at 9am, a full fifteen minute version at noon, and at 3pm the five minute program “The Rest of the Story.”
“Hello Americans, this is Paul Harvey. Stand byyy for newwws!”
And we did, often waiting through the paid sponsored advertisers commercials first (usually Bose radio).
And when he finished: “Paul Harvey … Good day!” Unless it was for “The Rest of the Story” program. Then he’d sign off with “And now you know… the rest of the story.
In junior high I read two of his books The Rest of the Story and More of Paul Harvey’s The Rest of the Story. In fact they’re probably in an old box in my home. Until Mr. Harvey died in 2009 I would catch him from time to time on the radio and it always brought me back to days spent with my dad in the summer when, for one week each summer, I was out on the road with him. From 1978-1988 my dad was a Schwann’s Man, driving a Schwann’s ice cream truck with territory throughout northeast Nebraska. And for one week each summer the company allowed family members to ride along. Dad always listened to WOW-AM590 out of Omaha and occasionally KFAB-AM1110, also out of Omaha. He, and the radio, introduced me to Paul Harvey. During those summer days a few minutes before noon, we would be looking for a shaded spot along a country road or highway to pull over with our lunch boxes that mom had made and packed for us, and our thermos, to listen to Paul Harvey. I learned a lot about the world, and about life, during those days. Paul Harvey provided a soundtrack of sorts to the lessons on work ethic I learned during those days.
And now … Page Two.
— 2 —
This week alone my little girl has three birthday parties to attend, and an invite for another in a few weeks. She’s a busy girl, often going a million miles an hour, and at the age of six is not slowing down any time soon. On the way to school yesterday she brought a small stuffed animal (a prairie dog) into the car. When I asked why she said “I’m going to give it to Josh.” (a boy in her class).
“But I gave that to you, sweetpea. You picked it out at Devil’s Tower on our vacation, remember?”
“Yes, but I don’t want it anymore. I want to give it to Josh. He wants it.”
“Why does Josh want Prairie?” (Prairie was the name she immediately gave the toy after the purchase.)
Using the tone of voice she uses when giving an exasperated lecture to her father: “Because he’ll have it at recess and then I can chase him around the playground.”
(I temporarily blacked out at this point. When I came to we were at a stop sign and I continued the conversation. I’m told it may have been a stroke.)
“But I gave that to you as a present. I don’t want you to give it away to a boy. I’ll just keep it in the car with me,” I said while placing Prairie in the console cupholder of my car.
Heavy sigh from the backseat. “Okaaaaaaaaay.”
(For full disclosure I must also say here that I stood in line at a hot, sweaty trading post for an extra twenty minutes after hiking a few miles around Devil’s Tower in order to purchase this little stuffed rodent. I wasn’t giving him up so easily to some interloper from the first grade.)
Today when she got in the car she was holding this.
“I’m giving this to Josh today, dad.”
“So I can chase him around at recess.”
— 3 —
Speaking of stuffed toys, my oldest son who is like me a devoted fan of Calvin and Hobbes, showed me this link the other day for a Hobbes plush toy sewing pattern.
I can’t sew worth a lick but if I could I would be picking this pattern up in a heartbeat.
— 4 —
And since we spoke of books earlier, here’s my quote of the week:
“The rosary is the book of the blind, where souls see and there enact the greatest drama of love the world has ever known; it is the book of the simple, which initiates them into mysteries and knowledge more satisfying than the education of other men; it is the book of the aged, whose eyes close upon the shadow of this world, and open on the substance of the next. The power of the rosary is beyond description.” – Archbishop Fulton Sheen
— 5 —
The following excerpt is from the book You said it, Paul Harvey!
To My Son
Whatever happened to the past fifteen years? Before I got a chance to talk to you about the birds and bees, you could tell me—and in Latin.
Up to here you’ve probably taught mother and me more than we’ve taught you.
But just once, before you grow too completely away from us, I’d like you to look at some notes which I’ve written to myself over the years.
You’ll do what your own ideals demand and seek what your own heart desires, regardless, but if your intelligence could somehow pick up where Dad’s knowledge leaves off, it would spare you some skinned shins. Some of them, not all of them.
So that’s the first entry in my notebook, and the last one: Get up when you fall down.
We all fall down. But the thing that separates the men from the boys is that a man gets up when he falls down.
Bear down on your school work, not just because the world needs you—but because you’re going to need it. If you excel in what you do, you’ll have to eat less crow; it’s as simple as that.
I suggest you don’t load up your closet with skeletons. Every time you make an unerasable mistake, you’ll have to carry that extra load the whole distance. This goes for the Commie causes which might tempt your heart, the con game that might get you an indelible police record, the girl you might disgrace, the disease you go looking for and the carelessness which costs a limb or a life. Think overtime trying to anticipate and avoid unerasable mistakes.
Smile a lot. Son, there are only two ways you can pay your membership dues in the human race. You owe enthusiasm to your employer and pleasantness to your associates.
There are no two qualities of character which will reward you, personally, materially and otherwise, more than those two—enthusiasm and pleasantness.
For goodness sake, find a work that interests you and stick with it. I said work “that interests you.” That is enough to ask. No job is all fun or all easy or even all pleasant, but if your job isn’t interesting you’re goin to hoe a long, hard row.
Son, time is going to mellow you eventually whether you like it or not, but there’ll be less wear and tear on you if you can roll with it. And you’ll have your hair longer. Maybe your teeth, too.
You have your Dad’s stubborn convictions about certain things. That’s all right. I’m glad you do. But don’t ever deny the other fellow’s rights to have his convictions, too.
What I’m saying is that time is going to teach you a certain patience, even with impatience, a degree of tolerance, even for intolerance.
I hope you don’t drink or smoke much, because life has a way of overcharging a fellow for overindulgence.
I hope you don’t swear much. Any durn fool can swear.
And when the world looks lopsided, remember that you, personally, are being sized up for a more symmetrical place.
If you can—measure up.