“Good day.”

I grew up in a small community.

 

Where there was only one way to be. 

 

One way to dress.  One way to vote.  One kind of cuisine to like.  One job to have.  And one kind of music to listen to.

 

That music was country.

 

My family was weird, and we didn’t really buy into it, and I’m so thankful for that now, but not at the time.  Then, I wanted so badly to be like everyone else. 

 

Except for the music thing.

 

I loathed country music.  Like, to the point where my back teeth ached if I had to listen to it.  But if I got into someone else’s vehicles, it was guaranteed that the radio would be tuned to an AM country station.

 

And if we were in the car at noon, those AM country stations would broadcast the news.  Then the prices of commodities.  Then the weather.

 

And then, Paul Harvey.

 

 

The first time I heard his show, I thought it was a joke.  Seriously, this guy sounded a million years old, and paused in weird places, and went on and ON about sweet bugger all.  Who was this old coot?

 

But when the nearest town is an hour away by car, you spend a lot of time in cars.  And I had to listen to Paul Harvey a lot.  And then, one day, I realized I wanted to listen to him.

 

He wasn’t cool.  It was like talking to a grandpa; not even your own grandpa, because at the end of the long-winded story, there wouldn’t be a dollar or a Scotch mint.  His politics were wickedly conservative, and even at that age, I wasn’t.  There was no real reason for me to like him.

 

But man, I really liked that guy.  I liked his stories about crazy shit, like the woman impregnated by a bullet that travelled through some guy’s testicle, then into her ovary.  I liked his reassuring tone.  I liked the way he told me what page he was on. I liked the way he ended each broadcast by saying “Good day”, going up at the end, looking forward toward the next day.

 

Even when I got older, and moved away, and wasn’t spending hours in other people’s cars, I still listened to him.  As much as the place I grew up in was suffocating, it was safe.  And Paul Harvey was part of that home.

 

 

Paul Harvey passed away on the weekend.

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13 responses to ““Good day.”

  1. it was also nice that he was on radio, so you didn’t get that funny ‘old people smell’ from him.

    i always liked him too… and that’s despite being about 180 degrees out of phase with his politics. you just knew he wasn’t mean about it…

  2. Growing up, I listened to Paul Harvey while driving through the oil fields of southern Illinois.

    In college, I had a professor who always came ten minutes late to class . . . because of Paul Harvey.

    I wonder what Bose is going to do . .

  3. Love the impregnated by a bullet line. So funny.

    Goodbye Paul.

    What about Bev Munroe? Remember the canned laugh after the Knee-Slapper? Do you miss him too?

    M

  4. mongoliangirl

    It’s like Paul Harvey tracked my growth. I knew I was growing up when I decided I didn’t like him and growing up some more when I did again. And more when I forgot about him and then lit up like a Christmas tree when I came across him on the radio one day.

  5. And that’s the rest of the story. I listened to him growing up too. My mom worked for a local am talk station and he was syndicated there so she had the station on all the time. He was a good story teller, lots of build up,slow pauses, pulling it all together. I thought he was gone a long time ago.

  6. I’d never heard of him until yesterday. How much do I suck?

    Real hard, I know.

  7. Aw, what a great story. I can’t say I regret growing up in Toronto where I had access to so much in the way of music and cultural exposure, (my brief stint in a small town in grade 6 did not end well). But a smallish town is where I’m going now, and I’m sure I’ll get a good feeling for all kinds of down home good time things! I’ve been listening to Conway Twitty.

  8. Back in the early seventies my Daddy was stationed in Puerto Rico and Paul Harvey was one of the only things we could find on the radio in English. I couldn’t wait to hear…the REST of the story!

  9. You think you were over-exposed to country music? Try growing up 20 miles south of Nashville. As for Mr. Harvey, no matter how corny it was, I always stayed in the car to hear “the rest of the story” if I happened upon him on my way home.

  10. He did have some stories, didn’t he?

  11. daisyfae: Yup, he didn’t seem like he’d hate you for being liberal. He might chuckle, but he wouldn’t hate you.

    tysdaddy: Late for class, that’s so awesome.

    michael: I don’t know why that story stuck, but it did.

    mongoliangirl: Exactly. When I didn’t care whether anyone else thought I was a nerd for liking him, I knew I was growing up.

    formerlyfun: Um, yeah, he’s one of those “Dead or alive?” people. Like Phyllis Diller. Or Zsa Zsa Gabor.

    Rassles: No, you’re just incredibly diverse. One can only have so many irons in so many fires. 😉

    Em: Once I left, I started to love country music. Not all of it, but most definitely anything pre-1980. Conway was a fox!

    derfina: I love that we were all so far apart, and yet we were all listening to the same thing.

    hereinfranklin: OK, Nashville, you win 😉

    Southern (in)sanity: That he did. But for some reason, the bullet one is the only one I remember off the top of my head.

  12. Outstanding!

    It’s funny, I was thinking about Paul Harvey last week. My old high school history teacher read us excerpts from his “The Rest of the Story” features. I got hooked on him then and listened to him for years. He was my gateway host into Garrison Keilor and Michael Feldman and even “This American Life”. I disagree with you about him not being cool, though. He was definitely cool. In a way that ‘cool’ people could never understand.

  13. Thanks, Chris. (And you’re probably right.)

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