Friday, May 20, 2016

Morley Safer Going Away

The length of time between his retirement and passing was brief enough to give pause to anyone who loves what they do, we reckon. Leaving behind an earth he described in stories facet by facet, wryly, deeply, starkly, at times, but always with humility and wit at the heart, he's already missed.

We recall a particular piece on Thomas Kinkaid Painter of Light ® that he did perhaps twenty years ago which could have been mean in any other hands, but was, instead, a cautionary tale about taste and joy and how folks are simple creatures who require more elaborate pacifiers with the passing of time.

Thinking back, we were presumptuous to believe we watched through his jaded eyeballs when they were only our own and that, despite loathing snobbery, that very thing was in our own heart, never Morley's.

Did we know him well enough to call him that instead of Mr. Safer? Not at all. We did meet once on the streets of Manhattan and we lit up like a schoolgirl as a chance encounter became an actual conversation. His kindness and interest in our own life and career, we knew, was a staple of his humanity, but we allowed it to feel quite personal just the same.

(Making Morley Safer laugh felt like getting a Girl Scout badge we never stayed long enough to earn.)

He was an interesting man precisely because he was an interested one. We guess that people like that are, far and away, the most wonderful ones, and we were all the lucky ones for having that many Morley reports crossing our small screens for so long.

We know he left a family and extend our condolences to them all for their great loss...

On the day we met, after maybe fifteen minutes chatting, we noticed his eyes light up as his wife approached. The memory of that lingers perhaps more than our chat. Get this: They were old and we were young, but taken aback by the freshness of their connection. The way her step quickened and he leaned in to meet her was enough to make us nearly blush. 'Smitten' seems like the right word. It was so obvious that we scampered away, lest our presence intrude.

So yes, thanks for the legacy of your multi-pronged journalism, Morley. And thanks as much for letting us see that a man in love for a long time is as heart stopping as a young one any day.

May heaven be as fascinating for you as you made things down here for us.

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