Nov 242009

I sometimes wake up during the night with a case of cotton-mouth, so I keep a cup of water on the nightstand beside the bed. Quite a few years ago, when I lived in Greensboro, I had a roommate who owned a restaurant. He brought home some big empty Dijon Mustard jars (probably quart jars) for making big Gin and Tonics and sitting on the porch. I used one of these as my night-time water-glass. It must have had the best silk screening in the world, as the writing was clear and bright for over 10 years of going through the dishwasher.

When I moved to Winston-Salem, then Tampa, then Dayton and back to Tampa that old jar went along with me, and was one of those little things that just made me, wherever I was, feel a little more comfortable because of its familiarity. I know it probably sounds silly, but it is these little things that make up the fabric of our lives…each single little strand.

Throughout life we loose strands of that cloth, but we’re forever weaving in more strands. Such was the case with that jar when I rolled over one night, flipped the pillow around, and knocked the jar to the floor and it finally broke. Just one of those little strands finally wearing out and reaching the end of its life as part of my cloth.

Carl Kasell (2004 NPR/Anthony Nagleman)

But a bigger and more important strand is leaving. Carl Kasell is retiring from NPR as the Morning Edition news anchor after holding the job for 30 years since the inception of the program. I have never had the pleasure of meeting Carl Kasell, and I don’t think I’d ever seen a picture of him until his retirement was announced this week, but I knew that voice as well as that of my best friends.

I discovered Public Radio right after moving to Greensboro. I knew of it, and occasionally listened to classical music, but really didn’t find their whole range of programs until about 25 years ago. Since then hardly a day goes by that I don’t wake to Morning Edition (or Weekend Edition), and I have always had a radio in the bathroom to listen as I get ready for the day.

So Carl doesn’t know me, and there’s not a lot I know about him, but his voice is that of a friend. Something I’ve heard most every weekday morning for the past 25 years. It’s always been a pleasant, calm, but authoritative voice, and has brought the stories of life both great and small. After 30 years of having to get up at 2:00 or 3:00 every morning, and at age 75, I think Carl has earned his retirement. The generous part of me wishes him the very best and thanks him for his many years of keeping me company wherever life took me, but the selfish part of me will miss the constancy of that familiar voice starting my day.

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