While radio never stops and has played a pivotal role in entertainment for centuries, it does not seem to command the attention of every waking hour as it did in the past. When I was growing up, my waking hours started around 4:00 a.m. helping milk cows. Each of those mornings we were joined in the milk barn by the sounds and stories of Paul Harvey. Even after we left the farm in 1994, my listening continued as I began waitressing breakfast at a local restaurant. It didn’t matter where I was, Paul Harvey’s voice drew me in and transported my mind to the stories and people of whom he spoke.
Monday through Friday Mr. Harvey shared his commentary on the affairs of the world in his News and Comment. At the end of each weekday broadcast he would sign off with a chipper, “Good day.” On Saturdays he shared The Rest of the Story. After telling an always impactful version of one adventure, discovery, or invention, The Rest of the Story was always smartly summarized with, “And that’s the rest of the story.” The reliability of his demeanor made him more than a voice on the radio. He became someone I felt I knew. He became someone who was an active part of my life. He was like family.
I guess the thing I miss most about Paul Harvey and his broadcasts is the clear and simple way he shared his thoughts. Whether you agreed with his point of view or not, it was always easy to see why he believed what he did or why the story needed to be told.
There was something comforting in the cadence of his speech and the tone of his voice. (I much prefer it to the condescending tones of many newscasters and radio voices today.) When Paul spoke there was power in his words and a quality that let you know his intentions were genuine when he presented information.
Another element to Mr. Harvey’s character that I miss was his clear and constant devotion to his beloved wife Lynne or “Angel,” as he called her. I still remember hearing him speak of her when she was diagnosed with cancer. His heartbreaking account of her suffering and the prayer for healing made me pray for her and all those suffering from the ravages of cancer. After she passed, their son, Paul Harvey Jr., took over at the microphone. While Harvey Jr. did a wonderful job, I always felt I had lost two people in my life with the passing of “Angel” and the absence of Paul Sr.
When Paul Harvey died in 2009, his son said, “millions have lost a friend.” It felt all too true. What were we going to do without that sweet persona coming to us via the radio waves, selling us Bose radios and Select Comfort mattresses, and sharing the world and its stories through his particular perspective?
In 2013 Dodge paid tribute to farmers and Paul Harvey in their Super Bowl XLVII commercial. The commercial was narrated by Harvey reciting his own poem, “So God Made a Farmer.” I bawled like a baby when this commercial aired (and I am dripping with tears right now as I write this post because I just watched the commercial again.) I miss the fact that Paul Harvey understood that it took those serving in the dirty and “simple” jobs to make our world great.
Growing up in that milk barn listening to Paul Harvey, and serving thousands of cups of coffee as he told his tales, my life was touched by his broadcasts. I know that the days of just sitting and listening to stories on the radio are probably dwindling, but for just one morning, I would love to wake up and hear, “Hello, Americans! This is Paul Harvey! Stand byyy for newws!”
I miss his stories. I miss the simplicity of hearing what was going on around the world from a point of view that supported morals, values, and keeping the family at the heart of the home. I miss appreciation for those who do the tough jobs. I miss Paul Harvey.
Today I encourage you to recall you favorite Paul Harvey story or just take the time to think back to something that was a constant in your younger life. Remember something that brought you comfort or taught you valuable lessons. Put your Intentery into sharing those meaningful and joyful elements of life. We never know how our words and actions might lead to the rest of the story…
By: Melanie A. Peters
P.S. Paul Harvey is definitely on my list of people to have lunch with when I get to heaven.