Reading to each other

noonanSince we were first together, Larry and I have read to each other–over breakfast, while making dinner, or just when something good struck the eye.  This morning, we were both reading different articles by Peggy Noonan. I read him this, from her article about learning her craft in the Wall Street Journal:

“In 1980, the Mount St. Helens volcano in Washington state erupted. It really blew, with an eruption plume that was 15 miles high; it spread ash along a dozen states. It was my job, over those days, to call everyone I could think of nearby or in surrounding towns to do audiotape interviews about what they had seen, experienced, and what was the latest.

erruptionOne morning, a week or so into the story, I tracked down a guy who knew what was going on near the volcano…he told me that the biggest problem right now was the long lines at the post office. Everyone in town was picking up volcanic ash and putting it in envelopes and mailing it to their friends. The ash was slipping out of the envelopes and clogging the machines. I found this comic and lovely—how do we respond to disasters? we get mementos!—but I thought it insufficiently serious for a sober network news broadcast, so I didn’t give it to my editor to use.

…I mentioned it to our morning anchor, a young man named Charles Osgood, who was famous for writing the news with cleverness and wit. The minute that I told him about the post office, Charlie’s ears perked up. Put that on top, he said.

I was startled. I thought it was just a little story that would be interesting to us. But he knew that something interesting to us is likely to be interesting to everyone. And though it was a small anecdote, it said a lot about the mood around Mount St. Helens: It tells us the emergency is over and human nature has kicked in.”

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