It would be impossible for me to write today and not think about the passing of the great journalist and American, Walter Cronkite. Like most in my generation, his authoritative yet natural and unassuming demeanor made him the favorite newsman at our home during my formative years. The timing of his death, within a few days of the 40th anniversary of Neil Armstrong’s famous small step and Apollo 11, makes Mr. Cronkite’s passing even more poignant. Since his death on Friday, I enjoyed watching the timeless replays of his live on television reaction to man’s first face-to-face meeting with the Man in the Moon: “Oh Boy…”
Now that’s authentic understatement that said it all. No one comes close these days. By comparison, Lou Dobb’s evening vitriolic rants seem staged and are no example for today’s aspiring journalists, if there are any. Walter Cronkite was my example and the space program was my introduction to the idea that we humans are capable of almost anything.
My father, an engineer for the United States Department of Defense, was the one who taught me we’d all be better off if we humans set that potential to good use. He knew what he spoke of since he had served in World War II and witnessed the horrors of war. Fortunately, he also witnessed the wonders of the world when he worked on the Apollo Mission’s lunar landing module. I remember his delayed, emotion-choked reaction in our living room when the Eagle landed. “You’re damn right it did.” My Dad was also pretty good at authentic understatement. Walter Cronkite and our space program embodied optimism and a spirit of adventure, and fascinated me. I even dreamed, very briefly, of being an astronaut someday. I was planning to write about how interesting it is to work here in the Adirondacks, how important it is to pay attention to how places make you feel, why people like the great barons of the early 1900s came to the Adirondacks, and how they used to build really cool Adirondack Great Camps which we have for sale, and so on. Stay tuned for that, but Walter Cronkite passed away and the anniversary of one small step is tomorrow, and so you get this. There is, however, a connection from my memories to the type of people living in the Adirondacks. Maybe it is this spirit of adventure and optimism that drives some humans to do crazy things like travel around the world until they end up feeling “Oh boy” good in a place like the Adirondacks.