"and that's the way it is"... my husband commented that watching the Sunday morning news tribute to him was like watching a timeline of our lives - forty years ago when Walter Cronkite was bursting with enthusiastic joy at Apollo 11, my husband and I were watching the broadcast about a mile apart from each other, him at his summer job at the beach club, me at home with my parents, unknown and unmet to each other.
A couple of years ago, I was in a Mystic, CT bookstore about to purchase an armload of nautical and sea-themed books when I noticed the older woman, definately a retired librarian type, very proper and knowledgeable, looking startled and a bit starstruck. The only other people browsing were several older men and a mom and child who were wandering out. I realized she was staring at one of them, a tall, dignified looking man in a windbreaker and boating casual clothes...it was Walter Cronkite. You could see she was the type of woman who would never ask for an autograph, too polite to invade some one's space but - she couldn't help herself. Her personal exception was right in front of her. She stammered out an admiring sentence and he very graciously began to speak with her. His pals, standing near me, bore expressions of resigned impatience. "He gets that a lot, doesn't he?" I remarked. One of them chuckled, the other rolled his eyes. "You have no idea." We waited, them for their friend, me to buy my books, but we stood a respectful distance from them because we all realized that for her, this was an important moment in her life - and Mr. Cronkite honored that moment with grace and kindness. He was the real deal. Good-bye, Walter Cronkite, and cheers to a life well-lived.