A couple of passings that we should note today. I wish I had my usual time to devote to them, but I would be remiss in not saying something.
First, Solzhenitsyn. I don't know if young people can truly appreciate the impact he made. For that matter, I don't know that people of the time really understood it. When I was in high school Solzhenitsyn was a fashionable read, and I don't mean that critically. It was that he was seen in the same light as Tolkien, or Bradbury, or the other writers who captured the imaginations of young minds looking for something of substance. In lieu of any attempt on my part to add to the significance of the man's greatness (for who am I to try and instruct others in Solzhenitsyn? I hardly think people will wake up tomorrow wondering what Hadley thought of it all) I'd refer you to Jay Nordlinger's reminiscences of Solzhenitsyn, followed by a link to "the speech," entitled “A World Split Apart,” that summarized for so many the meaning of the struggle between good and evil, and why the fight against Communism was - and is - worth fighting. And he said it at a time when so many in this country lacked the courage to do so.
Some lives are lived greater than others, but that doesn't necessarily mean that other lives lack the impact. Skip Caray, of the famed Caray announcing family (son of Harry and father of Chip), and known to so many around the country from the days of the Braves on TBS, died today as well. Skip Caray had a warm and friendly presence, as if he and his listeners were sharing the Braves together. In his mind, the Braves weren't "his" team, they were "ours" - yours and his both. After Chip left the Cubs and came to the Braves, it was a pleasure listening to father and son sharing the love of baseball that fathers and sons are supposed to share. In retrospect, you have to recall the last Braves game last year, the last game to be broadcast on TBS before the new contract that replaced Braves games with a generic "Game of the Week." You could hear in Skip's voice how hard it was to understand why this was happening - weren't we all happy with the way things were? We've had a good thing going all these years, why stop now?
He was right, of course. Braves games had become a way of life for so many around the country: Braves fans who had moved way, but also baseball fans who didn't have a team of their own to root for. These were the fans who adopted the Braves, long before they became a powerhouse, and they adopted everything about them, including Skip Caray and the rest of the announcing crew (Pete Van Wieren and Don Sutton, among others). Like the greatest of the announcers, Skip Caray wasn't out to distract the fans from the game, and by not doing so he became an integral part of the game. He was smart, funny, smooth - and he will be missed.