When I read his stuff, I hear his voice in my head. Not mine. His. I have known his voice almost all my life. A voice of quiet, understated intelligence. A voice of the streets, yet educated and wise. A voice of tolerance and equality long before it became popular for a white man to accept the black man as his equal - as his friend.
Erudite. Urbane. At home with hookers and saints. Priest and rabbi. Presidents, mayors, steel workers and busman all knew him and called him friend. A common man with a voice heard beyond his size and stature.
His name was Studs Terkel. He died yesterday. A great American voice is silenced by old age and infirmity.
But when I read his stuff, I hear his voice in my head. Not mine.
Perhaps his voice isn't as silent, and silenced, as I thought.
Rest in peace, Studs. And when you meet God, be sure to give him that piece of your mind you've always made available to whomever it was in charge of things.
Hope Dies Last. Working. Go to your library and read them.