Today a friend of mine shared a YouTube video on Facebook that was a tribute to police officers written by Paul Harvey. Of course it was a touching tribute especially amidst everything occurring in our world today, but hearing Paul Harvey’s classic mid-America radio accent brought back a flood of memories.
Growing up we spent a lot of time at my grandparents who always had the radio on in their house and barn. In addition, my mom worked from home so when she went to town, so did we. I don’t mean to sound old here, but this was before Bluetooth capability so you either listened to the radio or CDs in the car and often times when we were buzzing from place to place it was the radio. Well one of the local radio stations out of LaGrange, KBUK, broadcasted Paul Harvey’s daily “Rest of the Story” segment shortly after the Texas State Network News at the top of the noon hour. The local radio host would chime in briefly between the two segments and say “and now here is Paul Harvey with the rest of the story”. As he muttered those 12 words, my brother and I did too…suddenly the radio host had two co-hosts. Now at a young age, after we introduced Paul Harvey, my brother and I were the least bit concerned about “the rest of the story”, but through his storytelling capability, memorable voice and look of interest from the adults we couldn’t help but listen to his 4 minute segment even if we didn’t know who John D. Rockefeller was, why we cared that the Ohio River didn’t have any bedrock to build a bridge in the late 1800s or what the placebo effect is. We listened anyways.
As we grew older, more and more stories became of interest as we understood the world around us. Suddenly, we took an interest towards Paul Harvey’s stories and became excited if we actually knew who or what he was talking about! It really is true, you do get wiser with age.
Now, right around the time I got my driver’s license is probably when I stopped listening to “the rest of the story” for a few reasons. One, because well I had control of the radio now and Bluetooth connectivity was also a thing and two, he passed away right around this time and I’m not too sure if KBUK continued to broadcast reruns or not. Nonetheless, until this video popped up on my newsfeed today I hadn’t given Paul Harvey much thought.
Well, as I scrolled through my Facebook and pressed play on this video and was greeted by that classic voice, I thought I should pause it and start it over so that I could give him his formal introduction of “now here is Paul Harvey with the rest of the story”. Of course I didn’t do this, but after watching the video I did track down “The Paul Harvey Show” podcast and got immersed into listening to various 4 minute segments. I learned that Merle Haggard almost escaped from San Quentin with his friend, but at the last minute decided not to in which his friend got caught and received the death penalty, 40 inventions that took place during the golden age of railroad invention in the 19th century were invented by women and John Hertz (founder of Hertz rentals) is noted for establishing yellow as the standard color for taxis, among other notable things. I just kept listening to story after story and you don’t even want to guess how many 4 minute segments you can listen to in a day.
Now I realize that Paul Harvey has his critics and while it’s questionable if all his stories are true, there is no denying his enticing storytelling ability. It’s not until the last 30 seconds that he reveals the person, place or thing he just spent the last 3 minutes and 30 seconds talking about, not to mention the way he told the story and suspense building up to this reveal was just as interesting as the reveal! As I listened, I mentally tried to figure out who or what he was talking about before he gave it away at the end and said “and now you know the rest of the story”.
Now, besides the fond memories it brought back of spending time with my grandparents or riding around with my mom, I actually found his stories interesting compared to 12 or 15 years ago. I love learning new things, hearing about people’s background and keeping my history skills sharp…and this is exactly what Paul Harvey did. He combined all three into a 4 minute segment, 6 days a week, for all to hear.
So I believe the next time I head out the door, I’ll connect to the Bluetooth in my car, turn on the podcast and it’ll be just like old times…except I’ll actually know what he is talking about and I won’t be faced with possibility of missing “the rest of the story” if I’m not in a position to tune in just after the noon hour…..I wonder what Paul Harvey would say about today’s technology?