Saturday, July 10, 2010

Illegitimi Non Carborundum

I tend to go on when someone I know passes.

I intend for this to not sound like an obituary. If it does, I apologize in advance. In reality, a little piece of our corner of the earth is passing away.

Our friend Paul Stueber is leaving us.

Not that way.

Paul is moving on to continue a storied career in broadcast journalism.

I consider him a friend. I hope he feels the same way. I don't know him well . Our paths haven't crossed as frequently as I would like. My fault, not Paul's.

Respect him? That would be understatement.

I met Paul while covering the crash of a jet at the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport.
My photographer and I were working the tall grass of the crash site when he pulled up on his motorcycle. I didn't know who he was until he introduced himself. Pretty cool.

About a year later, 1986, I decided to change jobs and move to WYOU-TV. I got treated pretty shabbily on the way out by my former employer. A local newspaper columnist, with a not so hidden agenda, decided to take me on because of my decision. It was something I could not and would not respond to. He'd love to see me mention him and his newspaper here. Not going to happen.

I was pretty low the morning the column appeared. As I prepared to cover the day's news, a knock came on my office door. A courier hand delivered a letter. It was on WNEP-TV stationary.

I fully expected I was about to get my chops busted. Nothing of the sort.

"Dear Kevin, Illegitimi Non Carborundum."

Now Sister Gabriel Marie had somehow managed to teach me enough Latin at Central Catholic High School that I knew what it said.

Translation; "Don't let the bastards grind you down!"

The rest I would prefer to keep between me and the writer.

It was signed, "Your friend, Paul Stueber."

All these years later, I have the letter.

Always within reach.

I immediately called to thank him. He wished me well in my future endeavors. Unlike every other time I'd heard that, he meant it.

Paul Stueber is first class. And if there was a class higher than first he'd be in that.

I hope those at his new television station will realize how lucky they are to learn at the knee of one of the legendary greats in broadcasting.

I won't say good-bye, just so long and in the words of a wise man and good friend, "Be well."

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