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 Happy birthday, Ernie

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PostSubject: Happy birthday, Ernie   Mon Jan 25, 2010 6:54 pm

Last Updated: January 25. 2010 5:17PM
Tom Gage
Happy birthday, Ernie

Ernie Harwell turned 92 on Monday.

He didn't take calls, and that's understandable. He could not be interviewed, and that's also understandable. As we know, he's not well.

Recently he had his fourth surgery since his cancer was diagnosed. He was taken to the hospital by ambulance.

But I can almost hear him saying, as would be his humble way, "They got tired of me there and sent me home."

It is at home where the Hall of Fame broadcaster rests.

It is at home where he gathers what strength he can.

It is at home where he still feels well enough at times to write, to laugh, and to continuously know what he's meant to us all.

At last count Ernie has received 17,000 letters, cards or other forms of correspondence.

They've come from New Zealand. They've come from Japan. They've come from those thanking him for having a profound influence on their lives -- such as saving them.

Indeed, he's received notes from those who at one time contemplated suicide, only to be coaxed out of it in one way or another by the sound of his voice.

It was William Wordsworth who wrote more than 200 years ago that "nameless, unremembered acts of kindness and love" are the "best portion of a good man's life."

Ernie's acts of kindness and love should remain nameless, but they aren't unremembered.

If I'd been able to get in touch with him, or had been able to sit down with him as I did on his 90th birthday, I would probably have come away with the same thought as always.

That it was my celebration, not his. That it was my special day, not his.

Ernie has a way of making you feel that way. Special.

An interview wasn't entirely about him. It was about you. He would turn it that way. How have you been? How is the family?

Plus, returning to his roots, he'd always inquire about newspapers and journalism in general.

He has the gift of making you feel better than you did.

At 90, we reviewed the decades of his life, one by one. What was he doing when he was 10, when he was 40, when he was 70.

At 91, we laughed about the candles on his cake, and how it was better to limit them.

At 92, we can only wish him well as, in his own words, his life's journey nears its end.

To the man who's received 17,000 best wishes, here is the 17,001st.

From The Detroit News: http://detnews.com/article/20100125/OPINION03/1250423/1129/sports0104/Happy-birthday--Ernie#ixzz0dfRJXD2m


“It takes pitching, hitting and defense. Any two can win. All three make you unbeatable.”    
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