Goodbye George Esper, a good friend
When one is knee-deep in trying to get the semester's newsroom up and running, it is easy to let the rest of the world go by until something jerks you like a cold shower on the back of the neck.
And so it was when I finally got a second to glance at things early this morning only to find my friend and former AP colleague George Esper had died.
The tributes have been many, and there's little I can add except to remember how I came to know George when he was in Boston and I ran the AP's Providence, R.I., office There wasn't a time we saw each other in Boston that he didn't invite me into his office to chat, to lend some advice, to hear some gripe and shake a knowing head.
I remember one time I asked him to speak to Rhode Island's SPJ chapter on a Saturday afternoon. He not only drove down but did so early, suggested we get lunch, and spent more than an hour recalling current and past stories that had us both laughing and knowingly shaking our heads.
I had a chance to talk again with George, gee, maybe a year ago now, maybe longer - time becomes a gauzy thing sometimes.
I knew he was in West Virginia at WVU, and it was one of those calls I kept saying I have to make - and one of those that always seems to get too easily shunted aside by other events - things that when we look back on them are truly trivial. George graciously took time to chat for half an hour. I'm glad I made that call. It was so good to hear his voice, one I will never forget and will always be sad to know is now silenced.