Good Bye, Neal

When I first went out into the woods to live, because there was no where else for me to go, my only communication with the outside world was a clock radio and a book of stamps. There was no cell phone service out there, no television, no telephone land line. I could only contact the outside world with a hand written letter, and what I knew of the world came through on the clock radio. And even the clock radio was sadly, so far from any transmitter, that it barely came in. But, there was one channel with scratchy, fuzzy, reception, that I was able to find. A talk radio station from Jacksonville, more than an hour away. It was nice to finally hear a voice out there, to have something of a companion to keep me from feeling totally alone. Even though I had Mario the Cat with me, it was nice to hear words other than the occasional “purrr” and “meow.” Conversations like that are limited.

Daily, I would wake just before sunrise, make some coffee, turn on the clock radio and hear for nearly 4 hours, the welcoming discussions of Neal Boortz. I can’t tell you how much I appreciated his voice. I can’t tell you how much I appreciated having the sound of another human alone in the woods with me. He was thought provoking, political, unabashed, and entertaining. If it had not been for that clock radio those first few months out there, I don’t know what I would have done. I don’t know what the loneliness would have done to my mind.

Six months later, I had made enough money knitting teddy bears to move out of the woods, and back into civilization, but still managed to catch his broadcast in something of the same way ever after. I’d wake at about 5am, make coffee, get to work knitting, and at 8am, I’d now stream his broadcast off the internet.

Today is Neal’s last broadcast. After 42 years of broadcasting from Atlanta, its now over as he moves into retirement, and a new path for himself. Even now, I sit here, listening to his show for the final time, knitting up teddy bears without feeling alone. Its somewhat sad knowing that the voice I had yearned for every morning to keep me from feeling alone will no longer be there, but I cannot thank him enough for giving a little homeless guy alone in the woods a sense of belonging and comfort.

Good bye, Neal. I surely will miss you as I knit my teddy bears in the morning. I’m going to miss your company. I no longer feel alone….I have an army of great friends all over the globe that you gave me the courage to meet.

 

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3 thoughts on “Good Bye, Neal

  1. I once had a co-worker with the name of Paul Harvey and he had to listen everyday to “the” Paul Harvey. It was a tribute to a good man. Just like your moving tribute to the man that kept you in touch, just a little bit, when you were out in the woods. Thanks for the reading, Gregory!

  2. Such a moving tribute, Gregory. It’s marvelous how the sound of another human voice can get us from Point A to Point B without our having noticed we’ve “moved.” In 1976 I had several brain hemorrhages from a ruptured aneurysm and had to spend almost six weeks flat on my back in a big hospital miles from home prior to surgery. I wish I could remember the name of the night-time radio host who carried me through those long hours alone. His voice was beyond soothing and the smooth jazz he spun was just the ticket for staying Zen through the whole experience. The hospital lights were dim and the sounds from the hallway muffled, and it was just me and The Voice until I managed to drift off. If I woke with a start and wondered briefly where I was, that Voice was still there to ground me. It’s been so many years that his name has buried itself somewhere in the gray matter of my treacherous brain … which doesn’t seem quite fair to him and what he gave me!

    Thank you for always sharing your heart with us … you have a unique way of making me recall my OWN blessings in life.

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