Editors Note:


EDITOR'S NOTE: Fresh off a three year managerial stint, your friendly neighborhood lenslinger is back on the street and under heavy deadline. As the numbing effects of his self-imposed containment wear off, vexing reflections and pithy epistles are sure to follow...

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Grahamapalooza

Sat SummitAs expected, my day at the Billy Graham Library dedication was long and arduous. But thanks to the seasoned pros I work with, it was not miserable. In fact, chicanery abounded throughout the day's reverence - and I got the snapshots to prove it! I'll share some of those in a later post. For now though, let's stick to the nuts and bolts...

Billy Graham Arrives" I feel like I've been attending my own funeral!" quipped the Reverend Billy Graham. You would too had three ex Presidents shown up to heap acclaim upon your life's work. But Bush, Carter and Clinton ccame to praise the 88 year old evangelist, not bury him. His new library is a beautiful barn-like structue with a giant cross built into the architecture, but no where on the structure will you find Billy Graham's name. That's the way he wanted it. Whatever your philosophical bent, you gotta dig this man's humility. If all television evangelists had to be this classy, crooks like Jimmy Swaggart would be out of a job.

Sweat HeadDid I mention it was hot? Jungle floor hot. In fact, the heat was one reason tempers flared in the camera scrum. Take this guy for example: a towering, dripping wet Rueters photographer, who nearly soiled himself when a certain lenslinger mistakenly crowded his shot. Minutes later, he birthed another bovine when a nice old gentleman from the Graham camp told him where to stand. Where's an overzealous Secret Service agent when you need one?

Clinton ProfileA word on Bill Clinton. I didn't always like him. It wasn't his policies so much, but his penchant for ugly women. Then of course George W. Bush took office and through a protracted series of global bumblings, made this silver haired lothario not seem so bad. Not that it was my first time seeing him. Years ago, he made me and several other thousand folk wait in the pouring rain at Grainger Stadium in Kinston, while he trolled for digits aboard Air Force One. All forgiven. Today, however, he was right on time, ambling into view alongside Bush the Elder and Jimmy Carter. As he did, I couldn't help but note the man's inherent swagger. Maybe it's all those SNL skits, but I cannot look upon the man without assuming he's harboring some illicit intention - even when he's trying his best to church it up.

Over the ShoulderSpeaking of church, I spent the day praying to the Gods of field repair. What is it about traveling out of town that makes well cared for gear go all whacky? I won't bore you with the details, but let's just say it's tough to interview scores of Christians when your every microphone is so obviously possessed by demons. Maybe this guy can help...

Betty LynnWorld leaders - PPFFT! Immortal preachers - Next! Rock star reporters - puh-LEASE! For my lack of cash, there was only present notable worthy of adulation and you're looking at her. Betty Lynn counts herself as just another Billy Graham admirer, but to millions of people she will always be Barney Fife's sweetheart, Thelma Lou. Perhaps it's a Tarheel thing, but I never pass up a chance to visit with a former resident of Mayberry. Miss Betty was delightful as always and we chatted about our last encounter in Mount Airy - a jam-packed Andy Griffith affair in which the late great Howard Morris gave the event organizers a fit by channeling his most signature character, Ernest T. Bass.

I love North Carolina...

3 comments:

in-gun-ear said...

Microphones and transmitters, I am your man!!

Anonymous said...

Son....speaking from your old man's point of view. I hold few people in awe like I do Rev. Graham. This guy has talked the talk and walked the walk in a way no other I know has. He has been at the top of the heap and almost alone on the pile for as long as I can remember....which is getting to be a long damn time. I'm glad you got to cover this event. My guess is in time it will become a fond and proud memory...The old goat.

Marie said...

I can not wait for the time that we bump into each other covering a story then are forced to work around each other. You, my darling, suffer the same wonderful attitude as myself-- God Bless the Thelma Lous and curse the Reuters' *bleeps*.