There’s a journalist that I miss terribly. He wasn’t a face on the news, he was the behind-the-scenes executive producer for Ted Koppel on Nightline. I didn’t get to “know” Leroy Sievers until I signed up for the daily Nightline e-mails, which he wrote. Slowly I became aware that these daily throwaway e-mails, intended, of course, as a marketing hook for the television program, were really well written. Some of them stepped outside of their marketing purpose and became “found prose.” Some of them I held on to for a long time, like the heart-stopping letter he wrote about his experiences in Ruwanda, traveling with Ted Koppel and the Nightline team. I wish I had saved all those Nightline letters, but I didn’t.
And now this honest man, this truly excellent writer, is gone from our world. He died in August 2008, just a little over a year ago. He died from cancer, and he left an amazing legacy in the form of a blog titled “My Cancer,” hosted on the NPR website.
I love reading his words, even when they break my heart. Which happens, when he writes about the effects of his cancer. One of my favorite entries was written less than a month before his death. It’s not necessarily profound, and it’s probably not his best writing. But I just love it, because it’s about Jeeps, and it’s so… authentic. (I’ll copy it here; hope NPR doesn’t mind!)
There’s one other thing I’m going to miss about getting rid of the Jeep.
The subtle, secret Jeep owner’s wave.
Here’s how it works. If you’re driving your Jeep Wrangler, and you pass another Wrangler going the opposite way, you raise your fingers off the steering wheel in a subtle wave.
That’s all. Just a way of acknowledging that we all have cars that we think are cool.
So from me to all of you, here’s one last secret wave.
7:00 AM ET | 08- 1-2008
I miss my Jeep. And I miss Leroy Sievers.