I wasn’t going to write a tribute to Rush, not that I didn’t want to but, because I didn’t think I had anything to add that hadn’t already been said or written more articulately and eloquently. However, last night, my wife said told me a story that was in itself a tribute to Rush that conveyed the impact he had on his listeners. People loved the man profoundly, maybe more than they even knew.
I listened to Rush on and off in the late 80s and early 90s. After I became a police officer in 1992, I, like so many millions of other Americans, became a regular listener. From time to time, I’d tell my wife she should listen to Rush. Unfortunately, at that time, she only knew the lies told by the political left about Rush. She said she just wasn’t interested.
Then, in the mid-90s, she began listening, or perhaps paying attention, while I had the radio on at home. By the late 90s, she was listening regularly—even without me, which lasted until, as I write this, yesterday. My wife is not quick to show emotions, which is not surprising for someone who spent 25 years as a firefighter. But something happened yesterday that she hadn’t expected.
After retiring from the fire department and getting a little bored, she decided she wanted something to do. She loves gardening, so she took a part-time job with an organic gardening company. Her headphones securely affixed, she loved listening to Rush while pruning or yanking weeds. A daily listener, she, of course, knew of Rush’s illness and that he had limited time on this earth. She thought she’d prepared herself emotionally for Rush to leave us. She was wrong.
On Wednesday, she listened as usual, as the familiar strains of the Pretenders’ My City Was Gone inviting her to listen. She was hoping for Rush’s return but thinking it was more likely Mark, Ken, or Todd would be filling in. Then she heard Kathryn’s voice. My wife sucked in a breath and stopped working. As Kathryn announced her beloved husband, Rush, had passed away, tears trickled and then flowed down my wife’s cheeks.
Other employees were working nearby, and she didn’t want them to see her crying. Then one of her co-workers walked toward her apparently about to ask a question, and she couldn’t avoid it. She wiped her eyes as best she could, but as her co-worker approached, she could see my wife’s red and moist eyes. She asked my wife, “Are you okay?” My wife told me this is a very nice young woman, but her politics wouldn’t have included listening to Rush. My wife looked at her and said, “We just had a death in the family.”