My colleague Matt Diamond over at the WOLF is running a contest this week based on guessing the identities of TV and Movie news anchors. You know, fake news anchors (who presumably deliver fake news…).
Well it’s been two weeks since Canada Day,which was also the swan song of longtime CBC anchor Peter Mansbridge, who retired on July 1st.
I don’t really know Mansbridge very well at all…lots of folks do, however – especially those who connected with him here in town last year at the Beaver dinner at the Canoe Museum. In my case, though, I had enough of a connection to secure some narration from him for one of my many side projects. As busy as he was (and probably still is), he took the time to a) respond, and b) undertake the recording.
I made contact before the 2015 federal election, thinking ‘well, I’ll get the ask out there and maybe I’ll hear back and maybe I won’t.’ He’s busy, and the campaign was on, right?
Fact is he replied within a half hour. Sure he’d love to do it, he says, but he’s kind of up to his ears in the federal election campaign coverage and the forthcoming election, so let’s wait until that’s done and I’ll be happy to help out, he sez.
I was impressed by that. I’m nobody, really, and certainly not on his radar. But he seems like a decent fella with his feet firmly on the ground. But that’s not the best part. He replied on his BLACKBERRY…and there’s not too many of us Blackberry fans left…
I gave him until the New Year, and then in early January I sent him another message. Got a reply in a half hour, again. “Next week okay?” Sure, I reply. I had it in two days – some of his memories of Elvis Presley, actually. Probably right from the anchor desk, too.
And he still was a Blackberry man. Yah!
Fast forward to July 1st. His last day, and a big day in his work life. He signed off The National the night before in very understated fashion. No vaulted pronouncements about longevity, and so on. Just a brief, heartfelt goodbye and thanks (for watching) from the nation’s capital. The Prime Minister and Sophie stopped by the next day to wish him well. All very nice.
I let a week go by, and last weekend I sent him a very quick note from my Blackberry to wish him well on his retirement and so on.
He’s getting thousands of these emails, and notes from well-wishers the world over. I’ll likely not hear back – but it was important, I thought, to extend a bon voyage to him.
As it turned out, there he was – within a half hour. Just a quick little note to say thanks for the kind words etc., probably written from a dock somewhere on Georgian Bay.
I really appreciated that. But the moment was bittersweet.
He sent the reply from an iPhone. Obviously, in retirement he’s gone over to the other side.