Everybody's got a right to personal happiness and fulfillment, I guess, and if Gary Eichten wants to try life at a different pace, that may be up to him. We'll see. But I'll bet anybody one of Gary's famous Jacksons that he'll be more of a force as a retired person than most people are at the height of their careers.
Over on Facebook, we're inviting listeners to tell us their favorite Eichten stories. I don't have a story, exactly, but an observation: Gary's interviews with then-Gov. Jesse Ventura were a public service of the first order. Ventura thought the media were jackals, and he became more and more unwilling to explain himself to them. But somehow Ventura had a soft spot for Eichten, and Eichten capitalized on the opportunity. He'd grill the governor, and the governor would come back for more. I listened to those interviews from my desk at the Star Tribune with a mixture of admiration and envy.
Gary has done lots of great work besides that, and most recently picked up a Graven Award to prove it. The Premack judges who gave it to him cited "his commitment to public affairs journalism, excellent interviewing skills and deep knowledge of Minnesota politics." We'll all hear more about his career between now and January. But I'm still betting that we'll hear a lot from him after January as well. (To be clear, notice that I said I'll bet any body -- up to a maximum of one, that is -- "one of Gary's famous Jacksons." Not one of mine.)
I wish I could read the bumper sticker on top of his monitor - I love the one on the bottom: "Age and treachery will always overcome youth and skill."
Looking forward to another Don Shelby-type retirement: Shelby is turning up everywhere and I hope Gary will be too.
I hope he gets to interview a president (either Obama or a former) before he retires!
I'll miss that voice, and the insightful questioning...does anyone know if Gary used to do a show on NPR called "The Radio Reader?"