On Point, was so funny, wise, and inspiring.
He spoke of his roots here in central Illinois, growing up with a real sense of community, 4-H, communal farmwork among rugged individualist farmers, and his feeling that church was a place you went where all those people loved you--how that gave him the feeling that wherever he went in the world he would be similarly embraced.
And he was.
He also saw the horrors of the world, while they were happening, and reported on them as a journalist, and had to step away for a time, when he thought maybe telling the world what's happening does not actually stop what's happening, that maybe history isn't a progressive journey toward a better world.
This is surely an ongoing dilemma for many human beings. And journalists. But now he's back, interviewing people on all sorts of topics.
Ashbrook is the kind of journalist raised on Walter Cronkite, with an assumption that objectivity is a good thing to strive for, that you should try to get the real story and all sides of the story, but that journalism must be self-aware and self-critical and not blind to its own flaws and biases. He also thinks the opinion-based "news" is a lot of crap, and that was refreshing to hear.
There was also a great Swede joke, and general joshing about his dad and the phenomenal number of Presbyterians in the room.
As this was an event sponsored by Senior Professionals at Illinois State University, and the first Charles W. Bolen Memorial Lecture, there was a lot of "retired" wisdom in the room.
Of course wisdom never retires.
And since this is sometimes a book blog, here's the On Point hot summer reading list!