To brother Cromartie, with love
Those were glorious, fun-filled, intellectually stimulating days that probably have benefited the country indirectly through the enlightenment of more than 220 journalists from roughly 30 newspapers, magazines and broadcast networks.
Cromartie, though ill, had promised another this fall, but when I saw him recently, it was clear there'd be no more under his watch, if at all. The ravages of the cancer he had been fighting for more than a year were etched in his hollow cheeks and in eyes that betrayed a deep sadness. We pressed our foreheads together as if to connect our minds more fully, perchance to discover some elusive bit of information that would solve the riddle and reverse the course of events.
"It's horrible, horrible, just horrible," he whispered.
I doubt Cromartie feared death because he was a man of enduring faith, though he may have grieved the loss of a life well-lived but not yet finished. When he died Monday morning at 67, he left a void that will be felt by hundreds of friends, admirers and, of course, his family. For them -- and even the greater world for which he steadily prayed -- the loss is immeasurable.
And, yes, Miguel, it was a fabulous invitation.
Kathleen Parker's email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
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