Background Switcher (Hidden)

Spring Robin

Monday, March 20, 2006

a painting from Letters from Eden (Houghton Mifflin), my essay collection due out this fall.

Today was innn-sane. My NPR editor wanted me to record a commentary for the first day of spring. She emailed me with the request as we were leaving for Chicago last Thursday. I wrote two pieces on the plane, and emailed them to her from our hotel that night. The first day we'd both be at work was today (Monday). Which is also the first day of spring. Which meant that the piece would have to be recorded today. But Ohio University in Athens (1 1/2 hours away) is on spring break, and the radio station where I record my pieces had a skeleton crew. My beloved engineer Jeff Liggett was on vacation. So I spent the morning trying to locate someone who could make the live connection with NPR in Washington so we could record the piece. Met only with answering machines, I finally jumped in the car at 12:45, trusting that SOMEBODY would appear at the station by the time I got there at 2:15. We had to have the piece laid down and edited by 4 pm!
Director of Technical Operations Steve Skidmore saved the day, once again. He was waiting for me when I dashed in, scripts in hand. We recorded three pieces, one of them about robins. It aired twice on All Things Considered this evening. If you'd like to hear it, there's an audio file on the NPR web site. I'd have loved to let you know earlier, but I was flat out all day just trying to get it edited and recorded. I've got to spend three hours in the car for each piece that airs. Living in the backwoods has a few drawbacks, but they're more than balanced by the pluses. Like experiencing the things I get to write about in the commentaries!!
When the commentary aired at 6:20 p.m., the kids, Chet and I were gathered in the kitchen. Chet sat down in the middle of the kitchen floor, staring fixedly at the speaker atop the cabinets. He looked from the speaker to me, then back at me. My mouth wasn't moving, but my voice was booming through the kitchen! He tossed his head and yodeled. He danced on his hind legs. If a dog could laugh, Chet Baker laughed then. That doggie always gets the joke.


[Back to Top]