Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The perfect touch

A good friend of mine forwarded me an essay about the late John Wooden by the L.A. Times' Bill Plaschke. "For your TMAS blog thingee," read the e-mail subject line. I suppose I can forgive my friend for referring to this blog as a "thingee," because the story he passed on is pretty damn good. It is, obviously, not something that was tossed off when Wooden died recently, but something that's the result of years of reporting, of being around Wooden (at least every now and then), of deep thinking, and of heart. It focuses on Wooden's devotion to his wife, who died in 1985. The tone of the piece is, I think, just about perfect -- emotional but not fawning.

A sample:

 ... in the middle of the bed, was a bundle of carefully scripted letters, all in the same intricate handwriting.
"Fan mail?" I asked.
"You might say that," he said.
The letters had been written by Wooden to Nell.
They contained humble descriptions of his day, gentle laughs over private jokes, eternal promises of his affection.
They had been written once a month, every month, since 1985.
They had been written after she died.