Tuesday, January 02, 2007

A sad loss

What a way to start a new year, learning of the death of a respected long-time collegue: Michael Browning died Saturday.

He'd been gone from the Miami Herald since 1999 (after 20 years there), at the Palm Beach Post since then.

He was an amazing writer, possibly the best I've ever read in daily journalism. Editors used to say that Browning made a point of getting at least one word that no one ever heard of before in every story.

He was such a shy man, but always was appreciative and grateful for help on stories. He usually expressed his thanks in notes. I wish I'd kept them all. But there's one that I copied down because it was so typical:
You are a Parnassus of pearl-bright and proficious advice. I depart awed and enlightened. Have a nice weekend. Allbest.

I wish the Miami Herald had been able to run more than the Palm Beach Post's obituary. But I guess all those who knew him there are gone, too. Too bad.

Let me post part of one more message Michael sent last year when I downloaded Gene Miller's online tributes for him:
I still remember that vy funny cartoon you had pasted up near the door to the library. A mouse is speaking to his lieutenants: "Get me everything we have on cats," he says. I squooked with laughter.

SQUOOKED? How typical. Actually it was probably Gay Nemeti who posted the cartoon, but I'll treasure these communications from a dear colleague forever. And reading those tributes to Michael, now.



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