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Following In Giant Footsteps

As I write these first few lines on the back page of Kentucky Living—the home of David Dick’s wonderful columns for the past 21 years—an old deja vu returns.

Throughout my career in broadcast and print journalism, it has been both my good fortune and curse to have followed legendary personalities in nearly every assignment.

Here I go again.

In the years I knew David, I would have assumed that because we were about the same height and build, we might have worn nearly the same size shoes. Yet suddenly his old shoes look way too big for me.

I remember the same feeling when I began writing the “Kentucky Column” for The Courier-Journal in Louisville 31 years ago, following in the giant ink footprints left by the beloved Allan Trout and Joe Creason. And again when I took a seat behind the microphones at WHAS radio and television for the first time to deliver newscasts that once were voiced by the likes of Pete French, Paul Clark, and, yes, David Dick before he was hired by CBS News.

Not only had I been a friend of David’s since his return to Kentucky from CBS, but I was always admiring of his work and was especially touched by his gentle spirit and uncommon modesty.

Lexington Herald-Leader columnist Paul Prather wrote a moving tribute to David a few weeks after his funeral. “You couldn’t make him brag on himself,” says Prather, who remembers asking David how he won an Emmy for his network reporting about the attempted assassination of presidential candidate George Wallace in 1972.

Actually, he had a talented film crew who managed to pick up the gunshots fired by the would-be assassin, David said. He’d won the Emmy because of his film crew.

Yep, that’s the David Dick I knew.

My hope is that in the months ahead, my words will be worthy of this space that he filled so eloquently for so long with stories about the people, places, and everyday life in this 25.8-million acre socio-geographic jigsaw puzzle called Kentucky.

David and I shared one most essential qualification for this job: a love for Kentucky that’s as wide as the Mississippi and as deep as Lake Cumberland.

When David and Lalie invited me to pen the foreword for their book Home Sweet Kentucky a few years ago, I wrote that when they looked into Kentucky’s eyes, they saw clear through to her soul.

With your help and with grace from the Almighty, my hope is to continue looking into those eyes and sharing with you many more Kentucky moments worth remembering—if not with David’s remarkable gift for words, then certainly with his love for the subject.

Oh friend David, what size are these big shoes you have left me?

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