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On Wednesday morning, Feb. 17, 2021, I remember turning on the radio to listen to “The Rush Limbaugh Show.” My wife was with me, and when she heard Rush’s wife, Kathryn’s, voice, she grabbed my hand and started to cry. Instinctively, she knew the news Kathryn was about to impart. I believe I was in denial, as I tried to reassure my wife that Kathryn was on to let Rush’s listeners know about his health status. It had been awhile since he had hosted his show, and I just knew his cancer treatments were taking a toll but that he would be back soon. To my dismay, my wife was correct.
Even though I knew that day would come, you can never prepare for such gut-wrenching news. In my world, “The Rush Limbaugh Show” was an almost daily occurrence. I counted on his wisdom and wit to help me repel the liberal, biased media bombardment conservatives endure. I took it for granted that he would always be there, advocating for traditional American values, shining light into the darkness and deceit in which liberals and progressives operate. With all the obstacles he overcame during his career and life, surely he could beat back his cancer. But God had other plans. His talent he loaned Rush was now due, and in God’s infinite wisdom, it was time for Rush to come home.
I’ve heard and read how Rush saved AM radio, how his success helped others start their professions in talk radio. Many testimonials were written and spoken by recipients of Rush’s generosity and his influence in helping others with their careers and success. I am what you might call a Rush enthusiast. I never met him, never phoned into his show, never was a recipient of a new iPhone. However, I was a three-hour-a-day listener, a great admirer of his insights, out-of-the-box thinking, fantastic wit, and sense of humor. Even with, as he said, “half my brain tied behind my back — just to make it fair,” liberals and media elites never stood a chance. He eviscerated their arguments and revealed their banality. Rush’s montages of media personalities and liberal politicians repeating the exact phrases and descriptions are classic. (Remember former Vice President Dick Cheney’s “gravitas.”)
He was the Maha Rushie, America’s Anchorman, El Rushbo, and the Doctor of Democracy. He was a practitioner of go big or go home. He was also an anchor for me, keeping me steady in a stormy sea of liberal lies, distortions, and obfuscations. His exhortation to the mainstream media of “Do not panic — your show prep will continue” reaffirmed that Rush would be right back after an “obscene profit break.”
I was fortunate that I had a U.S. Postal Service city letter-carrier job. During the majority of my career, I had a mounted delivery route. This meant that I delivered mail to customers’ mailboxes from my truck. Because of this, I could put my radio on and listen to Rush for his show’s total of three hours. I hated delivering a parcel or a letter to a customer’s door during Rush’s show. It required me to leave my vehicle and radio. When I approached a customer’s house that I knew had a parcel, I often hoped my timing would have me pull up to the house just as Rush went to a commercial break.
I shared Rush’s love of the Christmas season. As a city letter carrier, I felt I was an intrinsic part of the Christmas spirit. Delivering cards, letters, and packages (even with wrong addresses, as I knew all my customers’ names and correct addresses) made me feel like one of Santa’s helpers. I enjoyed how my customers would decorate their homes and see their family and friends come to visit. It was the spirit of the season. Even when vehicles blocked mailboxes, I would happily dismount my postal vehicle and ensure I delivered the Christmas mail to each mailbox. Yes, even the advertisements!
Part of delivering mail at this time of year also meant I could listen to Rush play Mannheim Steamroller Christmas tunes as Rush’s bumper music. When Rush would say his year-end goodbye right before Christmas, the song he played in the background was Mannheim Steamroller’s rendition of “Stille Nacht” (“Silent Night”). While that played in the background, Rush, never taking us for granted, would humbly and earnestly thank his millions of listeners for all the support and kindness he felt from us. I’m sure his millions of listeners were also thanking him in their hearts for being there behind the EIB Network microphone.
When Rush finished his thank-you and “Stille Nacht” came to a close, a contradiction of emotions fell upon me. I was happy to hear Rush give his year-end remarks, but I was also sad that I couldn’t listen to him again until the following year began. I thought of Rush like family, and now he was gone for Christmas. I know it was his time to spend with his family and friends, but I still longed to hear his voice.
Little did I know that last Christmas would be Rush’s final Christmas. Again, he thanked his loyal listeners and discussed how he wasn’t sure how much longer he could keep doing his show. I feel sorrow come over me during this Christmas when I hear Mannheim Steamroller Christmas music but especially when I hear “Stille Nacht.” Rush is gone — my adviser, truth detector, and warrior. He is up in heaven this Christmas, celebrating our savior’s birth with the man himself. Congratulations, Rush, you took great care of the talent loaned to you from God.
There once was a man from Missouri
Some described him as mean and quite surly
But his wisdom and wit
Made libs have a fit
He was taken from us way too early