Day Two hundred seventy-six:

Nat and his granddaughter Zahrah..

This afternoon I had lunch with good buddy from my Chicago Tribune days — appropriate given that I am in Chicago.

Nat Sheppard was one of the star reporters in the Tribune’s Washington, DC bureau and that’s when we got to be colleagues and friends.  (Nat was hired away from the competition — The New York Times — a major coup for the Tribune).

He taught me how to travel — learning from him especially on our many trips to Haiti covering coups and insurrections during the mid 80s.  In 1988 I went down there three times (if I remember correctly) and each time it was with Nat.  And, as I recall, first class seats were all that were available on each of the legs from DC.

Nat and I share a fondness for S. Africa as well.  He was based in Nairobi during the latter years of apartheid and spent months in S. Africa covering the situation there.  Even then I was fascinated by S. Africa and fell in love with the place through Nat’s stories though I would never go there until 2001 after I met Nicki.

Nat’s been away from journalism for several years now and lives in a gorgeous Victorian in the northern part of Chicago.  It was such a great visit catching up with my old friend — sharing laughs, stories and hearing where he is headed now.

I look forward to being more in touch now that we’ve reconnected.

That was the thing that has struck me the most about this journey to the midwest.  It brought back so many memories — so many good ones — and I want to hold onto them and share them with my old friends as well as my family.  Those times were in my past, but I really want my kids to have them close because they shaped me in so many ways.  Telling the stories, preserving them, and passing them along has been something I’ve always done for others and now I’m much more conscious about doing it for our family.

And really glad that I could help make these photographic memories for Nat and his family, too.


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