SIMPSON: Goodbye, Andy Rooney

I like Andy Rooney. For one thing, he is older than I am and I have always been taught to respect my elders. And, he is a war correspondent and a holder of the Bronze Star. Being a combat veteran and Bronze Star holder myself, I can relate to Mr. Rooney. I wish I had his wit and ability to use humor in writing essays.

Just think about it. For over 30 years he has sat at his desk, on "60 Minutes," looking out at us from the TV screen, delivering his essays with frankness, honesty and conviction. Andy told it like it was and we loved him for it.

Oh, he wasn't always politically correct. In fact, if you remember, CBS suspended him once for his remarks about gays and blacks. I guess after 30 years of writing and making TV comments we have to expect he would not please everyone.

So why are we writing about Andy Rooney this week? Well, because he is leaving "60 Minutes" this week and his loyal followers will miss him. He has given us well over 1,000 of his special essays and since the 1970s has entertained us on Sunday evenings. Andy is one of a kind in spite of being so outspoken.

Come to think of it, another reason I like Andy Rooney is because he admitted not knowing who Lady Gaga was. I confess that until she recently appeared on a popular dance show I didn't know much about her either.

Maybe she chose to be known as Gaga because of her long name -- Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta. She is a pop singer, song writer, and I'm Big Band, not pop. Maybe Mr. Rooney isn't a pop fan either.

Actually, like many WW II soldiers, I remember Andy Rooney as a writer for the Army newspaper Stars and Stripes. He covered some of the events we encountered in the field. Who could ever forget how it felt to liberate some of the prisoners confined in concentration camps run by the Germans.

Andy is a well-recognized writer. He penned at least 14 books and won an Emmy. He always felt he was doing some good with the words he put down on paper even when some of those words caused controversy.

Remember his remarks about Native Americans complaining about teams with names like Redskins? If I recall correctly, Rooney said the real problem here was we took away the country from the Indians, they want it back and we won't give it to them.

So it is good-bye. Andy is leaving the air an we will miss his uniqueness and his few choice words.

We will also miss his fearless voice and yes, even his sometimes mundane topics like shoe laces, salad oil and the like.

Go ahead, Andy, you have earned the right to ride off into the sunset if you have a mind to.

If ever you can, please come back for a visit. We will be here to welcome you, God willing.

Jack Simpson is a former educator, veteran, author and a law enforcement officer. His column appears each Friday. For past columns, visit www.rockdalecitizen.com or www.newtoncitizen.com.