A Tribute to Ink on the Bed Sheets


July 14, 2014 11:34AM

John Seigenthaler passed away late last week. He was a larger than life character. His life stories could fill volumes—much less entire books. And he had a way with words that few can match. My good friend Ashley Elizabeth Graham is one such person that puts us all to shame when it comes to the English language, so rather than string my own words together in a jumbled mess, I’ll fill this space with her tribute to this Nashville icon written on the day of his passing. – Justin Owen

There was a mighty man, a devout Catholic, who was so in love with his wife of 59 years that her only complaint was his always coming to bed with books and pens, getting ink on the sheets. He never graduated college and craved the wisdom that came from touching the history of the world. Confidant of presidents, friend of the downtrodden, and fierce protector of the mighty truth found in our sacred national documents—especially the First Amendment. He loved words—all of them—the people who wrote them, the ideas they set into motion, and the people who read them every morning in the Tennessean. There once was a little girl who loved words. All words—even though she had trouble spelling them. She loved stories and the news. Her mother insisted she read books and her father, the paper. She grew to fall in deep love with the idea that words moved mountains; strung together they could change the world. John Seigenthaler passed away today. Reporter, Editor, Writer, Publisher, and giant of the truth. I grew up with his Sunday show “A Word on Words.” I went to MTSU where he had a Chair of Excellence. I, too, began college with the idea of becoming a teacher and like Mr. Seigenthaler was captured by the wind of public service—though that is where the similarities between myself and this giant end. I regret, deeply, never taking a few moments to let him know what his trail did for mine. I pray he knows his memory will be eternal. – Ashley Elizabeth Graham