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The Daily Nightly began on May 31, 2005. As Brian wrote in his first post it aims to provide a narrative of the broadcast day and a window into the editorial process at NBC Nightly News. Brian weighs in every weekday and NBC News correspondents and producers post regularly.

Brian Williams became the seventh anchor and managing editor in the history of NBC Nightly News on December 2, 2004. Read his full biography.

'Trading Places': Ann Curry

Everything is gray about him now -- his hair, his skin, but not Dad's eyes... full of mischief and sparkling green like a lily pond at sunset, they invite you to jump right in.

I always do, into our intense debates about politics and war and history and inevitably his lessons about life, part of his constant effort to teach me the value of being of some service to others so that at the end of my days I will know it mattered I was here. He started telling me that since before I can remember.

Now 77, as he approaches the end of his days, he has never seemed more alive. A hospital candy striper, health club Tai-Chi teacher, and senior citizens' club ballroom dancer, he is so happily busy that I must check his schedule before I visit.

You would never guess watching his whirling dervish energy that he has both a defibrillator and a pacemaker in his chest, reminders of his nearly fatal heart attack three months after mom died.

They had been married for 53 years, meeting during the occupation of Japan, marrying in the face of racism, surviving 24 years in the Navy, and five children, before losing one in the line of duty. When he lost her too, he asked me how he could go on before collapsing, doctors said, because his heart had enlarged. 

So what gives one in old age the strength to climb from the valleys of sadness and loneliness to a new summit of happiness? For Dad, it was realizing, with encouragement, that he could find ways to contribute.

Dsc_0620Just look at him in this photo I took Saturday, after interviewing him for tonight's report in our "Trading Places" series.

Am I blinded by my love for this soul who set the course for everything I am? Or do I really see a youthful glint in the old man's eyes?

Oh, how I wish he could stay forever.

Nightly News Producer Clare Duffy shares what it was like to work on Ann and Bob Curry's story
Ann's father Bob and I were just wrapping up our first conversation, discussing the plans for shooting our story.  I'd been thoroughly entertained by this most gregarious and engaging man, and I could easily tell where Ann gets her good nature. 

"And you, what about your father?" Bob asked.

"Oh, unfortunately, he passed away two years ago," I told him.  I looked down at the date in my notebook.  Two years ago today.  I hadn't even noticed it was January 18, but now I realized why I'd been feeling a bit melancholy about this assignment.  Taking care of elderly parents is something everyone thinks about, and when you've lost a parent, as I have, after a long and debilitating illness, it's easy to look back and wonder how things could have been different.  I miss my father very much, and chatting with Bob Curry made that feeling even more acute. 

We arrived in Oregon last Thursday to follow Bob around, capturing everything this extraordinarily active man does.  The camera crew and I were hard pressed to keep up with him.  Ann joined us on Saturday for our interview.  We squeezed around the dining room table and settled in for a conversation.  Ann and her father have the kind of relationship where it seems they've never stopped talking.  They discussed everything:  love, loss, learning, what it's like getting older, and how to keep one's zest for life.

If there's one thing I'd like to see people take away from this series of reports, it's this:  Do what Ann did.  Sit down with your parent or parents, set up a video camera and start talking.  Curry_2 Don't do it around a holiday, when there are presents or other distractions.  Do it for no other reason than to get them on the record - both the stories you've heard a thousand times, and the things they'll tell you that will surprise you.  It might feel strange, but eventually you'll all forget the camera is there.  And don't wait.

Photo by Clare Duffy
Ann Curry shows her father, Bob, a digital image on her camera. NBC cameraman Ray Farmer is in the background.

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COMMENTS

ANN HAS SOMETHING HAPPENED TO YOU...I HAVE CERTAINLY MISSED YOU ON THE TODAY SHOW...IT IS NOT COMPLETE WITHOUT SEEING AND HEARING YOU SPEAK. YOUR JOY PROJECTS THE GOOD AND OUTSTANDING PERSON YOU....

Ann, thak you for sharing about you father. I am doing research for a college paper. my goal was to find someone who is well known, and respected. A professional, or a expert in the subject i choose. someone who inspires me. The way you love your father and tghe interveiw idea are great, I am 38 years old and take care of both my parents full time for a little over a year now. It was hard at first, but now it is the most rewarding job ( if you can even call it that) thing i have ever done. Thank-you for giving me someone to write about for my class, and the inspiration for my parents. they are truly our greatest treasure and one that does not last forever. We have them for a time and then they are gone to wherever we al all go. I wish more people would realize this , perhaps it could contribute to making the world a better place. It is absolotly a blessing to sit down with my mother or father and listen to their life stories, great stuff!
Thanks

Dear Ann: Thank you so much for inviting us into your family and showing us your dear father! Though I lost mine 30 yrs. ago, I can still hear those quotes of his, especially in the workshop! He told us to "sign our work"! You do this with a poise and grace few have and you bring a humaneness to humanity currently struggling to find compassion and caring so rare in TV today! Thank you and Happy anniversary and Happy Mother's Day. terri

I loved my mother dearly the way ann loves her father.
Here I am 35 years old and both of my parents have died. My mother suffered tremendously because of medical errors. In the last years of her life all I could do was be there for her.
Everyday I went to see my mother, and each day I wanted to make her happier than the day before. Unfortunately all I could really do was hold her hand, pray, bathe her, rub lotion on her, brush her hair,and did all of this everytime I saw her which was everyday for two years.
I found myself lost....As a daughter I wanted to fix everything, and could not!!
My mother died while I was expecting my first child...her grandson. The loss devastated me to my core. I did everything I could to love my mother, and keep her SAFE, but in all my efforts I failed her. My mother died because a nurse left her connected to an empty oxygen tank. What a tragic end to an amazing life.. God took my mother's life, and give me my son.
Think of all the elderly people who have nobody to love them, and care enough to visit them.
This year I am going to work on visiting the eldrly in nursing homes, especially those who are alone

Dear Ann,
It was so nice to read about your loving, close relationship with your Dad. This story has really helped to encourage many to keep the love strings with their parents intact. Even tho my Dad died when I was 14 I still feel him very close to me and can't wait for the day we will be reunited and get to share so many things together. I had lived overseas from my country for 30 years seeing my Mum on only about 6 occasions..it has been a sacrifice...but I have been in service to others. I believe I still have a close link with my mum even tho there are sacrifices no. One day we will be able to share many memories, tears and laughs together. I do email and write (and call sometimes too) as often as I can. I dont think anyone has to feel too sad or guilty as we will all meet our loved ones again in hte next life, even tho of course we miss them now. As they say "if your not with the one you love, love the ones you are with". thanks Ann , keep up the good work and reporting

Your father sounds like a delightful and wonderful person. It is evident that you love and admire him deeply. I had a wonderful relationship with my mother who recently passed away at age 86. Up until a month before her death she lived on her own and managed her own affairs. She outlived 2 husbands and 3 of her 10 children. For the past 20+ years I was able to live close to my mother and was with her at some point every day. We enjoyed each other's company and could spend lots of time talking about anything and everything. Mom was my mentor and my best friend who was always there for her family, always willing to give rather than receive. She was truly a remarkable woman and I miss her terribly. I hope you have many more years with your dad.

Your story reminded me of how much I miss my Dad. He passed away 7 years ago this June. He was my "Poppy". I still talk to him. Mum lived for another 5 years and in the summer she lived in her house here and I spent every day visiting, taking her shopping and just for a drive. Your Dad has that same glint in his eyes my Dad had. After all the teenage arguments LOL he still loved me as did Mum. I miss them both a great deal. At least they both knew the man I eventually married. Mum knew we were getting married before she passed away from cancer and we married a few months later. We were having dinner when the phone call came about her illness and he immediatly got on line and made arrangements to visit her in LA. Our first date. It does help having a partner who understands and is there for you and is willing to do what needs to be done. Dad was 71 when he passed. He actually committed suicide after his first chemo treatment. Mum lived for almost 2 years with lung cancer and died just short of her 80th birthday. Both were beautiful people who lived life to the fullest and were so proud of their children and grandchildren. I know they are still watching and probably shaking their heads and saying "OKAY".

God Bless you and your family. I am so happy that you have this time together and get to share it with us. We are all better for having experienced this special moment and even better if we get the "hint" to take what we can get from it and spend more time with our loved ones while we can. I am extremely blessed to have both of my parents and they are young and healthy. I cherish all they have to offer. Thank you for reminding me to thank the Lord for such blessings.

I so enjoy watching Ann Curry everyday on the Today show and you can see her zest for life in how she interacts with everyone. I'm just sorry her father is on the opposite coast from her. I lost my father a year and a half ago and he died suddenly while my mother was out here visiting (They live in Indiana and I live in California). The grief and guilt are still with me. I have one child and one grandchild and I have been working away at a book of memoirs that I am going to give to my daughter as a present.
It seems as we get older the more precious life is and the importance becomes to make the most of it!

The man I called dad was actually my step-dad, raised my twin sister and I as his own. You never knew only 2 of his kids were his birth children. He never let on to anyone. He passed away 5 years ago due to complications from Diabetes. I last saw him 4 months earlier when I flew to CA because he was in the hospital. By then, he could barely see, would go back and forth in time in his mind, and didn't know me from Jack. But you know what? I told him I loved him and he said he loved me too. I will carry those words with me for the rest of my life. I miss him so much sometimes...and feel guilty for not spending enough time with him, for moving away when I got married, for not telling him how much he meant to me, for not thanking him for being my DAD. So many things I wish I had said. Thank you so much for your story Ann. What a wonderful relationship you have with your father. In this day and age, it is so nice to see children that love their parents, because gosh knows we never really hear enough about that kind of thing anymore. I miss you dad! God how I miss you so!

Thank you Ann for this story and for allowing us a glimpse into your family. In many ways your dad reminds me of my dad. I can so relate to the love and affection you feel for your dad. My mom passed away in 2005 after a long battle with Alzheimer's disease, and as an only child, I now have just my dad. He's 85 and still vibrant, and like your dad, has found love again in a friend from many years ago. I think it's wonderful that he is happy and I believe that it's because of the happiness this person gives him that he's still here on this earth. That, and a gracious God, who answers my prayers for his health and protection.

Although he lives at home and is very self-sufficient, I still help him and am there for him everyday. I'm raising 4 children of my own, and some days it's a little hard, but it's the least I can do for someone that has made my heart happy for 45 years!!

Thank you again for your wonderful story. You and your dad are in my prayers for continued health and longevity.

What a moving story. My name is Emily and I am 36. I am the only child of a Japanese woman and American man. My parents met in Japan while my dad was stationed in the military at Yokosuka. My parents were married for 37 years when my mother passed away in 2005. I am struggling to come to terms with her death. It has been much more difficult being an only child and being single. My mother was also my closest confidant as well as friend. During this difficult time, I am learning so much about my father. He is a strong man who is not only my father, but a man. I never really saw him as such, if that makes sense, until after her death. I love him dearly and worry about him daily. He is all that I have left. I am glad that someone else like you, Ann, can relate.

Hello, and thank you Ann Curry, for your coverage on the special of your Father. I always still have question's for my Father, but he has passed 6 years ago. You are an inspiration for every true American today who is struggling to achieve the American Dream. You are a true professional and a great asset to all of us who watch the news faithfully. Thank you very much, James D Kristovich.

Ann,
I really enjoyed your news story and all these great comments. I to am going though losing my Dad 2 1/2 yrs ago. I had a great Dad who I really was close to,and I miss him dearly. Im a farm girl in Ole Ky and he was a funny loving Dad I was with him ann a Tomboy till I got married and It was so hard to live in 5 states and commute to Ky In the last five years of his life he said I wont be here when you come back and I saw tears in his eyes. It hurt so bad to leave and go back to Ga where I lived with my family for 30 years. Now im back and last to help my Mom who I have had a Great relationship with and she had Open heart 5 bypass last 2-19-06 and fracture a hip 7 weeks later and had a stroke the next week.
It torn my brother and myself up when we had to put her in a nursing home and now from stroke she cant move her whole left arm and leg. She was taking care of her self last year in driving car goig to church, and doing all her banking in this little town. But she loved her independence. I have such a hard time going to visit her in the nursing home. I rare see only a hand full of people come to visit their family member it is really sad.
I love my Mom and she is of full mind on her good days and can talk to me and understand many things.
She makes my day when I got to see her but I cry thinking how hard she has it now. Her life has changed so much and she would love to be back in her own home in Ky. I hugs and give her many kisses to let her know I love her so much but she talks of dead as coming so soon and im not ready to give her up even though I know she will be in Heaven with my Dad and God. Thats where she wants to be.My faith in GOD is what she alway taught me and I always know God will take care of her. as I know where she wants to be.
I hope if you still have a healthy Mom or Dad that people will enjoy them in their older years< and that our kids will respect us like we have done our parents. God Bless our Parents.
I love the TODAY Show and Ann your Dad Story.

I read the mini-stories written by others. I sat at my computer and cried. I am an only child and will be 70 in October '07...My parents are long gone..they were such active people and were robbed of their dignity as they slowly died of cancer and demetia. We tried so hard to help them and we couldn't. It is not too late to tell anyone who will listen that we loved them very much. I will always regret that they died in a hospital and in a nursing home at a time when we were not with them. That has always made me feel even sadder.

I must confess that I hardly ever take the time to read stories such as Ann Curry's. It is my loss. I am moved by its poignancy, and its uncanny invitation for others to enter into her story. I never really knew my father as he died when I was nine. My mother died 30 years later. I have often wondered how she carried on for all these years with sacrifices far too numerous to mention---with grace and wonder in her life---the very ideals I strive for in my life. In reading Ann's posting I realize how very much I must hasten to call my children and to hear their voice and to tell them of my love.

Your story is a gift--unexpected and unbidden--perhaps the most treasured types.

Anne, I loved that story. And no, you arent blinded by love, there is a youthful glint in your father's eyes, and love for you as well. I have always liked you, you are honest and fresh, and authentic, much more so than anyone else I have ever seen on television. After reading this story I can see where at least part of it comes from. I wish you and your father the very best, keep doing what you are doing, I for one find it inspiring.

Ann,

As I am sure you already do, cherish this time with your father. He is alive and vibrant and there is still so much that you can learn from him. I lost my father about three years ago to lung cancer. Even in his final days as the cancer was destroying his body his mind remained active and unaffected. He had that glint untill almost the end. He was almost 80 when he lost his courageous 10-year battle. I learned so much from him in those final weeks and days.

To your questions? Are you blinded by your love for your father? Absolutely, you can't help but be. To the very end I never saw the man that was dying as my father. He was and is my father. I can't see him any other way. Is the glint there? You bet!

Bruce

Ann - Thank you and your father for sharing your story on Trading Places. Since I lost my father this past year, your story moved me very much. My father, also, was responsible for so many of my good traits. He always emphasized, and expected, respect, hard work, and responsibility to self and others. Before he passed last April, he told me how proud he was of me. Nothing could have meant more to me -- except what you said. "I wish he could stay forever." Thank you for the reminder to all of us that we should show our appreciation to all those close to us every single day. As Mother Teresa said, love is in the small things. Your father must be very proud of you, as you clearly are of him!

Reading this story tugs at my heart so I lost both parents , my mother at 61 unexpectedly March 20 2003 and less than a yr to the day my father 62 March 4 2004 they were married almost 40 yrs. When my Dad died it was of a broken heart he was ill from suffering stroke 4 yrs earlier, however it was of a broken heart he missed her so he shared wiht me 4 days before he died ... it is so wonderful you can express to your father the love you have and treasure this wonderful time together

Being there until the end is the greatest gift any child can give his/her parents. God bless.

Too many of the years with my father were spent dancing around what really mattered. As he approached the end of his journey, there came an immediacy to his recollections-snippets about his adolescence, his growing up and becoming a man in the line of fire, a college degree I had never known about, life with my mother.
We sat with my sister through five months of a slow, cancerous death, and when she finally passed, I saw him cry for the first time.
A few years later, as he lay in a hospital bed, his life slowly fading, I was finally able to say those three words that had eluded me for all of my days. Those were the last words he heard, and from the barely perceptible grip he gave my hand, I knew that he had heard them. He passed holding my hand.
I miss my father, I miss him every day. As a child who spent most of my life not wanting to be anything like my father, I know that I have become him in more ways than I will ever understand.

We lost my grandfather 5/11/2006. My mother took care of him. She would go to work and to his house to take care of him. We lost him to Luekemia. He was a wonderful man. He was 76 yrs old when he passed away. We truly miss him. I don't know how it feels to loose a father, but I do know how it feels to loose someone that you love and are close too. It gets hard on holidays and his birthday, I have to be strong for my mother though because I know it's even harder for her. We have to go on with our lives because that's what they would want us to do.
To everyone that has lost a love one: Keep your head up, it will get better.

I lost my father 1n 1999 of emphazema. I thought it was the worst thing I could go through. I was wrong. I lost my mother in 2004 of pancreatic cancer. That was the worst thing I could go through. Even at the age of 55, I feel like an orphan. We all need our parents, no matter what our age. I have so many memories, stories, pictures, videos, I will cherish forever, and my children will have when I am gone. There are many things though, that I wish I could remember better, that they told me over the years, and I always thought I would have more time with them to ask again. I know they are reunited with each other and their loved ones, however our family will never be quite the same, but are certainly better because of them. Ann Curry always seems to touch a place in my heart that most news people seem to miss.

Dear Ann - You are a wonderful lady, and now I see why. Unless that heart equipment fails, you should have your dad for a long time yet. The age of 77 isn't that old anymore! My father-in law was 95, my dad was 86 (almost 87), my m-i-law was about 89 and sadly, my mom was only 79! Enjoy your time with him. It is so valuable!!

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