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Huell Howser
Huell Howser (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Huell Howser

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December 22, 2014
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December 22, 2014
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Please don't submit copyrighted work; original poems, songs or prayers welcomed.

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January 08, 2013
Around 1997, I was tending bar aboard the historic Delta King riverboat in Old Sacramento. Suddenly, the small cocktail lounge seemed filled to capacity as the very large and imposing presence of Huell Howser filled the room. I had not heard of him or seen his show at the time, but it was clear from his body language and charisma that he was definitely someone of weight. He started asking all sorts of questions -- about the boat's history, its appointments, its owners -- and he was particularly struck by the beautiful stained glass window artwork that circled the lounge. The scenes depicted all the geography of California as seen from the boat's decks as it would make its way from San Francisco to Sacramento. Huell started exclaiming what I would later discover to be vintage Howserisms -- "This is just amazing! Look at the details in the paintings! Do you mean to tell me this artist did all this while the boat was transporting people along the Delta?" For 15 years following that encounter, I have been a loyal viewer of Huell's shows. A proud, native Californian myself, I really deepened my love of the State and my appreciation of all her many bounteous attributes because I saw them anew through the lens of Howser's enthusiasm. I always joked to friends that his boyish naivete made him seem like a Mr. Rogers for adults, and I think that was a good thing. He looked at things with an unprejudiced, joyous eye, and he made us all respect and truly cherish all that this glorious state has to offer. As a 25-year journalist, I can say that I benefited greatly from Howser's fresh and happy approach to life. Always curious, respectful, probing and jubilant -- not bad qualities to instill in the heart of aspiring journalists everywhere. I think Huell Howser made an indelible, colorful master stroke on the canvas of California history, and I think Californians of all ages will benefit from his contributions.
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