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Churchill: Remembering, and re-reading, Jim McGrath

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25.06.2019

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ALBANY — There were many people in this newsroom who knew Jim McGrath better than I did. He and I weren't especially close, but he still meant a lot to me.

Jim, then the chief editorial writer, went out of his way to be kind to the new guy when I was a nervous arrival to the Times Union, and he and I shared biographical details that made conversation easy.

First and foremost, we were both working-class kids from the Boston area who had found a path to Albany. There's a certain world view, you see, that comes with being from Boston — a belief that old things and places are better than new ones; a tendency to see politics as sport; and, of course, a penchant for seeing the Red Sox as infinitely more important than politics and mere sport.

So Jim and I had those things in common. But Jim had discovered, as he told me when we first spoke, that the Albany area was a lot like Boston, with quirks and a personality that made it a home worth loving. With time, I learned that Jim was right about that.

Jim, who died from heart failure in 2013 at the age of 56, was right about a lot of........

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