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Saying Goodbye To David Greene With A Look Back At Some Of His Stories

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

We're going to switch gears now because, this morning, we're sending off our friend and co-host David Greene, which frankly is a really tough sentence to say out loud, David.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Yeah, I can't believe it's happening. And what a moment. You know, we listen to things like we just heard in this pandemic, and yeah, this is a hard time and tough to leave. Feels right, but it's - this is a hard morning, Rachel.

MARTIN: Yeah, it's been an incredible year, and you've been such an integral part of our coverage of this year. In another part of the show this morning, we played some of your stories that have stood out to us, your co-hosts. But we also asked you to pick out moments from stories that have stuck with you personally over your 15-year-plus career at NPR. And that's what we want to play now. Let's take a listen together.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED NPR BROADCAST)

GREENE: I hit the road for President Obama's first hundred days in office to hear from Americans. I got to say, one of the most memorable moments was at this little diner in Terre Haute, Ind., and this little woman came over and pulled up a chair.

CAROLYN TOOPS: I want to just make a brief statement. I want to engage in a dialogue, OK?

GREENE: I won't say anything.

TOOPS: All right. Now, are you going to ask me who I am?

GREENE: You told me I can't be in a dialogue with you. I'm just kidding. Yes, introduce yourself - you can.

TOOPS: OK. I'm Carolyn Toops (ph). I have been a resident of Terre Haute for a good many years. No, I did not watch...

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED NPR BROADCAST)

GREENE: Chechnya is predominantly Muslim, and homosexuality isn't tolerated. Human rights groups and journalists have documented how gay men have been rounded up in the Russian province, detained, tortured.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #1: (Through interpreter) He was kidnapped, kept for 12 days in a basement where he was...

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "LET IT BE")

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #2: (Singing) When I find myself in times of trouble, Mother Mary comes to me.

GREENE: Hearing a musician play a Beatles song is pretty common. What's unusual are the voices you're about to hear.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "LET IT BE")

BURANOVO BABUSHKAS: (Singing in Udmurt).

GREENE: These are the Buranovo Babushkas, a group of elderly singers who've been charming audiences across Russia. The dozen or so women, mostly in their 70s and 80s, are singing this Beatles hit translated into Udmurt, the native language of their region in central Russia.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "LET IT BE")

BURANOVO BABUSHKAS: (Singing in Udmurt).

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED NPR BROADCAST)

GREENE: And I'm David Greene reporting from Houston, Texas. We are down here reporting on the impact of Tropical Storm Harvey. We went to Cypress Creek. It's this neighborhood north of Houston that is completely submerged.

So we're a passing what - can see a stop sign and two street signs just peeking out over the water.

MATTHEW HERNANDEZ: It's a family of seven. They were stuck on the second floor, plus their dog and a big lizard. They had some kind of bearded dragon or something.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED NPR BROADCAST)

T-BOZ: We're still together. We're always TLC.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "WATERFALLS")

TLC: (Singing) Don't go chasing waterfalls...

GREENE: Chilli, T-Boz - thank you so much for your time. We really appreciate it.

CHILLI: First of all, I have to say, I love your voice.

T-BOZ: Yeah, you have a good voice.

GREENE: Wow. That's going to - you're making my...

CHILLI: Ooh, it's sexy.

GREENE: Wow.

T-BOZ: Oh, big - call you big sexy.

CHILLI: I'm serious. I'm like, dang.

(LAUGHTER)

GREENE: Thank you.

T-BOZ: So your new name is big sexy (laughter).

CHILLI: Yes (laughter).

GREENE: (Laughter).

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "MEANT TO BE")

TLC: (Singing) Meant to be...

MARTIN: Oh, man. We are happy to report that nickname did not stick. I mean, I don't call you that (laughter).

GREENE: Yeah, I'm glad you don't. Yeah, I - you know, Rachel, thank you. What we do - we're storytellers at the end of the day, and that's why those voices are so important.

MARTIN: We love you, David Greene, for always showing us how to laugh at ourselves and how to find the good in every story and in every person. We will miss you.

GREENE: Thank you.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.


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