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After David Halberstam died this week, The News & Observer reported on a chance meeting that U.S. Attorney George Holding had with Halberstam a month ago.

According to the N&O account by Matthew Eisley:

It was a chance encounter last month at a hotel bar in Washington. (Holding) had happened to sit next to a warm, worldly, older man.

Over sandwiches and drinks, they celebrated a school connection: The older man’s daughter had graduated from the private Groton School 12 years after Holding had.

Together they lamented the lack of intellectual development and political zeal among young Americans these days.

“He deplored the political malaise that seems to have infected so much of America,” Holding, 39, recalled admiringly.

After the older man’s death Monday in a car wreck, Holding recalled the hour he spent chatting with a celebrated journalist and author who never mentioned his achievements but left behind a blue calling card bearing his name: David Halberstam…

“He was very engaging,” Holding said. “You could tell that he was a man of ideas and letters. He was very up on events of the day. After talking with him for an hour, I knew I had to look him up.”

George, let me get this straight. You had an hour – alone – with one of the best writers and reporters in modern American journalism? And you didn’t know who he was until he left you his card at the end?

You should get out to your local bookstore more.

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