The Red Man and I watched a lot of TV shows together over the years, and he was fine with that activity – or the lack thereof.(When it didn’t suit him, he let everyone know his displeasure by lying on the floor with his face pointing toward a wall and his butt aimed in your direction. The message was crystal clear.)
Pretty and her personal assistant the Energizer Bunny Shelley were getting her antique businesses going and were gone, gone, gone with the wind in the World of Work while I stayed home with the three musketeers during many days of the past year. Chelsea and Red were on strict medication schedules to manage their pain from the cancers while Spike was just hovering in their vicinity for moral support plus, we now know, Chelsea was the emotional glue that held his life together. Red was the Alpha dog, the ring leader of the Pack; and Chelsea, like most labs, was in charge of feeding prompts for everyone so her work was never done.
My fourth book The Short Side of Time was published in December so I slipped into a routine that became more of an unfunded sabbatical from working on my writing to spending more and more time simply being “present” with Chelsea and Red.
We had a makeshift hospice room for Chelsea in the living room with two sofas pressed together (one was lower) so she could have an easier time climbing up to her regular perch on the higher one which had always belonged to her. Chelsea wasn’t crazy about sharing her sofa or anything else, but in the last months she occasionally allowed Spike to get on it with her as long as he kept to himself at the other end and never crossed the invisible line in the middle. Chelsea tolerated Spike’s adoration but rarely returned it.
Red preferred his old bed on the floor in front of the TV. His hearing and eyesight weren’t the best in the last year so he claimed that bed and no one dared mess with The Red Man when he wanted something. He ruled…and not always with soft paws.
Channel 1180 – WGN in Chicago – was our “Go – To” afternoon napping with three syndicated hour-long episodes of In the Heat of the Night followed immediately by three syndicated hour-long episodes of Blue Bloods. Pretty usually got home in time for the last couple of hours of Blue Bloods and has become hooked on the show about a family of New York City policemen to such an extent that we now must watch the LIVE episodes on Friday nights if we’re home or record them if we’re not. The show is well-written most of the time and has a terrific ensemble cast of actors all of the time.
In the Heat of the Night, on the other hand, had possibly one of the worst ensemble casts ever assembled for a show; and the Southern accents used by the actors are appalling to southerners in any state. The stories of the police department in the little fictional town of Sparta, Mississippi in the 1960s are tame in comparison to the big city contemporary drama of Blue Bloods; and the writing seems almost juvenile by today’s standards.
And yet, Red and Chelsea and I loved sleeping with the regular characters on In the Heat of the Night and their atrocious southern accents which were occasionally offset by actors who had believable ones. Nothing is more comforting than the cadences of real southerners’ voices, black or white. And while the writing for the eight seasons of the show never won an Emmy or was even nominated for one, I heard some quotable quotes every once in a while that jolted me out of my reverie. For example…
We live with sadness in our lives, but we do not have to sadly live.
You have a background you couldn’t find the beginning of – and a future you couldn’t see the end of.
And by far one of the classic lines uttered in one of the worst southern accents ever: Honey, I’m so mad I could catch on fire!
And Honey, here’s my tip for the weekend and for the long, long months remaining until the November election. It doesn’t come from In the Heat of the Night but from a woman named Elise Vannini: Never argue with a fool. (People may not know the difference.)
Have a great weekend and if you happen to see Pretty this weekend, be sure to wish her a Happy Birthday! She’s not getting older, she’s just getting Prettier.
I am glad to see you posting. I have a better idea now of what it’s been like over at the Casa with the makeshift hospice. While it must have taken quite a toll on you, Sheila, I’m glad you were able to be there for them so much of the time. Two shows I have never watched (And, no thanks, I don’t need any new or old shows), and one with profound words. I probably wouldn’t know a good Southern accent from a bad one, so there you go. Oh, that’s the one with Carroll O’Connor, right? I liked him . . . . Many hugs still–and best of luck to Pretty. Or maybe “break a leg.”
Thanks for writing today and for the hugs from the West – we can always use them! I was very lucky to be able to spend the time with Red and Chelsea, and I am thankful. I think I must be a caretaker at heart – in addition to being a TV addict – no wonder I don’t have time to write!! 🙂 Have a great weekend!
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Must add Blue Bloods to my Dusty TBR pile, or in this case, TBW list. I’ve been flirting with it for years.
You must! My Aunt Lucille who was 93 when she died in 2013 asked me every week for years if I’d been watching Blue Bloods and I always said no and she always said you’re missing a great show. She was right – ask Pretty. 🙂
I think I’ll borrow this one: Never argue with a fool. (People may not know the difference.)
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Maybe I should have turned to Heat of the Night or Blue Bloods when Rascal was in his last days. He had to be beside me in my chair and it took such a toll that both of us were on medication. I don’t see how you two have stayed sane with your losses this year. I have sworn to myself that I will euthanize her before Bindi and I go down that long road. But I have reneged with sworn statements before–so who knows. I think I will pass on H of the N but will try Blue Bloods.
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T and I have been so fortunate to have each other during this time. I can tell you for sure I couldn’t have survived by myself. We tried to let Chelsea and Red choose their own time, but they were as reluctant to leave us as we were to let them go. It’s an agonizing ordeal, as you already know from experience. There are no easy answers – sworn statements notwithstanding.
Yes, Blue Bloods is definitely the better choice! 🙂
LOL I have not watched either of those shows, (I know I am sheltered). I did catch a rerun of Murder She Wrote not long ago (another show I never watched but my sis adored it), and I noticed how bad the writing and acting was. Then I thought that perhaps the styles were different then vs now.
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Yes, shows were a little less “real” than the ones today. I also was a huge Murder She Wrote fan back in the day. Thanks for dropping by to see us!!
I would not know a bad Southern accent, Sheila – so I guess I’m a little protected from the laughable side of it. I do, however, know a bad aussie accent when it comes off like a South African accent and that’s not music to my ears (Hollywood really needs to get it right) 😉
My mother-in-law always says if she comes back, she wants to be a dog in our house in the next life because they’ve got it made. I’m sure she’d say the same if she walked into your house 😀
Favorite Australian Author Dianne Gray,
I would love to hear your accent in person – that way I’d know how Aussies are supposed to sound. Darren Cahill the tennis announcer is the only Aussie I’ve heard since Greg Norman dropped out of the limelight! Can we count theirs?? 🙂
Yes, your mother-in-law could definitely say she’d like to come back as one of our dogs. Our friends here in South Carolina say that same thing all the time.
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Watching a bunch of shows in a row is how my visits with my Mom end up. I like all sorts of cop shows but my parents liked In the Heat of the Night and said it was Carroll O’Connor’s way of making amends for all the bigots who actually thought All in the Family was “good comedy” instead of how he was hoping his character would live on; as in a “biting satire.”
Carroll was a truly caring man and it hurt him to feel people would come around and say they started calling their liberal children or relatives “idiots” like “Archie would have done!”
I felt bad and believe I expressed this on another post comments of yours, I feel the sorrow of loss in your sweet dog companions and loved ones.
Hugs to all, happy belated birthday to Pretty and hope life gives you a break, joy and a “Muse” to motivate you!! V)
Wow, Robin – this is a really thoughtful comment! I didn’t know that about Carroll O’Connor and his hope for In the Heat of the Night. One of the things I found interesting about the show was that his son Hugh was a cast member. Hugh evidently had drug issues and died either during production one year or shortly thereafter. Very sad.
We appreciate the hugs and many warm wishes and Pretty says thanks for the belated birthday greetings. She had a very big birthday week!
The best wish of all, however, was for a “Muse” to motivate me. That’s just what I’ve been missing since Red has been gone. Ha. At least, now I know what I’m looking for. Thanks for being a caring friend.