Our Stories: So I talk to the people on TV

Contributed Community

By teresa wallace

You wore those same clothes yesterday, Hoss! So did you, Little Joe! Adam! Pa! Good grief! Hop Sing must be snoozing when it’s wash time!” 

I’ve always liked westerns. Especially television shows from my childhood. In my senior years, I’m grateful for stations that show the old stuff. I’ve never been as glad until … COVID-19 … Shelter-in-Place – when life changed! 

A lot of activity was gone. Babysitting two days a week ended abruptly. No more singing at the local nursing home. Doors were closed. No more singing and Bible study at the local assisted living. Doors were closed. How would I cope? 

Everyone learns to cope according to their home life. Parents with young children begin to speak the language. Toddler is a language. Toddlers respond to the communication with acceptance. Sounds good to them. Parents with teens also learn a new language. Teens do not respond with acceptance. Teens give a condescending laugh and walk out of the room. Empty nester couples who thought they knew each other’s language learn to be quiet – when did their spouse become so talkative? Then, there are those of us who live alone. 

I’ve always talked to myself. Nothing new about me asking myself questions and answering them – out loud. But it wasn’t until the COVID-19 sheltering I noticed I was talking to the television. I’m not a big television watcher. I have no problem staying busy when I can’t go anywhere. I learned from the Bible God can bring some good out of every bad situation. I clean, cook, read, do yard work, and write. Always I write. Some writings have a purpose with a destination. Others have a purpose as far as my soul is concerned, but have not acquired a destination. At supper time I turn on the TV. 

I watch the weather. Then I turn to my friends. I don’t have a great many friends in contemporary programs. My friends are in old movies and old television shows. After two weeks of sheltering, I began to notice I was talking out loud to them. 

This is the thing about it – they need me to talk to them! I mean really, if you’ve just knocked out the bad guy who’s chasing you, take his rifle, or gun. He’s going to come to. When he does he’s coming after you with that rifle. And run his horse off. Same reason! I constantly have to tell the Virginian and Trampas, “Pick up the rifle! Don’t leave his horse right there beside him! He’s going to come to, you know! But they don’t listen. Sure enough a few scenes later there he is – the bad guy, carrying his rifle, riding his horse into town and parking it right next to the good guy’s. He never seems to have trouble finding the good guy, but for some reason the good guy usually has a long, hard time finding the bad guy. I also try to warn them when the floozy girl is setting a trap. 

Unfortunately, few believe me. I just let them work their own way out of the trap. After all, I did my part – out loud! 

Incidentally, the Virginian and Trampas also wear the same clothes each episode, as does Paladin. I’m pretty sure Mr. Favor and Rowdy Yates do as well, but I cut them some slack. When you’re pushing cattle from Texas to Missouri, changing clothes is not big on the agenda. All these gentlemen do change into fancy duds when they have some kind of affair to attend. 

I have other friends who help me through sheltering: Lucy, Ricky, Ethel, and Fred, Andy and Barney, Rob and Laura Petrie, and my favorites, Granny, Jed, Jethro, and Ellie May. The Clampetts also wear the same clothes. So do Andy and Barney, but those are uniforms. I don’t reprimand either of them about their attire. I’m sure that gives them some relief. 

I’m not a giggler. I laugh when something strikes me as very funny. I laugh full, from the depths. I’ve always had a loud laugh. But oh my goodness! Something else transpired during my shelter time. I’m not sure why, but I laugh so loud Ethel Merman would take a back seat to me! I’m sure this causes my neighbors to leave their shelter and try to locate a strange roar. Some may even come equipped with weapons. I probably should call around the neighborhood to let everyone know it’s only me enjoying my friends. But everyone loves a good mystery. At least I give them something to discuss at the supper table. 

I don’t have to talk to my comedic friends like I do the cowboys. But I do talk to them. I thank them. I let them know how much good it does me to laugh – out loud. Even if I didn’t tell them, they would know. How could they miss the roar? According to the Bible, they minister to me. They bring me healing. Proverbs 17:22, “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine…” Perhaps that’s why I laugh so loud. A release. A wonderful release. 

I’m not trying to make light of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is horrific. Certainly more so to some than others. But to dwell on the darker side of tragedies only increases the load. If I can do anything to lighten loads, I want to do it. Jesus calls us to be “the light of the world.” Darkness needs light. A frown needs a smile. 

Throughout the day I ask God to send His great mercy. To comfort those who experience the loss of a dear loved one. To encourage and bring peace to those who lost their livelihood – I pray it is only temporary. I ask God to give His great wisdom, understanding, and knowledge to those who tirelessly work for a cure. I ask God to protect and pour His blessing upon those who take care of us: All involved in the medical field and our safety people, in law enforcement, all forms of government, suppliers from farms to transporters to clerks to chefs to servers, sanitation workers, educators who forged a new frontier, pastors and church workers who left the comfort of their pulpits and sanctuaries to feed our spirits through cyberspace. I am grateful for these people every day, not just during a pandemic – but especially during a pandemic! 

The future is uncertain. Jesus taught how to deal with uncertainty in Matthew 6:25-34. That’s how I want to deal with it. And it might help lighten the load to talk out loud to your TV friends. And laugh loud – really loud! I hope it helps. 

We are all in this together. Let’s borrow the words of the immortal Charles Dickens by way of Tiny Tim, “God bless us, everyone!”.

Teresa Wallace is a lifelong Madisonian and a seventh generation Morgan Countian.

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