Friday we prepared.
What’s to prepare, you ask? The room has to be cleaned, even though no one’s occupied it for almost a year. Dusting, cleaning the windows, changing the light bulbs. Arranging a Salted Nut Roll, just so.
Why a Salted Nut Roll?
I’d decided that the thing to do was not pretend we knew what Brazilian things would ease the transition. Maybe a hard break was best. Maybe getting some frozen Brazilian cheese bread would remind her of the real thing. Maybe she wants sausage and eggs and French Toast and other familiar things, ASAP. I did get some of her favorite Brazilian soda, something from the Amazon. Well, the berries are from the Amazon. And I ordered it on Amazon. So it’s extra Amazonian. But that was it.
At the grocery store, though, I saw a bag of small Pearson’s Salted Nut Rolls, a local candy delicacy - even though eating them is an indelicate procedure, because nuts inevitably dislodge from the caramel and fall on your lap - and thought, well, here’s something she hasn’t thought about in a year.
She’s at the airport, about to leave, and they’ve just informed her that her bags will not be transferred in Sao Paulo, and she has to go to the American Airlines desk and check them again. On top of the stress of saying goodbye it was a bit much, and she recounts with amusement how that was the thing that made her puddle up a bit.
She’s in Sao Paulo. In line at American Airlines. The woman behind her is ignoring her 12-year-old son, who wants to talk to his mom, and she’s having none of it. Daughter is getting peeved at the mother, and eventually sad: “He just said ‘this is an expertly tied knot,’ and his mom just said nothing, back turned to him.’” She says that hearing an American accent in another airport seems like part of the transition, the going back, the readjustment from what will soon seem like a dream.
I say it’s like putting your head under the covers until the air is stale, then pulling the sheet back and drinking in the fresh air - but no that really doesn’t work, more apt for leaving an authoritarian state instead of a fun-loving but sort-of-weary enormous democracy, sorry, never mind.
Then a few hours later, ping! Getting on the plane for Dallas.
I have no worries about her navigating any of this on her own. We’ve done this. She’s done this. I can only imagine the emotions, the sadness, the sense of completeness perhaps, the rude dispatch to a place that will be instantly glaringly blaringly familiar. AS IF NOTHING HAPPENED
But oh, it did happen, and it was big and long and wide and deep, and all that remains at home to be re-experienced must seem so . . . daunting, because she has to slide into a role she hasn’t played for a year.
Last night before she comes back, and I think: That was hard. At first. It was the worst at Christmas; everything was the worst at Christmas - but then the long slow climb up to now, the halfway point passed, the calendar countdown bringing nothing but promise. What saved me was the texts. I didn’t send many, because I didn’t want to intrude, but any conversational interlude was exploited. The voice texts, the occasional observation, the retweet requests, the vacation pictures - the tenuous tether kept me reasonably serene, and made me marvel at the modern world every time. Every. Time. The other day a WhatsApp msg popped up on my car’s screen. Perhaps you have to grow up in a time when such things are the staples of sci-fi to appreciate the seamless magic we enjoy.
Just thought something: ever since she left, I’ve never come home and said “burglar” as I came up the steps. It’s a private reference to a Monty Python sketch. She’s probably never thought about it since she left. But some day in the week or weeks to come, I’ll say it, from habit.
But. But but but. There’s no going back to normal, is there? All the old normal things - high school, job, driving her to Walker - are over, and she’s not here for keeps. The summer is an interregnum until college, and that’s fine. Because college isn’t FARGING VANISHING TO ANOTHER HEMISPHERE FOR ALMOST A GOT-DAMN YEAR, if I may be so bold.
Hey, I’m assuming I’m busy this week, so forgive me if I stretch it out.
Remember this feature? We never met Bela Lanan himself. We never will.
This was a daily feature, with the solution on Saturday. We'll do it the way they did it then - one entry per day, with the expectation that you'll be following the story.
And we're off on a riveting journey. I guess
Compared to the elaborate credits of today . . . it's a reminder that the early days of the medium were cramped.
Yes, it's another Tales of Tomorrow! It wasn't all that different from other shows in the early days,. Not everything was fancy like "Twilight Zone." They were lucky to get Saturn! Only because he agreed to work for scale!
Well, look who’s back:
Trust me, it’s Leslie Nielsen.
He’s a struggling writer with a supportive wife. And a backache from sitting and typing all day: oof!
He's a struggling scribbler; she works at a cigar store. Somehow they manage to stage the scene so it looks as if he works there.
He answered an ad for a writer to collaborate on a project; his wife doesn’t want him to. Here’s the author.
You know what he is, right? I mean, I’m just guessing, but I’d say he’s THE DEVIL. The only question is how long it takes to figure this out. We’re seven minutes in. Lay your bets.
But we’re here for the ads. Who’s this?
Paul Whiteman! You loved him in the Twenties, and now he's inere in a grand new medium. Bring the kids!
After the Saturday Night Fights . . .
On the left:
Walter Wellesley "Red" Smith (September 25, 1905 – January 15, 1982) was an American sportswriter. Smith’s journalistic career spans over five decades and his work influenced an entire generation of writers. Smith became the second sports columnist ever to win the Pulitzer Prize for distinguished commentary in 1976. Writing in 1989, sportswriter David Halberstam called Smith "the greatest sportswriter of the two eras.
Don Dunphy was a famous play-by-play announcer, among other things.
His son, Don Dunphy Jr., was an executive producer of Eyewitness News on WABC-TV in New York City in its early years, and later became vice president of news services at ABC. His other son, Bob Dunphy, has been a director of Showtime Championship Boxing since 1989. In 2015 he directed the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight, the highest-grossing pay-per-view event in history.
Dad would have been proud.
Another great show promo:
I have to think it looked better on the high-res sets of the day.
And now, back to the show. The writer is dismayed to find that everything he writes for his mysterious client (who might be the devil but it doesn't matter) comes at a cost, and inevitably - WOULDN'T YOU KNOW IT, BIG TWIST the costs eventually are personal.
I play this clip for one reason, and it's not Leslie's acting: it's another appearance of the Tell-Tale Car Wreck Horn!
I've been collecting these for years, and one of these days the Friday Listen feature will have a definitive list of its occurances.
And now, the network ID.
It's not at all creepy to modern eyes, is it? Not at all.
That'll do; matches await.