Saturday, June 4, 2011

Fond Memories of Gunsmoke

It’s funny sometimes how seeing something crawl across the bottom of the screen on a news channel can bring back a wave of memories, leaving it to hang in the air so heavy you feel as if you have been transported back in time and all the old sights, sounds, and smells are, for a very brief moment, in the present again.

Last night, we stopped to visit with my parents for a short time, as we do many times on our way home from points south before going the final 10 miles of whatever trip we are on - Wal-Mart, Kroger, Nashville, the Gulf...

Anyway, as we sat talking and taking in a bit of the news, I noticed where actor James Arness had passed away at the age of 88. Arness, as I’m sure you all know, played Marshall Matt Dillon of CBS’ long-running show Gunsmoke.

By the time I was a preteen the show had already ended its regular run but was found in syndication. My grandparents, particularly my grandmother (Mammy Sophie), were big Gunsmoke fans. Me? Not so much at the time.

In our area, the series came on every night at 10:30 immediately following the local ten o’clock news on WTVF, or as we locals just call it, Channel 5. This was before cable when most televisions could only pick up three channels. Ours were 2,4,and 5. And, if you were really lucky your antenna or little set of rabbit ears might be able to capture channel 17, too.

Many times Pa would have already helped my grandmother to her bed (they had separate rooms) earlier in the evening with strict instructions to get her up again when it was time for all her favorite characters from Dodge City to return. And they would sit in their favorite chairs for the next hour watching Marshall Dillon deliver his brand of frontier justice to the likes of Charles Bronson, Victor French, and Eric Braeden.

Even though as a youngster spending nights at their house I would have rather been watching something else, like maybe Friday Night Videos, what I wouldn’t give to sit through another episode with Mammy, gone since 1988, and Pa, since 2000, just one more time? We really do fail to realize just how precious some moments are - until they are no more.

1 comment:

Heather said...

I remember it was my grandfather's favorite show too. At the time, I couldn't understand why. It would be fun to see a rerun again. I'm sure this time around I would appreciate the show much more! :)