Skip to main content

Dallas and Dad



OK, so, go ahead a laugh. I admit to getting a little misty-eyed during last night's episode of Dallas. It was the send-off for JR Ewing, who'd been shot to death last week. Here we witnessed his family flying to Mexico to view his body, his memorial service, funeral, and then some letters he'd sent from beyond the grave. In most every article I'd read before tuning-in last night, there had been warnings that we'd be crying. That's the surest way to make me not cry.

And yet...

Perhaps it wasn't so much the intricacies of the plot as what you bring to it that matters. In this case, I rather unwittingly brought the death of my father to the proceedings. When JR's son, John Ross, choked-up and at first refused to leave his father's body in Mexico, I remembered leaving my dad's funeral that day in August of 1997, pleading through tears that we couldn't leave him there, because in life Lewis had never liked to be alone.

Perhaps it was JR's flag-draped coffin (by the way, what branch of service was he supposed to have been in)? Dad's coffin had had the flag, as well, a remnant of his service in the Marines during Vietnam. Perhaps it was Sue Ellen's comment to Gary about feeling alone around so many people? After dad's funeral, everyone went back to the home he'd shared with his wife and young son, and I couldn't stand to be around anyone at that time. I felt surrounded and alone.

Then there was John Ross, sitting alone after everyone else had left the graveside service (except for his cousin Christopher, who tried extending a warm hand of solace). There I was, standing over dad's open coffin after the visitation had ended, and most everyone had left. My cousin Heather and uncle Jim each came back inside the chapel, put their hands on my shoulder, and attempted some sort of comfort.

I've gotta hand it to Dallas showrunner Cynthia Cidre: JR Ewing's funereal episode was well-written (by Dallas standards, anyway). But, as in most things in the art world, it was enhanced by what each viewer was able to bring to the table. That's the beauty in a book, or television show, or movie: We can both learn from and relate to them, based on on our life experience. Who'da thunk a nighttime soap would have stirred such emotions?

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

If You Could Read My Mind

Dance clubs are a funny thing. They contain within their walls a life force and vibrancy sometimes unmatched anywhere else. When dusk settles and the lights come on, people will flood the dance floors to gyrate to music with hypnotic beats and songs about love, lust and fun at the disco. At gay bars, this sort of scenario usually increases ten-fold. It isn't for everyone, but for many it is a respite from the harsh realities of the real word. It is a place that isn't just a structure, but a sanctuary where folks -- minorities in their own communities -- can take shelter and unwind with abandon, at least for a few nighttime hours.
As someone who benefited greatly from such an aforementioned gay dance club, you can imagine my dismay at news of the closing of Chester Street Bar. In business for over three decades, gay-owned and operated, there was a time when C-Street (as it was known by most) was the only haven for those in the LGBT community, near and far, to enjoy themselves …

Third Death

My father has had three funerals. The third (though perhaps not final) one, was last night.
In reality, Lewis died in 1997. Cancer. Aged 52. He had a real funeral. I was there. The next two funerals occurred only in my dreams, yet they seemed real at the time, and their impact during the waking hours was keenly felt.
You see, during the intervening nineteen years, Lewis has come back to life in my dreams, many times. It is more than simply having a dream about him. During these nighttime images, it is noted that Lewis shouldn't be there, that he died of cancer and is resting six feet under. How, then, could he be alive and, seemingly, healthy?

Thoughts on an Election

Before I get started on the ruminations of the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election, I'll begin by saying I really have no clue as to who our next president will be. I've always fretted over the outcome of elections, regardless of the polls, and this year is no different. Especially this year. A good case can be made as to why Hillary Clinton will become our 45th president. All one has to do is look at the polls. Clinton has a comfortable lead in many states, enough to make one think that she will win handily on November 8th.
Of course, polls can be wrong. 538 gives Clinton's changes of winning in the low-mid 80 percent range. Several polls would seem to agree. Many Republicans are jumping ship from Trump. The race looks over. But of course, humanity isn't as easily predictable as polling would have us believe. Things happen. People can surprise us. And, for better or worse, I think that Donald Trump may very well become our next president.