Sunday, August 21, 2005


When Russell Baker took over from Alistair Cooke as the host of Masterpiece Theater, my mother wrote him a letter informing him of the enormous responsibility he had now been given. She needed to let him that in her opinion, Masterpiece Theater, and her weekly Sunday night viewing of it, was no ordinary hour of television. Rather, it was a sacrosanct hour, sacred. It was, for my mother, no less than a shot at redemption. Redemption for chores not completed, homework not started until too late, errands not run, recycling overlooked, trash never taken to the curb. By Sunday night, we were sure to have failed at something, and she felt was Russell's job,nay, his duty, to make that ok. (He never wrote her back, and I don't think she ever forgave him for that).

I think fondly of those Sunday nights at my house, my mom with one eye on the tv while she polished everyone's school shoes and idly drank a glass of wine, Alistair or Russell crisply chiming in in the background, knowing I was too tired to finish my homework but not wanting to go to bed. Now, in my own house, with my own tiny family, and no shoes to polish, I have my own form of redemption, a reward for running early and far, and it's an hour of Gray's Anatomy, accompanied by a footrub, a bowl of sugar free jello, and a cup of decaf tea. If things get really crazy, I might just paint all ten of my toes in the shocking hues of OPI's Far East Fuschia. But while I do it, I'll think of my mom, and be redeemed.


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