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News at the speed of light

In the HBO series Deadwood, one character lamented the arrival of the telegraph in the town. A bartender looked forward to news coming faster and his boss stated, “When did you ever get good news in a letter?” The bartender answered, “The Last letter told me of the death of my mother.” The employer replied, “That’s the telegraph now, hastening the sorry words.” I feel that way about the internet at times. Lightning fast, we hear of every tragedy in the world with little good news to offset the bad. So many childhood heroes’ gone, and I hear about it within moments of it happening.

Carrie Fisher brightened my life in my 20’s and 30’s—60’s way too young. Slightly more than a day after Carrie Fisher’s death her mother, Debbie Reynolds, also passed. I spent countless hours sitting darkened rooms watching one or the other of these ladies on either the big screen or the small one. I suppose, it is somehow fitting that the mother followed in death so closely to the daughters. It has been said that no parent should outlive their child.

These two stars spent much of their life in turmoil with each other, having reconciled only a decade or so before. That last decade the women spent much of their time together, at last, the mother and daughter in the bond that is proper. It is reported that Debbie Reynolds last words were, “I want to be with Carrie.” So now she is – I will remember the two of them with fondness. I have watched and will watch again, their performances through the magic of film. Something I can’t do with others that meant, oh, so, much more to me than them. Friends and family who have passed from my life, from my perspective, far to soon. For those people, I have only my precious memories.

One by one, I hear of this or that childhood hero passing. Worse, contemporaries of mine dying far too early reminding me of my own mortality. I have never watched soap operas – but one of them has a very pointed opening, “Like sands through the hourglass…so goes the days of our lives.” One must remember, we have, but a short time, we should make the most it.

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