Closing Thoughts – December 31, 2020

I’ll be brief

              Vegas says 8 to 2 against.  Get your bets down now… 

              Working on what I was supposed to be working on today – writing-wise – I made the rube mistake of leaving my newsfeed on.  Also had my site up.  Was doing well, only occasionally sticking my nose into WP to kudo other bloggers when an alert popped-up.  Conveniently taking an interruption as an opportunity to refill my coffee cup.  Which, late in the afternoon is usually safe as Hobbo is in England and after all, the man must sleep some time. 

              Apparently not.  Neither, I discovered, does Francisco in Spain.  They must both be much younger than I.  Mr. Bump, also in Merry Old England, is a trifle more predictable but has slowed-up just a skosh1 the last few go-rounds for good reasons; he is coming back to full form.

              Then, I got a newswire header.  Sad news.  I had to read it, and that just about scorched2 the rest of the afternoon.

In Memoriam

              That header informed me Dawn Wells passed Wednesday, reportedly of COVID.  I did not follow any deeper into the report.  Those simple facts were enough.

              Rest easy, Dawn Wells (1938-2020) And thank you for the sparkle and a good bit of class.

A Gentler Time

              If you can remember back to the mid 60’s, you know Dawn Wells as Mary Ann of Gilligan’s Island on television from 1964 to 1967. Gilligan’s Island wasn’t high drama, or even sophisticated comedy.  But it was a good watch.

              An excellent ensemble supported silly scripting.  Given the premise, what else?  Jim Backus, you might remember as the voice of Mr. Magoo.  Alan Hale, Jr. who did many post WW II movies.  Russell Johnson who I know little about, but he played his role believably, considering the scripts for the show.  Natalie Schaffer, I believe from Broadway.  Tina Louise played a bombshell counterpoint to Dawn Wells’ driven snow character. And as the title character, Bob Denver played loveable, goofy, inept Gilligan.

              The show may play in memory better than it did originally.  But it became campy.  It was, again, in memory, reminiscent of a simpler, gentler time.

Free association

               Interrupted late in the day, I didn’t fool myself into thinking I could knock dust off my cleats and step back into the batter’s box.  I opted to play a variation on the free association game shrinks play with minds they suspect of incompetence.   Must be a matter of boredom for the shrinks: making sense out of clearly dissociated ramblings3 is a mystery I’ll never understand. I suspect chicanery.  Nonetheless, I thought to give it a spin.

               Hapless Gilligan of Gilligan’s Island was defined by Bob Denver.  I first remember Bob in The Many Loves of Doby Gillis which ran from 1959 to 1963.  Aside from some memorable young women in the show’s episodes, a standout supporting character was one Maynard G. Krebs, played by Mr. Denver. 

               Krebs was, no other way to describe it, a beatnik. Everything you expect a beatnik, circa 1960, to be.  Cool cat. Bongo drums. Without mention or suggestion that I recall, appearing stoned without benefit of drugs. I dunno if Krebs was taken from life or if life took after Krebs.  I suspect the former.

               Before Maynard, there was Wally Cox and Mr. Peepers, running from 1953 to 1957.  Old clips are available if you are interested.  I’ll not provide links.  Today’s “sophisticated” people can’t be bothered with primitive entertainment forms.  A quick search of that love-to-hate-it social media visual tool will get you started.  If you do go shopping, pick your own “interesting” pieces.

              Gilligan’s and Mr. Peepers, if you need some manner of yardstick, are Andy Griffith (Mayberry’s Sheriff Taylor) in tone, message (if ever any) and entertainment.  

              I could go back farther, but not much.  I’m a Boomer, and while I was around before 1950, television was as young as this lad.  Anything I’d have seen, I’d not remember.

              Looking back that far, it does strike me those were gentler times.

Were they?

               1950’s: Boomer times.  Maybe Gentler.  HUAC.  Korea.  Suez Canal.  Cuba.  Cold War.  Brown v. Board.  Maybe not. 

              1960’s: Cuban Missile Crisis.  Watts.  Vietnam.  Dallas.  Free speech.  Bay of Pigs. Berlin Wall.  Woodstock.  Birmingham.  Nuclear proliferation.  Gentler?  Um, no.

              1970’s: Oil embargo. Lebanon.  Pakistan.  Rhodesia.  ’72 Summer Olympics.  Kent State…  Nope.

They were different times

               Gentler?  No.  Simpler?  No. 

              I’ve certainly not mentioned all events within the US.  Largely outside immediate US involvement I’ve only mentioned a few.  Others exist, in China, Pakistan, the Middle East, Central and South America, India, Africa, and Europe for example.

               Not Gentler or Simpler.  Different.

              I wonder.  Folks on December 30 and 31 of any of those years – were they looking for New Year’s Day to suddenly bring about changes? Probably.  I wonder.  On the eves of 2041, 2051, 2061, 2071, assuming no Armageddon, will people look back on 2020 and think, “How much simpler and gentler those times were!” 

              Probably not.

               I wonder if Maynard has any idea.  Probably not.

1 Skosh – tiny bit. It’s legit, though my introduction to the word was at Daddy’s knee.  I always assumed he’d made it up.  “Why yes, I believe I’ll have a bit more cider.  Just a skosh to wet the bottom of the glass.”  Daddy’s glass rivaled aquariums in size.  Just an eighth of an inch pour in the bottom required a gallon of “cider.”

2 Scorched – Also a legit word but often used by Espie to mean ruined: “It took six hours to finish the job and that scorched the afternoon.” Or insanely upset: “After the third refusal, McLeod’s face let us know without doubt he was scorched.”

3 Ramblings?  Indeed!

Published by spwilcen

Retired career IT software engineer, or as we were called in the old days, programmer, it's time to empty my file cabinet of all the "creative" writing accumulated over the years - toss most of it, salvage and publish what is worthwhile.

21 thoughts on “Closing Thoughts – December 31, 2020

    1. Mario – Good morning and thank you for your kind words. Means much to me to have feedback, especially from those whose efforts I enjoy reading, my silent mentors. A crazy year, but in retrospect, when we think we have all the facts, what will be our final conclusions? My wish for you this last day of 2020, Mario, is that you and yours find 2021 much to your liking and benefit. Do well. SPW

  1. I had never heard of this chap but the show is very well-known.
    As for me, I am frequently up and active before 7 AM but will be safely tucked up by 9 PM, whatever times those equate to in your world.

    1. Good Mr. Bump! Thank you first for your advice and direction these past few months, and for spending time with me this morning. Your rise and shine and (what do Brits call it?) heading off to the kip, are not significant. It’s that the three gents I mentioned are impressive in their apparent stamina, which when coupled with their genius simply astounds. My days too, start early, and I try to close-up shop before eleven but as you know, we gents march to someone else’s drumbeat – and thank goodness for that! Happy for your improved eyebone situation and hope 2021 gives you an opportunity to shake up the medical magicians with even more advances. Do well, be well. Oh, here in CST, we’re seven hours behind GMT.

  2. An excellent read again. I remember Gilligan’s Island very well, but not some of the other stuff. Watching a US of A documentary about the 60’s with Tom Hanks recently. a lot of your mentions were in there. Weird how a lot of things which are reported as apocalyptic at the time seem very tame with hindsight. Mods and rockers in the UK being a good example.
    Oh, and Dauphy wants to know if you are friends with him again! (He’s a sensitive soul).
    Best wishes for 2021.

    1. Good afternoon (out your way), PM Hobbo. I appreciate your pausing to chat. Didn’t catch Mr. Hanks’ program. Lived most of the events I mentioned. Starting in the 60’s, of course, began to understand some of it, which is to say I realized I really understood none of it. Always, looking back, it seems hardly as dire as we thought. Well, except some things which still make my eyes tear-up. Again, as in the past, I’m putting a lot of stock in 2021’s making a difference for the better. Have a rocking good New Year’s but stay safe. Oh. Always admired Dauphy, hold him in high esteem, that’s why it’s such a disappointment when I hear I’ve failed his standards. You can let him know for me, but don’t let it go to his head. Now a quick cup of wake-up before I go to see what PM Hobbo has for me this morning (here in USA CST).

      1. Good morning to you my friend. I sincerely hope that you are right and that 2021 is a much better year for all of us. Dauphy is having a well earned rest after his philosophical exertions today. Hope you enjoy reading today’s posts. There are a lot, but most are fairly short. We wish you, and your loved ones a very special 2021, and look forward to hearing from you again in the new year. (Right, I’m off for a nice glass of single malt!).

  3. Perfect words, precisely placed to provide the meaning, the truth and the message. I loved Gilligan’s Island and Maryann was definitely my favourite, RIP. And your analysis is quite right, those were troubling times indeed. So where do we go from here? Who knows! Times are as enimagtic as the winds and as elusive as the Iberian Lynx in the forests of Castile… We exist because we believe, others just because they breathe. HAPPY NEW YEAR 🎉🎈🎊😎

    1. Amigo! I was on this right away, but you know life, one of those five-minute segment definitions, popped-up demanding immediate attention. That disposed, back to important matters… Ah, all in retrospect, no? History, that is. If we are astute, we learn as time unfolds and make better decisions. Unfortunately, we have given away some autonomy to live in an ordered society. There are advantages. And disadvantages. Too many “rights” and “wrongs.” We cannot singularly put an end to wrongs, enforce the rights. Fortunately I do not have to judge. So-o-o tempted sometimes. Let us see what your enigmatic Lynx has for us. Thank you, good sir, for your wisdom and confidence. Peace and prosperity to you. SPW

      1. I must tell you that the wife and I just returned from our favourite pub, you know the neighbourhood bar (one of many) that we know and know everyone, “where everybody knows your name” sort of place. We all toasted with “cava” (Spanish champagne) and wished each other the best and thanked God…I know I do…that we are fine and are able to stand on the corner at the bar and raise a glass! We bought some jumbo shrimp (gambones in Spanish), some “sidra asturiana” (Cider from Asturias province which is my father’s home), some of the best Iberian ham, turrones, cakes and dates and we will settle in to watch the bells ring on the tele for the New Year and that is how we will say goodbye to the “old night” and greet the new day! Wishing you, SP, and the “Boss”, as well as your family, all the best things for this 2021 coming and throughout. May God bless us all and give us back the normal we had until the 14th of March 2020. And may we all find peace and happiness. Thank you, SP for being such a good friend, and for incredible support and encouragement I’ve received from you throughout this year. Wish I could shake your hand and wish you all the best in person, but this will do. Will raise a cup of cava (later) for your health!

      2. Thank you. I will savor a sip of quality Irish to honor you and yours as the Boss and I relax into the new year. Your word “paintings” always make me want to jump a jet and see Valencia in person. I look forward to many conversations in 2021 – you have taught me many things in a few short months. I am your senior but consider you my wise older brother. Salud!

  4. Great post, spent many a summer morning watching Gilligan reruns. I’ve always been a big fan of the bumbling, inept, but well-intentioned assistant–whether it was Barney Fife or Gilligan. Maybe it strikes a little too close to home.

    1. Thanks for stopping by to chat, youngster. Being a wordsmith yourself, you know writers use flawed characters to detract less from a message or undercurrent of truth, to innocently drop pearls of wisdom on readers. Close to home? Yup, you betcha, you and me. And, son, we should walk proud for our selfless efforts. Everyone knows, we know what we’re all about and use our klutziness to remember to hold our egos in check. Wait. Maybe we are just blundering boobs? Aw, let’s go with clever klutzes. Yeah, I’m comfortable with that. Do well, Sane; we’s got us a brand-spanking new year to work with. Now, you, get out there and get’r done!

    1. Thank you for this flattery. Please allow me to respectfully decline. Many are more deserving of this recognition and honor – you, Nourish, and others. I will continue to anticipate your postings, bumbling along admiring those who deserve these accolades. I do hope you understand. Again, Happy New Year as you start 2021 with a new trophy in your showcase!

  5. I used to love watching Gilligan’s Island as a child! More recently, I found the movie on Tubi and watched it. I still loved it!

    My husband went and got DisneyPlus this past month, so I checked it out last night. Steaming movies is always a challenge out here, with our stuttering internet, but I managed to watch 2 movies. The first was the most recent Star Wars movie. Skywalker somethingorother. What a disorganized mess of a movie. Then I watched a Swiss Family Robinson from 1940. I’d only seen the TV series before, and have never read the book. It was fantastic! Oh, the “special effects” were horrid, but only by today’s standards. I’ve found many older movies to be far more sophisticated and daring that modern ones. This one dealt with things like how the family responded to their dad up and selling everything to take them away from the sloth of wealthy living, to start over in the Australian colonies. It dealt with the sons going from spoiled brats to resourceful and competent men – and it dealt with the relationship problems between husband and wife. Through it all, you had the solid thread of the father’s intense love for his family – a love that had him doing things he knew they would not agree with or like, but which he believed would be better for them in the long run. And he turned out to be right.

    The new Star Wars movie couldn’t hold a candle to it.

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