Friday, March 25, 2016

Good Night, Sweet Prince

March 25, 2016

Today, the iconic closing of The Waltons television experience will forever mean more to those whose lives were touched by Earl Hamner. Earl died yesterday at the age of 92.  His  mellifluous voice as he narrated the stories based on his youthful days in Schulyer, Virgina is unique in all narration.  I was fortunate to be introduced to him by my friend, Carol Marie, who was his assistant for a time in the hey day of the show.  The honor of escorting Grandma Walton (Ellen Corby) to the Waltons Christmas Party came to me twice. Once pre stroke and once post.  Post stroke, she chimed in with "Oh Boy!" a lot.  I did one episode of the show as a radio announcer.

What every single person who ever encountered Earl Hamner will repeat and repeat is what a present and lovely person he was.  He remembered his friends with specifics about their lives.  He bought my lunch.  He made me feel like a peer. A peerless man, made us all feel his loving equal.  

If you live over ninety years, I think that's doing something.  Earl lived a long and productive life and shared it with his family and the world.  He shared with me and for our occasional but wonderful times together, there was no one else in the room.  He made sure I was invited to UCLA to view the documentary that was made about his life and I watched every single visitor, from his lovely Lady Jane to the livery service driver be treated with love and respect.  He was my friend.  Every person who ever shared his smile or shook his hand or was embraced by him will say the same thing.  He was our friend.  

Eulogies are interesting things.  I've given a couple and this is the one that may touch me the deepest.  We hate to have our friends hit the trail, but it is inevitable and in this case, not such a sad parting as a longing for one more moment and the missed chance to say Good Night.  

Earl Hamner was honest and true.  He shared a talent that few possess and was a friend to everyone who met him.  

Good night, my generous friend.

There are others we mourn this week.  Ken Howard and Garry Sandling, both too soon.  We must live our lives and be grateful for these precious moments.  

March 25, 2016