There once was a young unemployed mother trying to finish school, raise a son, and keep her head above water. The year was 1985, and squatting up to her 13 inch black and white RCA TV set, she turned the knob looking for something to watch while her son took his afternoon nap. All of a sudden a very overweight black woman, was out in front of an audience with a microphone. Something caught the mom’s attention. She stopped at that channel and became mesmerized. What was it about this TV talk show host that was so enchanting?
Looking back now it is difficult to put into words what can affect a viewer with such intensity that they would continue to go back to a television show, day after day, month after month, year after year, decade after decade. For those new moms out there who are rushing around trying to get things done in this day, there are DVRs (Digital Video Recorders), On Demand services, and late night airings of their favorite shows. But in 1985, we had to stop everything, entertain the kids (or put them down for a nap), delay our housework, schoolwork, and everything else, to savor being enlightened. Of course some did try the VCR recording, which most never mastered well enough, and even so, how many VHS tapes would it have taken to record 25 seasons of Oprah?
This week we bid farewell to a trusted friend. She made us tune-in because like so many of us, she was trying to make a relationship work, trying to decide whether to have children or not, trying define her lifetime career and purpose, and forever trying to lose that weight. She didn’t have the answers, so she taught us to seek them in education, in experts, and in spirituality.
Oprah now moves on to guide a network of people, under her tutelage, into the same forum. We shall see her appear, as does a legendary celebrity on a weekly crime drama, just a smidgen, to remind us of her greatness, and let us never forget, if it happened to her, it could happen to us.
My son is not napping right now; he is leading an aerospace firm as Senior Chief Engineer. He is a San Bernardino minority boy gone right, and a great debt is owed to the hope instilled in this mom, when she squatted down and stopped to take in history in the making.
Farewell our dear friend.
May the road rise to meet you:
May the wind be always at your back,
The sunshine warm upon your face,
The rain fall soft upon your fields,
And until we meet again may
God hold you in the palm of His hand.