Tuesday, January 07, 2003

A Bill Comes Due

It's a cold January day. The winds whirl, the trees moan. Snow is piled in drifts that are measured in feet, not inches. But none of this matters to you today because today you are Staying Home. You've managed to convince your mother you (cough cough) don't really feel well and just couldn't make it today. She reluctantly agrees and it's on.

Whatever you want to eat, she'd whip up since "A hamburger and a malt are the only things that sound good to me". She'd also leave you alone to recuperate, but since a kid can't sleep ALL DAY, she would also move the small black and white TV into your room (for the duration of your sickness only).

There you watch the shows of the housewives and the unemployed: Price Is Right, Tic Tac Dough, maybe a Gilligan's re-run on channel 9, the Gong Show and for whatever reason the 12 o'clock news on channel 4. For as long as I can remember this newscast was hosted by the indomitable Bill Carlson. He always came across as a nice guy neighbor you see raking his leaves on a fall day. He was earnest, but not overly so. Midwestern, but not a hick. Just a soothing presence to present the news before the Soaps started. With this in mind I was saddened to hear of his departure from the Old Neighbor. He was apparently pushed out for some new talent and he's not happy about it.

Sometimes when Bill was on assignment in Hollywood, another anchor would sit in for him and it never seemed right. The most alarming was probably Tony Saffold an effete, lispy green bean. A man who was just about the polar opposite of Bill Carlson. (I always chuckled thinking what all the old folks thought when they tuned in on a given noon hour).

So Bill, God bless ya for keeping us kids company when we were faking our way though a perfect day.

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