Monday, April 22, 2013

Downton Abbey

My wife and I have just finished watching seasons one and two of Downton Abbey on dvd, and have been totally charmed by the series. If nothing else it is a nice change from the “threat from Islamic terrorists” which seems to be the plot line for everything on television, be it news or entertainment. America is becoming distressingly single minded. The show is, in all respects, delightful, and if you have not watched it I recommend it to you.

One character in the story touches a particular chord for me; the Dowager Duchess, played by Maggie Smith. She is the mother of Lord Grantham, his daughters call her “Granny,” and she has a dry and sparkling wit.

She reminds me enormously of my Dad’s mother, who we kids called “Granny.” The facial features are strikingly similar, and my Granny was born with the family name of Featherston, which may account for some of the similarity in mannerisms and the nature of her sense of humor.

Once a month or so, when the parents had an evening out, we kids would spend the evening at Granny’s house. Dinner was always the same thing: hamburger steaks so overcooked that they were crunchy, frozen peas barely thawed, and sticky white rice with margarine on top. It was awful food, but we didn’t care, because an evening with Granny was an event to be looked forward to with eager anticipation. She was an absolute blast.

She was a Christian lady in the best sense of the word. She lived it without talking about it, and it was her influence that gave me the blessing of growing up in a Southern culture and having a father who taught me that it was unconscionable to judge a person by the color of his skin. I will always be grateful to her for that.

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