Carol Burnett and the Three Gratefuls

In MS, Multiple Sclerosis on April 19, 2010 at 8:03 pm

Anyone else grow up in the 70’s on a steady diet of TV dinners and TV? Swanson’s and Carol Burnett, that’s the good stuff.

While digging into my salisbury steak all those years ago, I witnessed one of the most hilarious moments in TV history: the Went with the Wind spoof. Carol’s Starlett O’Hara descended the stairway in a velvet curtain dress, brass rod and gold tassels still attached. (“I saw it in the window and just couldn’t resist it.”) Starlett mustered up all her courage and held onto the railing, each step full of grace–as much grace as one can have while wearing window adornments. A bit imbalanced by the cumersome dress, she nonetheless reached Ratt Butler with her pride intact and her man overcome with emotion.

That’s me and the stairs these days. Sans the green velvet. And Harvey Korman. But there’s plenty of laughs–coming from me. How funny that such a simple act as going downstairs has morhped into a major production.

I stare down the 14 steps to my family waiting patiently below. My body feels heavy even though I don’t have a curtain strapped across my shoulders, and I muster up all my courage to descend with pride. But I need to hold onto the railing with both hands, and I wobble so much I sometimes resort to taking a bumpy ride to the bottom on my butt instead.

Graceful? Not quite. But it gets the job done. And there’s good fortune waiting for me in the foyer–a family ready for Mommy to go out instead of linger in bed.

The past few months have been rough ones, getting the MS diagnosis and then slowly letting the reality seep in. The daily shots remind me this is something I’ll have to deal with for the rest of my life. If that wasn’t enough, I’ve got two feet that feel trapped in blocks of ice. I pray that global warming is real.

Recalling Carol’s variety show always lifted my spirits. So this week I read Carol Burnett’s new autobiography This Time Together: Laughter and Reflection and learned that every night she counts her “three gratefuls”–three things for which she is thankful.

I’m alive. One grateful.

I have a healthy and supportive family. Two gratefuls.

I’ve got my sense of humor intact. Three gratefuls.

If I could add a fourth today, it would be for Carol.

And salisbury steak.

(Sorry, I skipped lunch and I’m hungry!)

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