Goodbye M’ Lord and M’ Lady

0922_FL-downton-abbey_2000x1125-1940x1091Last night I sat in front of the television for nearly two hours watching the final episode of Downton Abbey. It’s true. I will no longer be able to watch Lord Grantham as he struggles to figure out how to navigate the 20th Century, which carries with it things like hair dryers and women having lives beyond their families and being stuffed and tied into corsets. Lady Grantham’s tilted head and unending smile will no longer be there to take the edge off my day. The Crawley sisters’ bickering won’t be reminding me that sibling rivalries aren’t just a thing of the 21st Century. And Lady Violet. Oh, how I will miss Lady Violet.

Ever since the very first time I heard those bells tingle in the show’s opening sequence six years ago, my life was changed in a small way. And I’m not sure why. It was like entering into a dream.

I never yearned to be one of the Crawleys. I would have gotten lost in that gigantic home. Heavens knows I can’t even imagine having to wear formal wear EVERY SINGLE NIGHT to dinner. Life in the late 19th and early 20th Century was no piece of cake, even for families like the one in Downton.

Still, I enjoyed watching the show. There will be a hole in my Sunday nights that won’t be easily filled. Between the ending of football season and the series finale of Downton Abbey, I might have to take up embroidery.

It is no exaggeration to say that I cried throughout the entire episode last night. Seriously, from the beginning until the end. The fact that I was having to say goodbye to the Crawleys was no small part of the reason I cried. But Julian Fellowes (the series’ creator and writer) simply handed me a finale that was so flipping satisfying in every way.

I recognize, of course, that real life doesn’t always wrap up so conveniently and satisfactorily in 90 minutes as did the life in that little town in York. But I think that is why I found the show so incredibly addicting. It was nice to have drama and comedy and angst and family rivalries for six weeks in the middle of winter wrapped in such a beautiful package.

Because Downton Abbey was nothing if not beautiful. The clothes were lovely. The house was unimaginably beautiful. The manners, the British accents, the scenery – all made for astoundingly beautiful visuals.

For the most part, the characters were kind and smart. In the first season, I kept waiting for the wealthy Crawley family to be evil and greedy. That’s Hollywood’s typical depiction of the rich and powerful.  But no; instead, they were serious about trying to make a good life for the people for whom Lord Grantham was responsible. Not just his staff, but the people of the village.

The staff downstairs had their own interesting characters, story lines, saints and devils. I enjoyed getting a glimpse each week into what went on in the way of providing service for a family in a house the size of a small village. It was fun to root for the good guys and boo for the bad guys.

At the end of the day, I have enjoyed watching this beautiful program for the past six seasons, and am sad to say goodbye. But I feel like I’m leaving Downton and all the people there in good hands.

This post linked to the GRAND Social

Fire the Underbutler

Housons 2015

Bill, Bec, Jen and I enjoyed our annual New Year’s Eve LUNCH at Houston’s in Scottsdale. We were sound asleep at midnight.

The first Monday after New Year’s Day is always a combination of a letdown and a great relief. I’m sure many of you are like me, that is, beginning somewhere around Thanksgiving you enjoy an extravaganza of eating, drinking, shopping, and partying that is like no other time of the year. I swear that since December 24, I have eaten every iteration of beef imaginable. My colon is going to seize.

Like many others, I woke up yesterday morning determined to start anew. I went to Walmart fixing to purchase nothing but healthy items so that I could cook wonderful and nutritious meals for Bill and me.  I, of course, was not the only one who had decided to stock up their larder after the holidays, particularly here in the Valley of the Sun with the return of the winter visitors. I’m pretty sure I say this every year: Do my larder stocking during the week between Christmas and New Year’s. Someday I will actually remember this.

Nevertheless, things went pretty well Walmart-wise, until I tried to pay for my groceries. As you are all probably aware, stores everywhere are in the process of changing their credit card machines over to ones that accept the new chipped credit cards, which mine is. Many more stores are ready to go here in Arizona than they are in Denver. In Denver the only store I have found ready to go is my little neighborhood liquor store, which is owned by a friendly husband and wife who apparently are smarter than King Soopers when it comes to installing the new technology.

Anyhoo, after the cashier rang up all of my groceries, she gave me the total. Once I got over the shock of how much she said I owe, I stuck my card into the card reader and it proceeded to tell me my chip was damaged. Now, that was a possibility of course. However, minutes before, the chip had NOT been damaged at Target. But, things happen and perhaps it had gotten damaged while riding in the car in my purse in the front seat. You never know. The cashier, however, told me that her particular Walmart store had been having technical troubles the past couple of days with their little credit card machines. (Perhaps they should contact my Denver liquor store owners.) She kept trying, and the people behind me in line kept getting more and more impatient. As for me, I kept telling her, “Never mind, I have another card I can use.”

Finally, she reluctantly agreed to let me use my second credit card. However, you guessed it. It, too, wouldn’t go through. “We’re having lots of trouble with our little machines,” she told me once again. By this time the line behind me was becoming just short of belligerent. A riot was about to ensue. The seniors were revving up their electric carts.

“I have one last option,” I told her. (Golf clapping from the masses behind me.) “I have a debit card.”

Well, I’m happy to tell you that my debit card worked and a riot was forestalled. Remember the olden days when we used, uh, cash? Something that mostly doesn’t exist in my wallet.

This, by the way, was not a problem faced by Lord and Lady Grantham Sunday night in the Season 6 premiere of Downton Abbey. Financial issues, yes. A possible need to fire the underbutler was the greatest crisis Robert and Cora are facing following the season premiere. There is a promise of much greater drama, however. I won’t say any more at this time as I’m not wont to be a spoiler. (See, sitting down and watching one episode makes me say things like “not wont.”) The only thing I will say is, oh Anna. You’re beginning to get on my very last nerve.

With her bad luck, her credit card wouldn’t go through at Walmart either. Although it would undoubtedly be Mrs. Patmore who would be sent to stock up the larder. And she would actually call it a larder, as well. Oh no! I’m starting to speak in Downton Abbeyese.  I may have to speak to Bill about firing the underbutler. Oh, wait. He is the underbutler.