BACK IN THE SADDLE — BY GARRY ARMSTRONG

“The Saddle” was a TV studio, WCCA-TV. Worcester Community Cable Access television. It was nirvana for a retired TV news reporter. I was the guest.

Getting ready for the show

The hostess was Liz Myska, a lawyer who is also severely visually-impaired and an advocate for the visually-impaired. Dressed in a bright summer frock which set off a charming and winning smile, I felt instantly at ease as with Liz as we met and chatted with our Covid 19 masks which made conversation a bit difficult before taping the show.

Liz asked if I could “handle the 26 minute interview.”  I smiled. I could hear Marilyn’s laughter off-camera.

It was a piece of cake. Liz, working off our pre-show chatter, dove right into the “what inspired you to pursue a career that obviously has been satisfying” question. A great lead off because it enabled me to go in many directions.

Satisfying versus successful. Satisfying is more personal. Successful means you assume something and are talking, perhaps bragging about “the greatest hits” in your life. That can be very uncomfortable unless your ego is in charge.

Liz’s question enabled me to double back to my childhood and the background for the learning I got from my parents. Their blue collar earnings never diminished their belief in right and wrong.

 

They believed in education We always had books, magazines, newspapers, reference material, a variety of musical instruments, and, of course, the radio. All of which allowed me to indulge my fantasies, something that has always been an integral part of my life as I close in on 80 years.

Liz shared stories about her youth and a similar incentive to pursue dreams. It became the foundation fabric of our lives. The interview had turned into almost an intimate conversation. That is the absolute target in a well done interview.

Liz listened to me, following as I digressed multiple times as is my habit. She smiled, anticipating a funny twist that would come as I wrapped up an anecdote. I relaxed even more.

Inevitably, the interview came to dealing with major disabilities in the professional world. I was and am the severely hearing-challenged guest talking to my severely sight-challenged hostess. It was a first for me.

I always had felt it necessary to explain how disability makes life difficult, personally and professionally. No need for any such “setup” chatter with Liz. I dove into stories about my difficulties covering trials because of poor amplification in aging courthouses.  Liz just nodded as I told about beseeching judges to make attorneys and witnesses speak louder and clearer.

She laughed when I told her about the ripple effect with veteran judges (who I also implored to speak louder and clearer) chastised prominent attorneys for mumbling. Liz (who is also a lawyer) and I were on the same page about really listening to people as a reporter and an attorney, looking for layers beneath the surface. Liz’ smile was infectious as she talked about the difficulty in getting reticent clients to be open and honest. We talked about the “trust trait” — how you must have it if you need people to believe and accept what you are saying.

Liz nimbly brought the trust factor issue to our current national state of mistrust, doubt, and cynicism. We shared sighs about how those in positions of power — including reporters and lawyers – must accept the challenge to do the right and moral thing. To alleviate the moral and ethical decay that challenges our lives.

I was about to offer another thought but the show was over. 26 minutes had vanished in a moment.

Marilyn gave me a thumbs up for my work. It felt good. Always does coming from Marilyn who doesn’t let love get in the way of critiquing my work.

Marilyn was a star too. She wasn’t feeling well but agreed to accompany me for the interview. She did it as my navigator and also as my loyal source of support. It was a long and difficult day for Marilyn just being on her feet. Her mobility issues were tested by walking to and from the studio, then immediately afterwards, a lengthy shopping trek to pick up groceries.

Two leftover pretzels

Finally, last night, Marilyn chose to make delicious pretzels. The soft, warm ones like you buy at the mall. It is one of my favorites, which meant more hours on her feet since it’s a yeast recipe.  Marilyn’s feet were not happy with her last night. Nor was her back.

The canes we used were helpful. Marilyn who really has trouble walking and, me, with simple old age pains have found the canes help steady us and keep  us from falling. Despite our efforts, our bodies were clearly not pleased with our day. It was long and for Marilyn at least, was one activity over the line. Maybe two.

Today, we are paying the piper for my star turn on television. It didn’t used to be this way. How did the years go by so fast?



Categories: Celebrities, Cochlear implant, Disabilities, Ethics and Philosophy, Gallery, Garry Armstrong, Hearing, Photography, vision

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34 replies

  1. It was so interesting to read about this Garry and I wish that I could see the interview too. Any chance it might go on YouTube later?

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  2. Sounds like a great interview, Garry, and a wonderful opportunity. That being said, the day for both you and Marilyn sounds like it would be exhausting for anyone! Relax and rest, now!

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  3. Garry I’m so glad you told us all about it. You are an inspiration to us all. BTW Marilyn looks stunning in her blue top. She was really focused.
    Leslie

    Liked by 1 person

    • Leslie, thank you. It felt so GOOD to be on TV again, doing what comes so easily. Liz was a marvelous PERSON and hostess. She really made it feel effortless. I was happy with how we got into serious subject matter BEYOND my TV news career – stuff that we share on line everyday. Vary satisfying.
      The physical part of the day had its impact on both of us. It is what it is.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. You look very dapper sir! I’m just sorry the Saddle doesn’t air out west here…(maybe it does and I just don’t know it). Marilyn is beautiful as always, but does look a bit tired perhaps. Those canes are life lines indeed! And now I want a freshly baked pretzel 😆 Yum! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Melanie. I still know how to tie a tie. 2 takes for the good knot. The 1st tie knot take left me with a “Donzo” look, the tie dropping to my waist.
      The “saddle” — in the TV studio — still feels good. I remembered the little “bits” like sitting on your jacket bottom to keep the top neat and in place. Marilyn reminded me to clear my desk space free of stuff that looked like clutter. Once the show began, it was off to the races for me.
      I look forward to viewing the show so I can see how it came off.
      It was a difficult long day’s journey into evening for Marilyn – even with the cane. I appreciate all she did for me. The last of the delicious pretzels was consumed late yesterday. Yummy!

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    • I’m going to publish that recipe. I just need to get a few details worked out. I’ve used it twice — the first time was perfect, but I used different flour. The second time I used naturally milled white flour and it was a bit too dry. Not a lot and certainly edible … but I think I need to add — for that kind of flour — a bit more water and a bit more oil. It’s amazing how different things come out depending on the kind of flour you use.

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  5. How wonderful to have that interview. Marilyn is a real trouper. Your canes remind me that I need one these days as my legs are getting weaker. I’m used to walking fast, but find I best slow down, especially on sidewalks. The years seem to produce more physical challenges, and they seem to move more quickly these days.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Patricia, thanks. You’ll understand that I was up and down the previous night, a little anxious about doing the TV show (THAT never gets old no matter how long you’ve been in “the biz”) and jittery about oversleeping. Consequently, I was a bit haggard before we began the show. Everything was FINE, however, once the show began. That’s show biz!
      Yes, Marilyn is a trouper. It was a difficult day for her, But she was there for me. I am most grateful for her support.
      I also appreciate having a cane. Walking is no longer smooth for me. The sidewalks outside the TV studio were narrow and uneven and they were doing construction work – almost directly in our walking path which made things a bit hinky. We didn’t have that long a distance to walk but the obstructions made it seem much longer. By the time we reached our car, I felt a bit dizzy and a little winded. We still had things to do. An eventful day for both of us.

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      • I understand that nervousness. I was never a professional performer, but for years I did a lot of Little Theater, and every time waiting in the wings to go on stage, I would get a butterfly or two and think,”What am I doing here?” Then, one step on stage, and my thought was “I’ home.” I knew people were paying to see this production and I better not let them down. Our sidewalks are not in very good condition and go up and down in places, so I have to literally “watch” my step.

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  6. Your writing tells me of the great fun you had doing this, Garry. Marilyn–you look so pretty. That shade of blue is wonderful on you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lois, Marilyn looked beautiful. Heck, she could’ve done that TV show herself and sparkled.
      Lois, it was nice to be on TV again. Always gets the juices flowing – even for “26 minutes”.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Good morning, Garry! Is there a way people from afar might listen to the interview? I’d like to hear the conversation.

    You wrote here thoughts akin to the comment I sent to Marilyn moments ago referring to Cornel West. You: “Liz nimbly brought the trust factor issue to our current national state of mistrust, doubt, and cynicism. We shared sighs about how those in positions of power — including reporters and lawyers – must accept the challenge to do the right and moral thing. To alleviate the moral and ethical decay that challenges our lives.”

    We’re all leaning on old canes to stay upright. “Nihilism” as Cornel defines it — not a philosophic doctrine…,” but the experience of coping with a life of horrifying meaninglessness, hopelessness, and (most important) lovelessness.”

    The canes of meaning, hope (not optimism, but the active resistance to the reasons for despair), and love are still the canes on which you and Marilyn stagger through the dark night of the soul. I’m so glad for the friendship. Grace and Peace and prayers for full recovery with those beautiful pretzels.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Gordon, you have done the impossible. Lent poetry to our need for the walking canes. I’ve always prided myself on being able to walk “normally” without any issues. Until recently. We discussed the canes for Marilyn who has mobility issues and difficulty walking. A second cane, for me, was an afterthought. I never gave it much thought but am so happy to have the cane now. This is another variation on reluctantly “feeling my age”. I guess the bloom is off that rose for me. I definitely needed the cane on our short walk from the TV studio to our car. The city street was full of obstacles including construction diversions. Whew!
      Gordon, I appreciate your take on the interview segment where we veered to our national malaise. I could see it coming very clearly. it was good to have that TV platform to say what was obviously needed to be said in a format that wasn’t a designated political bully pulpit. It felt good, Gordon.
      As for your viewing, I’ll see what I can do. I’m just a “pilgrim” here. I’ll ask out hostess about it.

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    • They were really good pretzels. Every bit as yummy as the really expensive ones at the mall, but it had been a long, upright day and my legs were swollen. It is, I’m told, a side effect of one of my BP meds, but they don’t want to change anything because these are working and me given my heart and it’s issues, you don’t change medications when the ones you are using work. So it wasn’t the work. It was simply standing up for too long. And then, of course, eating them — salt overload. It didn’t help the swelling, but it sure tasted good.

      We need to continue to be involved, but we also need to acknowledge our limits which is a lot more difficult than it used to be, probably because we have so many more limits than we did. Garry was really good and the show’s hostess was sharp and funny and knowledgeable. It was a GREAT combination. I think there might even be a budding friendship in the making.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. This is such a delightful post. I feel and was with you and your talk hostess. It’s one of the best things in life having friends and people you can have a REAL discussion. Not just surfing on the surface, but in-depth and honest. Having your personal coach right with you is another beauty of your relationship. Long may it continue, for both of you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It was healthy for both of us. For me, just getting out of the house was a big deal and for Garry, a little attention from a TV camera always perks him up. She was a very good interviewer — and they had a lot in common.

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    • Kiki, as Marilyn suggests – It was a healthy venue. It gave us the opportunity to get OUT of the house for the drive to the TV station. It was nice meeting NEW people. The TV station folks were quite amiable. The interview went pretty smoothly and gave us the opportunity to weight on the national problems. Hopefully, the show will have some traction with its viewers.
      (Yes, having Marilyn as my navigator and coach is wonderful. A definite perk for me that is always appreciated).

      Liked by 1 person

  9. What a wonderful opportunity to share your stories and views.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. The years have gone by too fast. I feel your pain, some days literally.

    Liked by 2 people

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