Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Awesome August 2014 Sick Days with Jeopardy, Tomato Soup, and Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

Don Pardo passed away, an announcer for various television shows, most recently SNL. I connect him, and his voice, with some special memories.

NPR reports here on his passing , and says " Fans of Saturday Night Live, and the original versions of The Price is Right and Jeopardy recognize Don Pardo's voice immediately." 

I grew up in a small town in the mountains of southwest Virginia, Richlands. My father worked as a salesman and warehouse foreman for a wholesale grocer, Dixie Grocery. The buildings where I attended junior high school were across the street and on the other side of the railroad tracks from the Dixie (as we called it). I am the second of three children my parents had together, and the second daughter. I adored my father, and discovered quickly that if I got "sick" at school, once I was in seventh grade, that I could have the secretary call over to the Dixie and Daddy would say send her over here and I will take her home when I get my lunch break. 

This was not a ploy I could pull often, but it did work from time to time. He worked in the warehouse some days, and others he would be on the road, running his sales route. I would clamber over the railroad tracks, up the embankment (not very high at all), cross Railroad Avenue, and enter the Dixie via the loading docks. Daddy would take me into the office area and I would wait there for him until about noon. Jenny Cook was the secretary, and she would look after me and keep me out of trouble. I was fascinated by the office machines, the safe, the bustle and sounds of the place. 

When noon came, we would get in the car and go to the house, maybe a 1  1/2 mile drive. Daddy and I would heat up a can of Campbells Tomato Soup and make grilled cheese sandwiches for our lunch and watch Jeopardy (hosted by Art Fleming, announced by Don Pardo). We still had a black and white television then. Oh, my the memories!

Daddy would answer so many of the questions correctly, and I knew a few. I would try to keep our score on a piece of paper, he always won, and was conservative in his wagers. He was a smart man, and well read. He paid close attention to the news, both broadcast and print. We always had magazines, Time, NewsWeek, The New Yorker, Life, Esquire, in addition to Mom's women's magazines and TV Guide around the house. 

My parents raised us to be politically, socially, economically aware young people. We were a family that read together, and voted in turn as we were eligible. 60 Minutes was watched every Sunday night, and the NBC Nightly News was a time of mandatory silence in the house. Daddy enjoyed sports, especially football and baseball, and we watched sports frequently as well. There was always an ample supply of reference material around the house, and if you had a question, you were told to "Look it up!"

We were not wealthy, but we were rich in so many ways.

After Daddy and I had our tomato soup and cheese sandwiches, he would say, "Well, Bertie, it seems you are feeling better. Ready to go back to school?"

I do not think I fooled him at all, but how I treasured those lunches!

Don Pardo's voice will be missed by me, because it always made me think of my Daddy.

Robert Ernest "Poss" Smith
March 1915 - April 1986

I have an awesome life, because I had a man among men for a father, and am blessed to still have my mother.

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