A few minutes...

When I was growing up, my parents always put "60 Minutes" on. Of course, my 10-year-old self found most of it boring, but I really looked forward to Andy Rooney's commentary at the end. My parents noticed this, so they gave me a paperback full of Andy's short essays among my Hannukah presents one year.

I always preferred small presents to large ones -- small ones were usually something creative, like clay or markers or books. Large boxes usually meant board games or clothes, which weren't my preference.

My birthday presents, early '80s, since I don't have a photo from Hanukkah,
but you get the idea - the presents were always by the fireplace in our living room.

I remember getting several great small presents that Hakkukah, in fact: The newest Mad Magazine, which is something I asked for on pretty much every holiday (why no one just sprang for a subscription is beyond me), a silver paint marker (those were just getting big), A Few Minutes with Andy Rooney, and probably some other stuff I can't remember.

We had a couch that curled around the fireplace. So after I got the Andy Rooney book, I lay on the couch in front of a roaring fire and started reading it. That's why I remember that Hannkuah so well, because I felt so cozy reading my Andy Rooney book inside by the fire.

About a year ago, I wrote him a fan letter in shameless hope of getting him to mention Carrie Pilby on the air, since he sometimes complains about his mail during his segment. I told him all about how I'd grown up enjoying his segments and how eventually I began writing observational essays myself.

Just to give him a little extra incentive to mention my missive, at the end I wrote,

P.S. You were great in all those Andy Hardy movies with Judy Garland.

I figured that might sufficiently annoy him so he'd complain about it on the air. ("This girl says she's a fan, but she thinks I'm the same person as Mickey Rooney.")

No such luck. But I kept enjoying his commentary. Then, not long ago, I watched him say a fitting goodbye in his last segment for "60 Minutes."

It seems like just days later he went into the hospital, and now he's gone. He must have seen it coming when he decided to retire.

I guess if you've been watching someone on TV for more than 30 years, they're bound to leave sooner than later. But it's too bad we didn't get to see one last segment on hospital food and doctor's bills. He was probably writing it in his mind while he lay in his hospital bed. J'ever wonder...?

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