I Love Oprah by Nancy Malcolm
In 1986 I began my love affair with Oprah. I loved her. I mean L O V E D her. During the early years I would race home from teaching school, throw my kids a snack and turn on the television. Propping my feet up, I would zero in on Oprah’s newest topic, challenge or guest. If one of the kids dared to interrupt, I was indignant. “Can’t you see I’m watching Oprah?” I did not want to be bothered by the real world when Oprah was imparting some important life lesson, weight loss miracle or reuniting a fractured family.
As the years went on, work plus family life did not allow a 4:00 p.m. break. We finally got a DVR and could tape her show, so I at least had my fix before bedtime.
As a true believer, I would often quote Oprah and her mentor Maya Angelou. “When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.” I admit I learned this lesson the hard way, but none the less, Oprah was right. If one of the kids would complain about not getting something, I would spout, “Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never have enough.” If Oprah said it, it was gospel.
I relished Oprah’s Christmas Give Away shows, even entering a lottery to get a ticket for the show. I saw myself screaming, jumping up and down and smiling ear to ear as I won a TV, toaster oven and adorable mink lined slippers. One year Boo gave me a subscription to Oprah’s magazine, and this fueled my even bigger fantasy, that I was one of Oprah’s friends. Once, Oprah told us about one of her favorite snacks, which I took to be mine, as well. Wasa cracker, thin layer of light mayo and a slice of deli turkey. Delicious and low calorie. One spring I literally lived on Oprah’s favorite snack, ignoring the fact that Oprah obviously had many other favorite things as well as snacks.
I was there when she lost, then gained, then lost her weight. I watched as she discovered her half-sister. I was a member of her Book Club and I watched The Color Purple. I laughed when she laughed, cried when she cried, and I always believed Stedman was her soul mate. I was unsuspecting when the worst thing imaginable happened…The Oprah Show came to an end. May 25, 2011 was a dreadful day indeed. Who would I become without Oprah? I was depressed and despondent as I shuffled through the few hours between work and bed, and I resented her desire to do something else. “What about me?” I cried.
Soon, she started her OWN network, and I watched the Super Soul Sunday’s, and did my best to hang in there with O. It just wasn’t the same and soon, my attention dwindled. Boo became fed up with my moping around and declared my depression was all in my head.
“Get over it already,” he admonished. “Just let go and go on with Dr. Phil.”
“Easy for you to say,” I cried. “You don’t know Oprah like I do.”
It was hard, but I did recover. I’m just grateful that I had Oprah for as long as I did. I want her to be proud of me and know that I am doing just fine these days. I want her to know she was my inspiration and my role model. And if I close my eyes, I can still see her smiling and saying, “YOU get a car! And YOU get a car! And YOU get a car!!!” Her generous spirit lives on!
I love you, Oprah!