In times of deep dark depression, especially in the cold of winter, I realized I was finding emotional comfort in certain of my chosen television reruns. I was an only child, and spent most of my evenings on the floor in front of the television, with my father watching from his chair, occasionally lighting a Salem cigarette.
I remember being small enough to run and hide behind the furniture when the intro music to "Gunsmoke" began. I was always hidden when Marshall Dillan fired those first two shots. I remember the TV close-up of Palladin's "Have Gun Will Travel" business card. Watching reruns now, I realize I never caught the story plot. But that wasn't the point then. A few years later, I fell madly in love with Little Joe Cartwright on "Bonanza," but I don't remember letting on to Daddy. I was Daddy's little girl, and we spent time watching television until my bedtime, almost every night of my youth.