Why I love The Waltons


OK, I admit it—I’d rather watch an episode of The Waltons than anything else on TV. I know most people think the Virginia backwoods family with seven kids is nothing short of hokey, but I have found so much comfort in their simple way of life in recent years. Most people my age remember the show as all about eldest son “John-Boy,” the wanna-be writer stuck between his country life and big-city desire for success. But for some reason I find myself drawn to mom Olivia, who can run the household while husband John worked the sawmill, be stern with all manner of motherly advice and still have dinner on the oilcloth-covered table by dusk. Plus I’ve always loved that hair—bun-by-day/100-brushstrokes-before-bed …

While my life has been (at different times) complicated with life-altering medical diagnoses, daunting work challenges and family issues I only thought others dealt with, Olivia and her brood have provided me with an escape and some life important lessons. Don’t get me wrong—as even Michael Learned admits on a reunion show (yup, I watch those, too), episodes regularly featured difficult topics like racism, domestic violence, war and substance abuse, among others. Weighty issues for before-bedtime viewing, for sure. But Will Geer (“as ‘The Grandfather’”) was always there to remind the family about the beauty of their mountain home, goose his stone-faced wife and laugh so hard he cried. I could think of worse things in this world right now.