“Chris?…” I said, tentatively, a request in my tone.
“Yes?…” he replied, eyebrows raised.
“Um, I know you kind of hung out with Gid all day today, but…is there any chance you could take all three kids out of the house tomorrow morning?” I asked in a rush. “Just for one hour?”
“…Why?” he asked, eyebrows still raised.
“Because…” I answered with major chagrin. “I want to be alone with Regis.”
That’s right. Today is the big day. The day I have been denying for months and dreading for weeks.
Today is the day that Regis Philbin hosts his last episode of “Live with Regis and Kelly”.
Wahhhhhhhhhh!!!! (That was me, doing my “Lucy” cry).
I remember the first time I watched “Live”. I was in college, away from home for the first time, and even worse than my acute homesickness was my seeming inability to wake myself up in the mornings to get to class on time. I always have been an incredibly hard sleeper, and without my Mom there to drag me out of bed each day, I easily slept through 30 rounds of the snooze button, sometimes missing my first class altogether. It was a problem.
One morning, however, I woke up on time and flipped on the television while I ate my breakfast. There was Regis, the colorful character I had seen do spots on Letterman several times, and sitting next to him was a woman named Kelly that I had never seen before. Their “host chat” drew me in and I became an instant fan.
From then on, I did my best to catch their show, and very soon, I was hooked. Miracle upon miracles, I found myself waking up in time to get ready and eat my breakfast with Regis and Kelly before making it to class every day. On time.
Would I have received my college diploma without Regis? Maybe…
But then again, maybe not!
Since that time, I have remained a devoted fan, watching their 3D Halloween show with the 3D glasses I picked up at Walgreen’s, voting for them in the People’s Choice Awards, rushing to my recovery room to catch the show after having my babies, and yes, crying repeatedly during the last two weeks of touching and memorable episodes.
I admire Regis for several reasons. His graciousness. His humor. His ability to laugh at himself. His kindness. His work ethic. His family life. His outstanding hosting skills. His humility and gratitude. His devotion to helping others. His integrity. His suit and tie, every morning. His determination. His fitness. His wisdom and experience. And his stories about growing up during a nostalgic time in America are absolutely precious; likewise, his stories about faithfully pursuing his dreams all these years are nothing short of inspiring…
He is an American hero who loves our country, supports our troops, and brings smiles to the faces of thousands of viewers morning after morning after morning, even on our saddest days.
I am one of those viewers, and I just felt I had to take the time to pay a small tribute to this beloved man who feels more like a friend than a celebrity.
I raise my coffee cup to you, Mr. Philbin. My television – and my mornings – will never be quite the same without you…
Thanks for everything. (and that includes the college diploma).