For the 35 years we’ve been married, my husband and I have had a visitor come into our house every night after dinner. This person arrived without fail, at exactly the same time to inform us, entertain us, and inspire us.
Of course, the answer to this (appropriately in the form of a question) is:
Who is Alex Trebek?
In those earliest days, my husband worked nights and I’d tape Jeopardy on our Betamax recorder to watch together later. (For the record, I still deny any claims of peeking ahead that might come when I’d manage to get a particularly hard final Jeopardy question). This nightly routine became a subtle part of the foundation being poured for the marriage we were building.
When our first baby was born, the Jeopardy theme music became her favorite song to dance to. She’d pull herself up to our console TV and sway to the music. Perhaps this was the first step in her lifelong love of music.
Throughout the coming years and three more babies, we’d all watch Jeopardy and Alex.
Sometimes, we’d know a lot of the answers and feel so smart. Sometimes we wouldn’t know many at all and be mad at the questions. But still, we enjoyed the visit.
Alex Trebek was the perfect visitor at our home. Classy, interesting, smart, handsome, funny, kind. And, as a good guest, he never stayed too long. His thirty-minute visits flew by. But it was okay because we always knew he’d be back the next day.
I know my family is not alone in this.
When we heard Alex had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, it jolted us all. This constant in our lives was now being revealed to be on borrowed time.
And yet, he continued on.
Through what we would come to find out was excruciating treatments and therapies, he soldiered on so he could still come into all our homes.
For a little longer.
My son was the first to alert our family group text of the news of the death of Alex Trebek. I don’t think any of us managed to read that text without wiping our eyes.
I found myself crying as if I had lost a friend.
And in a way we all have.
To say that 2020 has been rough is the understatement of understatements. So many things we used to take for granted have been taken away or look completely different. Now, our nights will look different, too.
I hear Alex had taped enough shows to go through Christmas.
Guess that sounds right.
This reassuring voice who stopped by for nightly visits for so very long wouldn’t end his visits without giving us one last precious gift.
And in a year that has left us with so many questions, let’s open that last gift slowly and savor the answers for as long as we can.