My funny valentine,
Sweet, comic valentine;
You make me smile with my heart.
Your looks are laughable,
Yet, you're my favorite work of art.
Don't change a hair for me,
Not if you care for me,
Stay, little valentine, stay;
Each day is valentine's day.
My Funny Valentine, Rodgers & Hart,
Right there, that little showtune I just quoted, It's exactly my feelings for Lucille Ball.
Her extensive body of work; three television series , over 80 films , and countless guest television appearances and specials; all just parts of the whole which, put together, leaves us with the valentine that she put together so diligently over the span of her 40+ year career in movies and television.
A lot of you might not be able to understand the way I feel about this incredible woman and, that's okay; understandable even.
I'll come right out and say it..
Lucille Ball saved me from suicide.
Yeah, that's right, that crazy "redhead" whose only real plot was trying to get into show business by cooking up hair-brained schemes with her BFF, Ethel, and driving her temperamental Cuban husband absolutely bananas with her unpredictability; that scatterbrained secretary who pushed her ultra- serious, no nonsense, yet somehow lovable curmudgeon of a boss, Mr. Mooney's buttons until they could be pushed no more; that doting working mother.. no, that's wrong..
None of those ladies are the individual who showed me what the world could hold in store for anyone who made the decision that their lives are no longer going to run them, they are going to take the bull by the horns and start running their lives. Granted, they are all a part of the lady I speak of but oh, what small, miniscule, cells they are in the person that was Lucille Desiree Ball.
The woman who refused to let CBS executives tell her that the American public would never buy into the idea that her all-American, Protestant self could possibly be married to the tempremental, 'hot-blooded', Catholic [gasp!] "latin bongo beater"; Desi Arnaz and, that's why he couldn't be cast as her spouse in the TV pilot which was in the works for her; by saying, But..we have been married for 10 years...and if he doesn't do it, I don't do it..
The woman who did not allow herself to sink and forcefully yet purposefully picked up the reins and trudged forward after the seemingly tragic dissolution of her 19 year union with the love of her life and, up until that point, the brains that kept the 'Lucy' empire running smoothly...
The lady, who at the tender age of 50, became the first woman to ever be appointed as the head of a studio, and went on to assist in the creation of such pop culture staples as Star Trek and Mission Impossible..
The caring, loving woman who was appointed National Chairwoman of the March of Dimes , made countless donations to hospitals, opened her home to children whose last dying wish was to 'meet LUCY!', and even, in one instance, funded the hospital stay of a woman who worked for her..
THAT is the incredible individual who showed me, taught me, unbeknownst to her of course; that there are, indeed, lovely human beings on this Earth, they just do not always sing [oh, lawdd, should I use that? ;-)]as loudly as those who are dead set on making others feel inadequate and unwanted.
Pardon me but I'm going to add this here as well:
I love you, Lucy and, for the millionth and one time, thank you.
For everything. All of your sacrifices, your hard work, 'twas not in vain, lovely.
I'm here, in large part, because of all of them.
And so, this weekend is all for you, darling.
I hope beyond hope that you're up there, looking down, reveling in the celebration of your life, as I continue on with my own.
With all of my love and deepest gratitude,
Sunny Side Up!,