I finally saw a really real reality television show

Published 6:24 pm Tuesday, June 30, 2015

I don’t watch a whole lot of television. I might watch the news every day, but it doesn’t take long to see which stories they have chosen for us to watch that day. After seeing them “alerting” and “breaking,” 10 times the same old stories, well, it gets a little old.

On this past Sunday night, though, I began watching a show on CNN that was very interesting. In fact, even though I had planned to go to bed early, I ended up watching the whole thing. It was a documentary on Glen Campbell’s journey into the cruel valley of the shadow of death, also known as Alzheimer’s.

From the beginning, it might seem an unlikely subject for a television show. Too sad, too real, too embarrassing. Why look at someone, who has ridden the waves of life’s most exciting seas and ridden them with tremendous success, now crash upon jagged and painful rocks? Speaking of the popular genre of reality television series, this one might be just a little too real.

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Reality television is popular these days. The titles, alone, are so interesting that one might never see the actual show to imagine what goes on. The Weather Channel has “Fat Men in the Woods.” Another network has “Naked and Afraid.”

The “Real Housewives of Bainbridge” is yet to come. I’m waiting for “Fat Men, Naked and Afraid, in the Woods Waiting for the Real Housewives of Bainbridge”!

“See real full-bodied men dropped by helicopter into the Flint River wilderness, chased by wild hogs, gnats, and mosquitoes, meet naked housewives with frying pans and rolling pins, all while Bikefest can be heard in the background!”

Back to the Glen Campbell film. Its title was “Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me.” The main player was Glen, himself, but intertwined with the musical icon was his family as they lovingly and, sometimes painfully endured, the singer and entertainer’s declining condition.

As I mentioned earlier, it doesn’t sound too happy. It wasn’t, but life isn’t always a bowl of cherries. I will say this for it. It did not mince words and sights of the debilitating disease, but it also gave us enough of Glen’s unique talent and blessings to be uplifting. In other words, there was pain in the reality of what was happening, but also joy in seeing the courage, vulnerability and faith of one of America’s greatest showmen of the last 50 years.

The high and clear voice of the young Glen Campbell has disappeared. Who can forget “The Wichita Lineman or Galveston”?

When I went to Nashville in the mid 1970s, I couldn’t help but sing “I been walkin’ these streets so long, singing the same old song…but I’m gonna be where the lights are shining on me…Like a Rhinestone Cowboy!”

Unless I contract the same condition as Glen Campbell has, I’ll never forget some of the words to “Gentle on My Mind.”

The voice has shrunk a little, but it’s still bigger and better than mine! And I could never in a million years play a guitar like Glen Campbell still can. Neither can most of today’s guitarists.

“Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me” was a joy to see. He fumbled many of the words. He got angry at his loved ones. He might not have known which golf club to choose. But, and this is important, Glen Campbell was still Glen Campbell.

It’s important for us to remember that we may forget who we are and who is around us, but God doesn’t. I saw that in a really, real reality show.