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Posted: June 7, 2014 10:00 p.m.

How much longer, Alice?

Alice is dead. The housekeeper in the center square of mod sitcom entertainment has passed away at 88, leaving her Brady Bunch without their rudder.

Eighty-eight was a great age, Alice!

It’s almost 90, the magical number I’d always picked for myself: a number that was once so far away in my future, just as 88 was in yours. But as I’ve aged and prayed and learned, I’ve discovered the flaws in this ancient wish of mine. It’s all misdirection and magical thinking. Did you discover that too, as Alice, as Ann B. Davis? You always seemed to know so much, there in your kitchen, with your pies.

At age 54, I’m now just 36 years away from that sacred final year I’ve hoped for. And if I reflect back 36 years from today, it’s 1978 again, and even though your sitcom was over and syndication was the game, your kids were singing and dancing and wearing awful costumes on my television. And that scares me, Alice. If I can still recall such trivia 36 years later, then the next 36 — the final 36 of my outlandish 90 - will come and go in a wink. I’m afraid 90 was a bad choice for me. I should have selected 110 or some other hopelessly advanced age, as if it would have mattered an iota. I bet you would have had some good advice if Bobby had asked this silly question. What about Sam the butcher? 75? 80 tops? He was always high strung, wasn’t he?

Alice, I fear your advice would match my own. When young girls are murdered for “family honor,” there is no surety of the future breath for any of us. Any prayers for 90 are just little selfish rituals performed for our own benefit. I know that. I bet you knew it, too. I bet you found out that life’s joy only comes when you can vibrantly ignore Death’s lewd advances, even when his breath is hot upon our collars, and he’s mumbling threats only he can hear. We are silly little creatures, aren’t we? We’re always helping Death count out his numbers: one more birthday, one more season for our funny sitcoms, one more of everything before our sun falls the last time. Bake us all a pie, Alice. Just once more? We need a slice of wisdom around the table.

David McCoy, a notorious storyteller and proud Yellow Jacket, lives in Covington. He can be reached at davmccoy@bellsouth.net.

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