Farewell to Downton Abbey

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Sunday, we got to see the last episode of Downton Abbey twice.

In the afternoon, we joined several hundred Downton addicts at the historic Embassy theater in downtown Fort Wayne.

This series has been PBS’ most popular show in the network’s history.

At home, watching the comings and goings of the Crawleys at their estate, occasionally taking a side trip to London or hunting in Wales has been our Sunday evening routine over six seasons.

After the Embassy showing, we grabbed a sandwich at Henry’s bar across the street from the newspaper where I had written editorials for more than 20 years.

We weren’t finished with the Crawleys. At 9 p.m. we turned on PBS to watch the last Downton episode again.

I’m not sure the show was so wonderful that I had to see it twice. Of course, I tend to transform my favorite activities into traditions.

A more practical reason to watch the show a second time was that the Embassy didn’t feature subtitles. So with my hearing loss, I missed a lot of the dialogue.

At home, I could switch on the subtitle feature. Now I could discern what Lord Grantham was telling his wife Cora and what she was saying to him.

I had grown to like all the characters, even including the footman Thomas. This scheming servant grew on you over the months.

When he took another position at another mansion, I found myself feeling sorry for him.

Lady Mary had lost her first husband in a car crash. So she struggled with her love for another man who built and raced cars.

He ended giving up racing. Instead, he opened a fancy car dealership. That resolved Mary’s qualms.

I was amazed at how many loose ends got tied up. I’m sure I’m not the only regular viewer whose favorite actor was the legendary Maggie Smith who portrayed the Lady Violet Crawley.

The series creator Julian Fellowes gave Maggie a couple of¬†cutting one-liners in each episode. I not only loved those¬†lines, often delivered as asides. I loved this actor’s expressions.

I’m in no hurry to order a set of Downton videos. It seems somehow disrespectful. For now, I’d prefer to savor the memory of the Crawleys and a different world when people wore tuxes and gowns to dinner.

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