Write a New Scene for Your Life by Shellie Rushing Tomlinson

It’s been an interesting exercise for me to come up with my favorite retro television shows. To be honest, I remember being frustrated by so many of the storylines.

For instance, I loved I Dream of Jeannie. Barbara Eden seemed like a real life Barbie. I wanted to look like her and I wanted to cross my arms and make things happen like she did. I remember playacting scenes from the show with my sister Rhonda and our cousin, Lisa. We tied string around objects half-way across the room and pulled on them as we wiggled our noses.  The results never met our expectations. Oh, yes, I loved Jeannie, but I tired of her calling Sergeant Nelson “Master.” I wanted them to go public with their relationship long before they did and I wanted them to tell her whole story, which they never did. If I were to write myself into one of those scripts, I’d be Jeannie and I’d say, “Xnay to the lampyay. This is how it is…” (Pig Latin for no more living in the lamp.)

Then there was Get Smart. Agent 99 was super cool and Maxwell made me laugh but I longed for him to wise up. He was potentially cute, or at the very least, he wasn’t unattractive, and anyone could see that Agent 99 was more than long-suffering about his mishaps. Why, if he could just lose a few of his dorky ways the two of them could fall in love for real and live happily ever after.

For many of the same reasons, another show that both pulled me in and frustrated me was Gunsmoke. For the life of me, I didn’t understand why Matt Dillon and Miss Kitty couldn’t move things on down the road.

I’m laughing as I compose these thoughts. Clearly, the plot lines I wanted to develop could have torpedoed those shows a long time before they ran their television course. Then again, maybe a savvy novelist (like my fellow belles) could’ve taken one of those staid plots and knocked it out of the park!

I don’t know what my frustration confession says about me, but I do see a similarity in those little girl imaginings and what has become more and more important to me as I move through life. I dearly love encouraging all of us to face the fears of our what-ifs and move on. Retro television aside, we know real life refuses to stand still but we don’t always see that we can embrace those changes and expose ourselves to new opportunities or we can limit ourselves by our resistance until, sadly, we run our course in much the same place that we began. I hope everyone on this porch will hold His hand and explore every new thing He has in store.

Hugs, Shellie

Shellie Rushing Tomlinson is an author, speaker, radio host and Belle of All Things Southern who still can’t cross her arms and bob her head to make things appear or her next book would be outlined already.

Was it just me or did y’all want those shows to go where no prior episode had gone before? 


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  1. Rachel Hauck says

    Shellie! You’re the cutest Jeannie! LOL. Love it. My grandma loved Gunsmoke. She watched it faithfully.

    Love all these retro thoughts.


  2. says

    Wise words from a wise lady: Go ahead and face our fears and what-ifs. I needed to hear that today, Shellie. And I know exactly what you mean about being frustrated (and exhausted by) the long, drawn out conflicts in the tv storylines. Yes, folks may not have kept watching if things got resolved, but maybe something entirely new and fresh could have happened in the character’s lives. Thanks for this terrific post, dear friend.


  3. Lisa Wingate says

    Oh my gosh, I’m late to the porch today, and now I’m laughing my head off! I love that photo — you make an amazing Jeannie! I think you should frame that one and put it on your desk.

    Also love your point about not being stuck in the same place in life. So often, we just need to quit worrying and get moving, don’t we?

    Happy Friday, Shellie!


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