I remember waking up in the early mornings when I was a child and hearing my parents discussing what Johnny Carson had said the night before. Mom watched Johnny until the very last show. But after he left The Tonight Show, Mom felt no loyalty to his successor.
Jay Leno got The Tonight Show. Dave Letterman got my mom.
Mom was an avid fan. When I would visit she would regale me with bits from the Letterman monologues, Top 10 Lists, and interviews. At times it seemed Mom was keeping me posted on the doings of a zany relative whom I rarely got to see.
Mom always wanted me to stay up and watch Dave when I visited her, but I’m one of those annoying morning people and by the time Dave appeared I was deeply asleep. During these visits, I slept on a futon in front of the T.V. She tried a time or two to wake me up when he started his monologue, but she was unsuccessful.
“Whaaat?” I would ask.
“Oh, never mind. You’re asleep.”
As my mother got older, she developed health problems and we all decided that she could no longer live alone or at least not so far away. We moved her from Maryland to New Jersey and my very generous mother-in-law invited my mother to live with her for a time.
Alas, my mother-in-law believed in an early bedtime.
My husband and I took my mother and mother-in-law to breakfast every Saturday. One Saturday, as my husband and mother-in-law went to pay the check, I chatted with my mom.
“So, how’s it going?” I asked.
“I haven’t seen David Letterman once since I moved in with Aida. She shoos me off to bed.”
I had a word with my husband and Mom and Dave were keeping company again.
Below you’ll find a clip from the final show. I think Mom would have liked it.