Thursday, 3 April 2014

My Evening With Oprah

 Last May for my Mother's Day gift my daughter and son-in-law bought me a ticket to An Evening With Oprah.  Ms Winfrey included Ottawa on a tour around North America she was conducting at the time.  After giving up her daytime talk show, that was still the top rated show after 24 years, Oprah was feeling the need to reconnect with her fans.  I joined 20,000 of her closest friends, as she put it, at ScotiaBank Place for an evening of chit chat.  I loved every minute of it.  After watching Oprah for so many years on t.v., I did feel like I knew her.  She did not disappoint.  She began with a slide show showing photos of her rise to success from the humblest of beginnings with the message that if I can do all this so can you. She talked about children and the importance of protecting them; she talked about women and our need to be strong and maintain our support of each other.  She talked about books and the joy of reading.  She sang a song for us; her  singing voice surprisingly strong and enjoyable. She had the most inspiring wonderful quotes projected around the arena.  At one point she declared that her very expensive shoes were killing her feet, so she took them off and promptly gave them away to a young woman in the audience.  Her assistant rushed slippers on stage for her and she finished the rest of the evening in them. Leaving the building amid all those women of all ages, I must admit I did feel empowered; Oprah was right...what a force in the world women are.
I am a reluctant fan of most things and certainly not celebrities.  I'm not the jump up and down, hoot and holler, type of person.  But yet I have always admired Oprah and mainly for two reasons.  For her early years, she often did shows dealing with the rights and needs of children; she tackled many issues of child abuse head on and included experts in the field on her show at a time when this was not really being done. She continued to do these shows even when ratings were indicating they were not her most popular.  How could I, an educator and mother, not love that?  
The second reason is how she managed to boost the idea of reading nation wide.  By talking to authors and starting her book club, she gave reading an importance no one before or since has been able to do.  Many people who had never read a book began reading because of her influence.  As an educator and avid reader myself, how could I not love that? 
So there I was that night amid joyful fans, cheering and clapping too with a big smile on my face.  I dressed in pink with a purple scarf....Oprah's favourite colours. ( Actually I wore a pink boiled wool jacket with a pin in the lapel and with my silk scarf, I told everyone I was channeling Jackie Florrick, joke).
I would never have gone on my own, but I'm ever so glad I did.