It’s just a scrap of paper on my computer monitor. A post it note with the words: “Enter Downton Everyday”
For months, it represented hope after love lost. Now it’s an ugly reminder of my failure to recapture the magic. I now must face a life without Downton Abbey.
Let me explain. As Downton Abbey was wrapping up it’s 6th and final season here in the U.S., I, like a lot of fans of the show, had a sense of impending doom. How would we live in a world without the Crawley family and their downstairs staff? How would we spend our Sunday nights after the last episode aired March 6, 2016?
Then one day at work, when I should have been doing something productive, I stumbled across a contest by PBS, the network which airs the show here in the U.S. The 2016 Downton Abbey Sweepstakes promised the winner a six-day, five-night visit to Great Britain, with stops at Highclere castle (the real life
home castle featured on the show), DVD’s and books of the show, and props from the set.
“How cool is all of that?” I told myself as I scanned the online entry form to see if I could fill it out before my 10:00am meeting. After filling it out, I learned that the contest accepted multiple entries, one a day for the next three months. Obviously, my chances would be much greater of winning if I could remember to click on the entry button EVERY FREAKIN’ DAY until the contest ended on March 15th. So on that cold December day I wrote a reminder to myself to “Enter Downton Everyday.” I put the link to the contest in my bookmark bar to make it quicker and easier to enter everyday.
And that’s what I did nearly every damn day from mid-December 2015 until March 15, 2016 – I clicked on the entry button and crossed my fingers that, even though the show was ending I’d win this contest and get a chance to go to England and immerse myself in all that is Downton once again. When the March 15th date came and went, I braced myself for the call from somebody saying “Congratulations! You’re our winner!” Every “unknown caller” on my phone could be them. But it never was and my email inbox remained empty of Downton Abbey Sweepstakes news.
Then finally this week – an email proclaiming that a guy named Philip S. from El Segundo, California had won the contest. (It’s probably best they didn’t give us his last name as some fans, like me, might go to El Segundo, track him down and rip his airline tickets out of his bloody hands.)
Philip looks like a nice enough man and I’m happy for him. But I can’t help but feel a little bit like Ralphie on A Christmas Story when he held out such hope that his Little Orphan Annie decoder ring would decode a real message instead of a “crummy commercial.” Hope dashed.
So now I will rip that post-it off my computer. I no longer need to be reminded to enter the contest. Philip S. bested me. Have fun Philip. That’s fine. Don’t worry about us. As you’re gallivanting all over the English countryside, I’ll be at my desk Googling for news about a possible Downton Abbey movie and ogling a picture of Jimmy the footman that I ripped out of my Downton Abbey desk calendar last year. Swoon.
Without the contest, I need to accept my loss. I need to find a new Sunday show and obsession. Downton is gone from my TV set forever and I don’t get to visit England for a final goodbye. To quote Ralphie himself: “Son of a Bitch!”