And The Answer Is… – The Musk Ox

A good education and a kind heart will serve you well throughout your entire life. – Alex Trebek

Memoirs are often great sources of self-help because they give us a glimpse into the mind and life of someone we may not have otherwise been privy to… which isn’t very good sentence structure but makes a lot of sense. You NEVER know what you’ll learn when you keep your mind open to the opportunities!

This one is spectacular!

If you want to read a memoir that gives you all the feels… Alex Trebek‘s The Answer Is… checks off all the boxes.

  • Colorful (or Colourful, since it’s in Canada) immigrant family. Check.<<< Name change? Of. course! It was Terebeychuk.
  • Childhood antics and angst. Check. <<< This is also when we learn that Alex has a mouth on him. I believe it was a Catholic priest that got the moniker, “Dick” as in: not his name, his attitude. So did a few others throughout the book. Also, he learned to curb his earthy language for the sake of professionalism. LOL Gotta love it!
  • Education, work ethic and sportsmanship. Check. <<< Yes, there’s hockey. And, basketball!
  • Early career. Check.<<< Can you say news, music and game shows on both sides of the border?
  • Love and marriage. Check. <<< His first family (ex-wife and step-daughter) and second get along well and even have dinners together. His second wife is Jean, his soul mate of 30 years. She is 24 years his junior but it hardly seems worth mentioning.
  • Dishy Hollywood-ish stuff – Check. <<< Not gonna tell you. You must read it. Enjoy!
  • Travel. Check. <<< Where hasn’t he been? There is one place… and I can’t remember where nor can I find it again to tell you. Maybe you can come back and tell me, if you do. 🙂
  • Jeopardy. Check. <<< Even chapters on his favorite contestants, questions, behind-the-scenes, etc.
  • Health. Check. <<< But not too much. This book is NOT about the cancer but it *was* a catalyst for writing it in the first place.
  • Legacy. Check. <<< Although it is so much larger than can be contained in the details of this book.

And then, there’s his favorite animal. You guessed it! The Musk Ox! And I LOOOOOOOOOVED the story of why he loves them so much (and stands up with his body, soul and money to protect them)!

From the Jeopardy page titled “This is Alex Trebek’s Spirit Animal” —

When asked why the musk ox is his favorite, Alex responded, “Musk oxen are family oriented, and I like that. When in danger, they form a protective circle with the males facing outward, and the cows and calves in the center. There are very few predators brave enough to attack this formation. Besides that, I like the way their furry coats wave in the breeze when they are running.”

Trebek includes a TON of photos in this book! And, they’re interspersed throughout! Like, right with the sections being written about, which I love. Don’t you just hate when you have to flip back and forth to see a face to go with the words? I do.

Most of us know by now that Trebek died after a short but courageous battle with cancer. That he chose to share his diagnosis and optimism publicly made me respect him more than I already did… and that was a lot.

Was it difficult to read, you know, because he’s gone? Yes and no. It felt like he wasn’t gone at all – his voice is so strong and personal! But of course, we know he is… and that’s heartbreaking.

Like almost everyone else, Alex Trebek was a fixture in our home and had been throughout my life, in one form or another. We watched him in his early game shows and remarked on how handsome and bright he seemed. We – and that means everyone from the grandparents to the kids – gathered around the television for Jeopardy, especially once it was syndicated and on at night with Wheel. We discussed his moustache and his brown eyes that conveyed a warmth that wasn’t always obvious in the early days. As the years went by, he felt like a part of the family.

When he shared his diagnosis, my stomach dropped. We’ve lost so many recently. Or, so it seems, as I get older.

I didn’t know if he was a spiritual person – and yes, he shares about his beliefs in the book – but I prayed for him. I believed he’d beat the odds. And there for awhile, it seemed as if he might!

In the end, this book feels like a love story to his family, friends and fans… and it isn’t maudlin, sad or for one-moment anything-other-than hopeful, fun, conversational and breezy reading.

Trebek turned 80 earlier this year and knows he’s lived a beautiful life. I’m so glad he got the chance to share it with us!

Just for fun, I’m sharing one of my favorite scenes from Hot in Cleveland. It’s about 3 minutes long and you have to watch to the end.

RIP Alex… we sure will miss you!


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