Well, it’s that time of year again.
I’m dreaming about white water rafting through a river of mashed potatoes.
Soon, it’ll be snowing on Snoopy’s french toast.
And before we know it, Good Ol’ Charlie Brown will be scrubbing gravy stains off his zigzag shirt for his quest to find the perfect tree and true meaning of Christmas.
I have two claims to fame that come to mind this time of year.
1.) I’m related to a Pilgrim who fell off the Mayflower but was rescued by a boat hook. I’ll write about that some other time.
2.) I was born and raised in Minnesota just like Mr. Charles M. Schulz, the shy, complex, self-deprecating genius behind Peanuts and the gang.
It’s true! For all I know, we touched the same door handle to the entrance of the State Capital, stepped on the same stone paver at the Como Zoo, sat in the same church pew in the St. Paul Cathedral. Heck, we might’ve even drunk from the same public water fountain!
Imagine drinking from the same water fountain as the guy who sculpted all those masterful conversations packed with existential depth. That legend who thought up the stories involving a depressive, but resilient globe-headed kid, a beagle who’s working on the great American novel, and a gang of precocious, blanket-carrying, piano-playing ragamuffins who live in a neighborhood where there’s:
- an ice rink
- a pumpkin patch
- a baseball field
- apparently not much adult supervision, except for at school with Mrs. Donovan and Miss Othmar who both sound like they’re talking with their mouths full of marshmallows
- and a psychiatry booth on the corner where you can get life-changing advice, such as “Go home, and eat a jelly sandwich folded in half” for a nickel.
Genius. Pure genius.
Why do we love Schulz’ s Charlie Brown so much? Well, other than the fact that he’s loyal to his friends, his little sister, his self-deluded little dog, and his baseball team who leaves him standing alone on the mound in the torrential rain, many of us, in some part, can relate to the angst-ridden loner.
As a kid, it just felt good that I wasn’t the only one feeling unsure about myself and getting the “ball” pulled out from under me by the popular girls.
I still get a case of the Charlie Brown Blues from time to time, feeling inferior to others and like I’m making the same mistakes over and over. But unlike Charlie Brown, I’ve got a laugh track. Laughing at myself, my foibles, and lots of other silly things I notice throughout my day is, in part, what gets me through.
Sometimes, I laugh even when all I really want to do is crawl under the covers and weep. There’s a lot going on in the world right now that’s making me want to weep. But there’s also a lot going on that backs up my deep-down belief that goodness will always prevail.
There’s another very important thing in my life of which poor Charlie Brown could use more—a cast of people who’ll watch my back when my kite gets stuck in a tree.
He’s got Linus, though. Thank goodness for Linus. Maybe one loyal Linus is all we need. Linus’ forgiving, loyal spirit, like the shepherd who watches over his flock, radiates that which Charlie Brown seeks—the true meaning of Christmas.
That’s not to say I have anything against mixing in a little Santa Claus and ho-ho-ho and mistletoe and presents to pretty girls (or to a certain midlife mom of three with holes in her socks who’s hoping to find some new fuzzy ones under the tree).
My Top 10 List of Brilliant Peanuts Quotes
On February 12, 2000, Schulz died in his sleep from colon cancer. It was the night before the last of his nearly 18,000 Peanuts comic strips was published in the newspaper.
In his honor and for a little holiday cheer that we could all use right about now, I’d like to leave you today with my Top 10 List of brilliant Peanuts Quotes, written by my fellow Minnesotan who empathized with the underdog, had the courage to share what he believed in, all while putting a big smile on millions of faces.
Talk about influence!
Julie Jo Severson is a former PR girl, now freelance writer, editor, and mom of two teens and a tween. This blog Carvings On A Desk is where she doodles about past, present, future clinking glasses and making peace.