Sunday, October 23, 2011

A Charles Shultz Jog Down Memory Lane

This morning's writing prompt is a quote from Charles Schulz: “Life is like a ten-speed bicycle. Most of us have gears we never use.” It's a great quote to ponder, so very true for all of us. But thinking about Charles Schulz made me instead head down memory lane, thinking about growing up and reading the Sunday comics with my dad. We went to church every Sunday. Unless you were at death's door, missing church simply was not an option. Oh, and we got all gussied up in our Sunday best-a dress for me, shirts with ties for my brothers, and super shiny shoes that you dare not scuff. We sat perfectly quiet and still through each service so as not to tempt the great wrath of Mom-children were to be seen and not heard, period. Trust me, you didn't cross Mom or you didn't sit, comfortably at least, for days...

Home from church, clothes quickly changed, lunch was always-ALWAYS-soup and a sandwich, my favorite of which was tomato and grilled cheese. I'm a dipper and all the better with dill pickles, soggy buttery bread and melty cheese dripping and drenched in steaming hot, creamy tomato soup, slurping up every last drop...which typically entailed lectures on how unlady-like I behaved. Still haven't quite grasped full lady-likeness even after all these years. I prefer a little roughness around the edges, it makes us who we are and not carbon copies of what someone else's standard states that we ought to be.

After lunch was the best. Table cleared, dishes washed and put away, we'd spend a good portion of the afternoon with the Sunday paper, sharing--never fighting, no!--the funnies. Sitting on Dad's lap, his favorite was Prince Valiant, mine for sure was Peanuts. I loved Snoopy! Others near the top were Beetle Bailey, Family Circus (my favorite of those were the ones that simply showed the crazy maze of footsteps of one of the kid's misadventures), Andy Capp, Hagar the Horrible and Blondie-I was so envious of those sandwiches Dagwood would create! Sometimes we'd break out the scrap paper pad and a couple pencils and draw together. I loved drawing with my dad-he always encouraged my art. Then, if it wasn't football season, he would most likely nap and, weather permitting, my brothers and I would be shooed outside for some sunshine and fresh air with the rest of the neighborhood kids. Simple pleasures make up the sweetest memories.

And Charles Shultz has blessed us with more great family traditions that I look forward to every year about this time: It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown, A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, and A Charlie Brown Christmas. I even bought them on DVD to share with Michael. He's not as excited about them as I am, the nostalgia seems lost on this generation. No matter--I'll pop them in the DVD player and watch them myself several times over through the holidays. We'll just have to make our own traditions and memories that he'll cherish years later when he has his own kids and seasons turn, holidays jog reflections, reminiscing.

Yesterday we spent the afternoon with good friends at a pumpkin patch. The cold, rainy and grey weather finally took the day off and we were blessed with gorgeous warm sunshine and a brilliant blue sky with just a few light lofty clouds over the farm. Myriad games scattered through the yard and outbuildings; a barn with horses, a donkey and llama, a few goats, pigs and bunnies to pet, a wooden cow to 'milk' (no, not with the tail! So sweet!) Four different mazes to wind patiently through, two in pitch black dark! Pumpkins painted, prizes and candy, warm drinks by a fire, face painting and hair spray colors and glitter, wrestling and Checkers, slappy hand wars in the back seat of the van on the way back home. Such a beautiful day, happy memories made. I hope this is what he looks back on in years to come when he takes his little ones to a pumpkin patch to play on a sunny fall day...

Some pics from the day and a Charlie Brown comic to bring a smile:
Wrestling on the hayride--all wound up and ready to go!

Cool colored hair

Best buds. Why there's a leopard chaise lounge in the riding barn, I don't know...??

Tangled in the string maze

Pony, er, horse ride!

Three little ghosties who didn't want to go home!

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