I am not a big Halloween guy. I don’t like to dress up much. With the one notable exception in my life being my plastic Batman costume that I had as a kid and wore religiously until it finally broke, which as it turned out was past Easter, as evidenced by a picture of me holding my Easter basket in said costume. I was a big fan of this one, but in general, I am not a fan of costumes. These days the best effort I pull off is grabbing one of two wigs I have in the closet and transforming myself into my standard “guy in a wig” costume. Not impressive. Halloween has never been my favorite holiday, but I grudgingly do what is required, especially now as a parent. As little as I enjoy Halloween, I very much enjoy that it opens the gates to the holiday season and most importantly for me, the Charlie Brown holiday specials.
As further testament to my stunted maturation, a rare yet not un-welcome moment occurred as I was watching “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” with my kids. I was sitting warm and cozy with my daughter in the poofy recliner. We had a soft blanket and some snacks. About the third time I repeated Charlie Brown’s forlorn, “I got a rock.” My daughter started laughing. I laughed, too. At this moment our childhoods collided. While she was creating a memory and a feeling that she will carry throughout her life, I was remembering and feeling moments of my own past and it was a beautiful collision.
I, like many of my generation, grew up watching Charlie Brown holiday specials. They always signaled a cool event coming up. I watched them all, every year. I would look through the TV Guide and highlight the time and channel in anticipation. At first, I just enjoyed the cartoons as I enjoyed all cartoons at this early age. Over time, the shows, while still entertaining, became more. They began to represent an age that was gone. Charlie Brown became a nice little time machine back to this time. He remains such for me. From Snoopy kissing Lucy to Linus’ blanket artistry to their teacher’s muffled voice, these cartoons remain the same. Everything in my life (and everyone else’s, too, I suppose) changes. It is nice to have a constant. Charlie Brown is my constant. He will always have “trouble with the scissors” resulting in a crappy Halloween costume. He will always pick the shabby Christmas tree. And he will always get rocks instead of candy. This is good to know. I’m glad he’s there for me each season with these wonderful reminders of my own simpler times. I’m also glad he’s there for my kids. I’m glad to share him with them.
Like nothing else, the holiday season has the unique ability to take us back. It is nice to be back once in a while. Life is busy. We spend much time in motion and less in emotion. It is good to feel our lives. The holidays allow us to feel. The various smells and tastes and shapes of this season open the door to our favorite stuff. This stuff feels good and is important and what life is supposed to be.
So this year, I will put my head down and do what needs to be done for Halloween and watch Charlie Brown and chuckle and remember and be happy and grateful. I will be grateful for another holiday season to spend with my family and friends. I will embrace the moment sitting in a chair with my daughter watching Charlie Brown get a rock……again. The childhoods in my home will collide and we will all enjoy it for a pleasant change as Shroeder’s piano plays our life’s songs.
[EDITOR'S NOTE:"Feel Good Friday" is a regular column written by Des Moines resident Dave Markwell, who extols to all neighbors: "Enjoy where we live. Put your feet on the pavement and truly feel how great it is to live here!" Also, you can "friend" Dave on Facebook here. Or work out with him at his exercise company Waterland CrossFit!]