Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Will it be for the better or for the worse.......

When Charles Shultz died, I was so sad to see something that I had literally grown up with come to an end. The Peanuts comic strip was part of my daily life, I had books of Peanuts cartoons as a kid that I would lay in bed at night and read, and laugh out loud so hard that my mom would have to holler upstairs and ask me what I was doing. The reruns that they decided to run after his death were wonderful, as some of them were old, (watch it!) and we hadn’t seen them in a long time.

Now Lynn Johnson from For Better or For Worse is going to try the new-run, not re-run, but new-run deal where she starts from the beginning of the comic strips 29 year history and starts over with the Patterson Family adding to the original strips.

Now I can tell you that I started reading FBorFW and getting hooked just about the time my kids were in grade school, Jr. High; the age of Michael and Elizabeth. I could relate to some of the issues the family went through. So as Elizabeth is getting married, Grandpa is dying and Mom and Dad are facing downsizing and the imminent empty nest syndrome when April leaves and goes to college, I am right there with them.


Maybe she can start over with the story of the Patterson Family, but I can’t start over with mine—thus my dilemma.

For some reason I found comfort in reading the funny papers and finding my life in its pages. It helped me realize that perhaps I took things a little too seriously, and needed to lighten up, and learn to smile at situations more. It was also comforting to see captured in four squares the feeling in my heart when parents got sick and the reality hit that they weren’t going to get better or the beauty of having close friends to tell things to you wouldn’t tell another living soul, and the loss of a beloved pet like Farley.

It is just one more thing I am going to have to adjust to here at this point of my life, and when I read the news on YAHOO today, I have to admit I heard a gasp, and yes it came from me.

I know, there are much bigger issues, but let’s face it, sometimes reading the funny papers help us to face some of those larger issues. Keeping a perspective that is more on the light side than the dark. I like that. I need that.

So I will start checking for another comic I can read that will make me laugh, keep my perspective, and add a regular constant dimension to my days. In the mean time, I’ll look for you in the funny papers, heaven knows I found myself there often enough.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

To Kill a Mockingbird

Roger and I watched “To Kill a Mockingbird” last night. We hadn’t seen the movie in years, because we both made comments like “I don’t remember that”, or “I had forgot that” while we watched it.

I have to admit that I haven’t felt that “good” after watching a movie in a long time. I realized the thing that made me feel good was the depiction of that ere; the realization that life had truly been simpler then. It was set in a time before we were born, but life in a small town had not really changed all that much from then to when I was 6 years old.

I recognized the little town where I grew up in the town of Macon where they lived. I recognized the little white clapboard houses, with porches, that had porch swings and rocking chairs, and dirt streets with no curb or guttering.

Ladies wore house dresses, with aprons over them to protect their clothes. Some men, a good many, wore overalls. Little girls wore dresses to school. People sat on their front steps, and in their porch swings, and walked across the street and visited with neighbors.

The pace was slower. It was almost like going back in time, and remembering Oxford Kansas on a hot summer day in 1961. Children were children, with freedom to play outside after dark catching lady bugs, or building a tent out of old sheets and bedspreads over the clothes line, climbing trees, riding bikes, playing baseball on the empty lot across the street all the while taking for granted the safety and freedom to roam the town and outskirts. Cigar boxes or shoe boxes filled with treasures like a perfect birds feather, a pretty leaf, a marble, maybe a found dime or penny, a skate key, a random medal and pretty rocks found as we pushed our bikes along the street.

The awe we felt toward grownups because we knew they really DID know more than we did and the protection they provided us so we DIDN’T know things before we were ready. We were innocent of the ugliness of the world, unaware of the differences between people, the ugliness that can separate us from one another sometimes. The plot of the story wasn't lost on me. I "got it". But it was the other stuff, watching it this time that stood out to me.

When Atticus Finch explains to Jim why his father wouldn’t let him shoot Mockingbirds, he relates the story his father told him about how a Mockingbird doesn’t do anyone any harm, they just sing and make music. Why destroy something that causes no harm?

When I thought about that in light of the changes in our times, our towns, our children, and the environment that we are living in and raising them in, I realized that someone, has indeed, shot the Mockingbird.