Happy Birthday Charlie Brown

I’ve been attached to a few titles. There are the obvious familial monikers. To some I’m their Aggie friend. Few, not many, know me for my left handedness. Most associate me as being a big golf guy, which I am, but I try not to let that define me. I’d like for others besides myself to associate me with literature and writing prowess, but then again I’d also like to be known as that guy with a six pack and a million dollars, too. What few people know about me, due to a largely intentional secreting away of this trait on my part, is that I’m a big Peanuts guy. Not the nut, truthfully I find peanuts useless except for their butter form. No, I mean Charles Schulz’s comic strip that debuted 68 years ago today, four years to the day before my late mother made her own debut on this earth.

I have, thanks to her, been a Peanuts guy my entire life. Until now I’d done little to reveal that area of my personality to the world, solely due to how much I enjoyed being able to share that with just my mom. I loved having that all to ourselves, like a secret handshake or a dedicated Tuesday lunch we only shared with those precious few deemed worthy. Only we watched the holiday specials together. Our Christmas tree was the only one with a Peanuts ornament marking each year. No one else’s mom got them a beagle in the 2nd grade because of Snoopy. People might receive cards from their parents, but was it a Peanuts card every time? Of course not. Peanuts was ours to bind us together, a timeless medium for reminisces and new memories. No matter the distance between us, real, chronological, or personal, there was always a card to send, a holiday special to anticipate, a comic strip to share.

Now that she’s gone, now that I no longer need to scour the “to Mom from son,” section of the greeting cards for just the right Snoopy pop up piece, I feel compelled to share that part of me. Before, I worried my admittance would be met with indifference or mockery, that some cruel misery-monger would sully my mother and I’s communing of Peanuts and mar my enjoyment of it. No more. There’s nothing but happy thoughts associated with Charlie Brown and the gang for me, whether it’s anticipating each holiday special because I’d get to stay up just a little later, sit just a little closer to her, rushing to the Christmas section of the Hallmark store and poring over just the right dated depiction of one of Schulz’s characters, or receiving a card in the mail and getting excited because though I already knew it’d be a Snoopy card I didn’t know just how perfect it’d be or how happy I would feel when I saw my mom’s smooth cursive and immediately heard the words in her soft loving voice.

Peanuts has been one of the defining elements in my life. It strengthened an already impervious bond between myself and my mom, and gave me infinite memories and condolences to cloak myself in for comfort as I slowly acknowledge the reality of her passing. Her and I shared so many things, yet none were as pure, as simple, and as equally committed as that comic strip. I can’t express the gratitude I have for the Schulz company, I can only continue my mother and I’s tradition of sharing and expressing our affection through Peanuts with those around me in the hopes you all might feel a portion of what I did, that you might appreciate the medium for human connection Peanuts serves as. If nothing else, I’ll be a boon to the Schulz company stockholders.

2 thoughts on “Happy Birthday Charlie Brown

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