“…as neere is Fancie to Beautie, as the pricke to the Rose, as the stalke to the rynde, as the earth to the roote.”
John Lyly (English dramatist 1588)
Translating Mr. Lyly’s quote from above into a more understandable english, simply put, …”beauty is in the eye of the beholder” …
Did you ever watch the seasonal cartoon classic A Charlie Brown Christmas? It first aired in 1965. I was all of six years old. I would look forward to that special night all year, with the timing being shortly after Thanksgiving. I don’t know who was more excited about watching it, me or my dad. Dad is a big kid at heart and he loves cartoons.
Every year, on that special night, we’d race through dinner, having long finished any homework, bathes quickly taken, pajamas donned, all before propping up on the floor of the den with pillows in tow. Dad was right there with us, just as excited. It was the same way when The Grinch Who Stole Christmas aired. These are the happy memories from childhood which make me wistful for days gone by as I think about the same ritual which played out years later when my own son was a little boy. Some family traditions are indeed magical.
I love that cartoon to this day for several reasons.
There was the story within the story of Snoopy and the Red Baron..the WWI flying ace which all played to my blooming love of the history. Snoopy had swag before we knew what such was…he was slick and lovable all at the same time…an endearing instigator when it was most appropriate, like the time he planted a big wet kiss on Lucy, who always needed knocking down a notch or two. Was it any wonder why I declared that we would name our pet cat Snoopy?
I love / loved the solemn monolog reading by Linus of the King James translation of Luke 8:10-14…the lights dimmed with one spotlight shining upon Linus, his blanket wrapped around his head giving way to his appearance as one of the shepherds present on that most holy of nights…..“And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not; for, behold, I bring you tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you: Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace and goodwill towards men.'”
“…That’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.”
His words so respectful, articulated so clearly and confidently. Always seemingly so much older than his young character was ever portrayed to be. Maybe that’s why I’ve always liked those Peanuts cartoons as much as I have as the kids all possess an old soul persona—something I too was burdened with growing up.
But it was that tiny measly stick of a tree that Charlie Brown chose to be THE tree for the pagent that is most memorable. Maybe it’s because I too have a soft spot for the runt of the litter, the wallflower, the less than, the forgotten, the one never chosen–the one the others all shun and ignore.
Maybe it was because of Charlie Brown and of his choice of that little tree all those many years ago which prompted me to look beyond the glamour and the glitz of all those show pumpkins when I ventured out this year to gather the fall pumpkins. I opted for the “ugly” one.
I really like this whole craze we now seem to have for all things heirloom— as in heirloom tomatoes, heirloom apples—the original real deal of the fruit and vegetable world…species of such that harken back to “back in the day” when food was food and no one had ever heard of genetically engineered, hybrids, or altered foods. We didn’t go for the biggest and prettiest, we went for taste and use. But suddenly someone in the marketing world of food decided bigger was better and therefore we’d do what we could to make perfectly giant pretty food. Who does that? We do that’s who…sadly to say.
The irony of our tampering with Mother Nature has unexpectedly lead to a new skyrocketing micro industry in the food world—NONGMO…no growth hormones, all organic, no cloning, no antibiotics, no overt fertilizers, none of that science altering business, just good ol growing of not so perfect looking food—Thank God.
So when it came time for me to gather my pumpkins I walked past all those beautiful orange pumpkins. I wasn’t looking for the perfectly shaped beautifully hued orange jack-o-lantern…no sir-ree…I went for the forgotten little odd ball over in the corner of the hay bales. It was labeled, believe it or not, an “ugly pumpkin”.
Just like Charlie Brown, I proudly scooped up my little pumpkin / gourd looking thing, and proudly carried it to the register. The sales girl makes some snide remark over the intercom about needing a scan for the ugly pumpkin, making her opinion of my choice quite clear. I pay her for my prize and lovingly carry it to my car.
Once home, I give my special pumpkin a place of honor by the back door. The other pumpkins are out along the walk exposed to the elements and blasted fire ants—none of that for my special friend, he has a place of honor.
My husband comes home form work. I meet him at the door. “Oh my gosh, what have you bought? Could you have picked any uglier of a pumpkin?! What is that? Is it rotten? Is it even a pumpkin? How much did you pay for that thing?!” The litany of his negative barrage goes on and on….
No matter, I’m happy and proud of my pumpkin. It has character and it has class—a class all its own….
And that’s what it’s all about Charlie Brown!