It was a time when you waited for things. Like television specials, or happiness.
Even before I knew he was one of us, I loved Charles Schulz. All the Peanuts characters. They were only on tv a few times a year. The Valentine’s Special — in which Charlie Brown says, “I know nobody likes me. I don’t know why we need a holiday to prove it.” It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown. And of course, A Charlie Brown Christmas. And maybe it was so special because you had to wait for it. And plan for it. Watch it when it aired. We had no recording devices. And maybe it was because you knew all of your friends were glued in front of their tvs at the same time. Feeling the same Charlie Browniest!
My mother’s favorite was Peppermint Patty. She saw her skate on one episode and liked it. My mom didn’t know how to ice skate, but she knew how to imagine. And she imagined herself twirling around that ice. Gliding. Free. Delicate. Joyful. I suppose this was one of her best qualities. One of the best gifts she gave to me. To imagine the good. Believe in it. Wait for it. Even on the slowest of dark Sunday evenings, when the seven o’clock air time dragged its feet. Even when the saddest of days seemed like they would never end, she whispered in my ear, “One day, it’s all going to be so happy, and the speed of it…we will need those skates, just to keep up with all the joy.”
I can’t tell you the day, nor the time. But it did happen. Maybe joy has a way of sneaking in, if you leave the door open. And it did. And without my knowledge or permission, it Peppermint Patties all around, joyfully whirling and twirling and gliding about.
My husband and I went to see the Charles Schulz exhibit in St. Paul yesterday. And there I was, sitting in the everything that was possible. No abandonings. Holding my mother’s peppermint hand, believing still, in the patience and joy of living color.