penny in a castle

A digital chapbook.

Great pumpkin

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When I was just a wee baby, I was frequently sick with high fevers.  This must have been really difficult for my mom, who went back to work when I was just six weeks old. One memorable time she frequently told us about was when I was six months old.  It was around Halloween and It’s The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown was on television.  She said that she sat and rocked me as my fever burned on. While the show was on, I stopped crying and eventually fell asleep in her arms.

From then on, any kind of “holiday special” was a tradition in our family.  We would be allowed a “treat” of chips or popcorn and pop.  We would all watch together, bunched up, snuggled under blankets. First in front of a tiny black and white bought at Mel Lastman’s store that only picked up UHF stations. Later we watched on cable on a bigger colour TV.  Mom was the biggest cheerleader for these events – she’d scan the newspaper for the listing of specials, carefully cut them out and post them on the fridge.  She would sit and watch them with us, laughing. She would always get excited by new ones. I remember when Nelvana put out its first Christmas special about aliens visiting during Christmas time – it was a bit weird but she loved it.  Her favourites were always the Grinch Who Stole Christmas and any Peanuts special.  I carry all of those memories with me.

In today’s day and age, with DVDs, Netflix and Youtube, you can watch a holiday program any time you want. It takes the “special” out of the special a bit when you don’t need to plan for it or turn it into an event.

But today, we had an unexpected turn of events. My son was sick and wanted to “watch a video.”  I suggested The Great Pumpkin. He wasn’t thrilled at first (Dinotrux is his thing these days) but I plugged in our little portable DVD player and we sat on the couch to watch it together.

It’s such an odd little slice in time, this “special.”  The Peanuts were allowed to talk like children but with an adult vocabulary and sensibilities (“Funny thing about this signed document. It’s not notarized,” says Lucy after pulling away the footfall for the thousandth time). Many of the jokes are a wink to older I audiences. I cringe a bit as the words “stupid” and “block head” are used over and over – but then thought, this is likely what most kids still hear every day in the school yard – and an opportunity to have that conversation about how kids treat each other. In the end, it’s also a story about faith and conviction – how do you stand by your beliefs when all around you mock you? Can you continue to carry that belief even if your expectation is not fulfilled?

Today though, it was more about having a minute to slow down time, to spend it with my kid. And remember my mom who took care of me so many years ago – and took the extra effort to put the “special” into holiday specials.


Written by pennyinacastle

October 23, 2015 at 2:07 am

Posted in Random thoughts

Tagged with , ,

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