Monday, November 30, 2015

The Rose in My Life

This Thanksgiving, like all in the last three years, was different.  Since my Dad passed away in 2013, every Thanksgiving is spent in a new way.  It can be bittersweet, but this year, I reflected a lot on my Mom and past Thanksgivings with her.  

My Mom has been gone 15 years and some holidays I miss her more than others.  This year, I thought about her constantly during the Thanksgiving holiday.  Mainly because of one of the many things she taught me that applies so perfectly today.  One Thanksgiving years ago, we had come home from a day at my Granny's.  For my whole life, until my Granny went into a nursing home, we spent every holiday at her house. She was an amazing cook and I absolutely loved being at my Granny's.  She was a role model to me in being an independent woman.  I digress, but we came home and I had a message from a friend of mine.  This was pre-cell phone days, when you didn't get texts or voicemails and got messages when you returned home.  Ahh, the more relaxed life.  

My friend had spent the day with her family and had gotten home from her festivities and was home alone in her apartment.  I could tell she really didn't want to be alone and no more than I played her message, Mom said "Go on, spend the evening with her.  One day we'll be gone and you'll need to make your own memories on holidays."  That was just one way my Mom (and Dad) encouraged me to be independent.  So off I went.  

This year, one of my friends asked me if I had plans for Thanksgiving.  Now that my family is gone, I am blessed with lots of options and open invitations from so many friends that I always have a place to go.  I told her I had many plans but asked what was up.  Her family was going out of state for the holiday and she had to work the day after Thanksgiving, hence, she would be here alone.  I did some checking on some options for us and told her I was free and we'd go out for Thanksgiving.  I called one of my favorite places in the area - Claudia Sanders Dinner House - and confirmed their Thanksgiving buffet schedule, and when they predicted it to be the least busy.  We arrived about 4:30 and had a minimal 10 minute wait.  The food was amazing (as always) and made even better because they bring around hot yeast rolls about every 15 minutes.  Not good for the diet, but oh so good for the tummy!  It was a fun time with great food.

I thought much about that scene with my Mom I described earlier.  How years ago she taught me to make my own memories on holidays.  I couldn't stop thinking about that one moment that seemed insignificant at the time, but has taught me a lesson I'll never forget.  Oh how I wish she was here to tell her, "Mom you were so right!" And I'd share with her how my memory of that lesson is brighter today than it was then.  I'm oh so thankful for countless things, but this year, my Mom is at the top of the list.  She was the sweetest, most fragrant Rose in my life.  

Monday, November 16, 2015

You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown

Recently, the new Peanuts Movie feature film was released and I was fortunate enough to see it on opening weekend.  For all those Star Wars fans pre-purchasing their movie tickets, I was more geeked over the release of this movie.  

For those who haven't seen it, and plan to, beware, there are some spoilers in this blog.  But, do come back to read this once you've seen it and comment if you agree (or disagree).

I grew up going to Peanuts movies in the theater.  From A Boy Named Charlie Brown to Snoopy Come Home, I didn't miss a showing.  You see, I was a huge Peanuts fan.  So much so, that I was never without a stuffed Snoopy in my arms. I had so many variations of stuffed Snoopy that when one would wear out, my Mom would say "he went to stuffed animal heaven" and I'd get a new one.  Seriously, I'd wear the "fluff" off of them!  I even had a Snoopy that was half the size of me dressed as the Red Baron.  One of the Snoopys made it into my annual photo shoot.  The Red Baron Snoopy was so worn out that his neck flopped to one side from me carrying him around everywhere by his neck before he "retired".  To this day, I still have a stuffed Snoopy.  Don't judge.

Hearing that a new feature film would be released stirred excitement and skepticism all at the same time.  I wanted it to be as good and the movies I remembered, but feared that surely now that Charles Schulz is gone, it wouldn't be the pure representation I longed for.  Au contraire mon frer.  It was simply the best.

The animation was exquisite and stayed true to the form of the original Peanuts cartoons and comics.  No mobile phones, no talk of Facebook or Twitter.  Praise Jesus.  An old-fashioned rotary phone still rang and made an appearance.  All Peanuts movies, cartoons and comics should have this timeless look and feel.  Thank you Blue Sky Productions.

The story has many running themes throughout the movie - a toy airplane for one - that takes us into Snoopy's life as the Red Baron.  And the little Red-Haired Girl plays a big role in the movie.  Charlie Brown is still trying to impress her and it seems, like always, he fails.  When he's recognized for having a perfect score on a test, he realizes it's Peppermint Patty's test, not his.  So, on stage, in front of all his classmates, he admits he's not the guy to receive Miss Othmar's medal.  He walks off the stage hanging his head.  At the end of the school year, everyone picks summer pen pals, and much to Charlie Brown's surprise, the little Red-Haired Girl picks him!  As she is getting on the bus to go off to camp, he asks her why.  And her response..."That's easy. It's because I admire the type of person you are."   Charlie Brown says "a wishy-washy failure?" and she recounts all the reasons why she admires him (which I'll omit so you can really enjoy the movie).  

If I was a Mom, I'd run to the theater to take my children to see this movie.  It is wholesome family entertainment, but more than that, it teaches them that good guys (or gals) don't always finish last.  Thank you Schulz family for bringing back my childhood friends in the most amazing way.