Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Shorts in January, and the Great Pumpkin revisited

I’m in Minnesota, it is January 3rd, and today I shorts!

Crazy weather. It was 40 degrees when I got home, so I thought why not? I will run in shorts today just to say I did it in January. Granted, I wore my base layer winter running shirt, a long sleeved T, stocking cap, and gloves, but it wasn’t too bad out there. If it weren’t for the breeze, it would have been extremely comfortable, even.

I did my couple of laps around the lake, getting a few strange looks from walkers who were bundled up with parkas, mittens, and scarves. But I just smiled. It was fun!

Recalling the full-blown hissy fit I threw back in October when the 40th anniversary of "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown" was preempted by our ABC affiliate in order to bring us a local political debate, my folks gave me a book about the making of the show as a gift this Christmas!

In the book, the creators speak about how "The Great Pumpkin" evolved out of pressure from the network to produce another "blockbuster" on par with "A Charlie Brown Christmas." They explained how the ideas for the show were pieced together, there are interviews with the cast, musical scores, and stills from the final show. It is fantastic. A must for any Peanuts fan.

I have always liked Charlie Brown (I even played him in my high school musical back in the day!). However, I am beginning to develop more of an appreciation for the character of Linus, the blanket-toting brother of Lucy. Linus, who gave us the memorable speech about the meaning of Christmas in "A Charlie Brown Christmas," is an intellect, a voice of reason, and a seeker of truth.

Me in 9th grade as Charlie Brown...and the sweater still fits!

The author spoke of Charles M. Schulz's rationale for creating the Great Pumpkin. Schulz explained that it arose out of his personal ambivalence towards Santa Claus. He thought about all the poor children in the world who heard stories about Santa Claus showing up on Christmas to shower them with tons of gifts. In reality, there were many kids who would be lucky to receive a gift at all.

Linus had a fervent belief in the Great Pumpkin. He would write letters asking for toys and spend all night waiting for him in the pumpkin patch. When the Great Pumpkin never came, he was clearly crushed. Through all of it, however, Linus never stopped believing in the Great Pumpkin. Schulz's point was that maybe your hopes would be dashed, but that can still survive and still keep trying.

What does this have to do with running? Well, not much specifically, but the lesson could certainly be applied! It is a good message for anyone with a dream, and you have to admire Linus' determination and persistence.

I do hope that Linus became a runner later in life, though, because with his qualities I think he would have been a good one! :)

Until next time,

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