Words of Wisdom from a Cartoon Character–Or, Reminders of the Meaning of the Season

Sometimes we just need to be reminded.  Sometimes world events, presidential elections, and our far-too-often harried personal lives threaten to throw us for a king-sized and ever-expanding loop.  The weather this time of year doesn’t help.  Daylight Savings is more than a fortnight in the rearview mirror; it’s dark when you go to work in the morning, and dark when you come back home.  And what little light there is, especially here in northern New England, is often muted by brooding thick gray clouds that hang low and bloated over the land, like dirty laundry concealing the blue beyond.

novemberskystart

 

For me, the reminders begin with the little things, the homey things, the kinds of things Truman Capote writes about at the beginning of his gem of a short story “A Christmas Memory” . . .

“Imagine a morning in late November.  A coming of winter morning more than twenty years ago.  Consider the kitchen of a spreading old house in a country town.  A great black stove is its main feature; but there is also a big round table and a fireplace with two rocking chairs placed in front of it.  Just today the fireplace commenced its seasonal roar.”

achristmasmemory

 

Every year, early on Thanksgiving morning, when the house is dark and the sunrise is yet a rumor, I flip through some of the old classic comic books I’ve had since I was a kid, when I began a lifelong hobby of collecting comics.  Many of the issues I have tucked away in closets and boxes were printed decades before I was born.  Their pages, musty and faded with age, never fail to bring a smile.  There are old ads in those pages, tempting the children of sixty years ago with baseball gloves and magic tricks, radio sets and sea monkeys.

adxrayvision

 

adseamonkeys

 

And then there are the stories, of course–simple, far too often devoid of any real character or nuance, distilled to the most rudimentary of plot devices.  But for all that, they are brilliant, ingenious, and, perhaps most important of all, fun.  They offer a break from the stresses and strains of daily living, an escape from the next doctor appointment or set of bills, while simultaneously laying out a bridge to an imaginary world that is always there, only a thought away, ready and willing to amuse and cheer and revitalize us, if only we take the time to visit it.

On Thanksgiving morning, I spend fifteen, maybe twenty minutes with these old issues, these relics from a bygone era, these simple reminders of childhood . . .

comiccovermysteryinspace

comiccoversuperman117

comiccoversa46

 

********************

In the 1965 musical The Sound of Music–based on the Rodgers and Hammerstein Broadway classic of the same name–Julie Andrews’s character, Maria, sings about some of her favorite things:

someofmyfavoritethings

 

“Raindrops on roses/And whiskers on kittens/Bright copper kettles/And warm woolen mittens . . . Cream-colored ponies/And crisp apple strudels/Doorbells and sleigh bells/And schnitzel with noodles . . . Girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes/Snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes/Silver white winters that melt into springs . . .”  These are a few of her favorite things!

sleighbellsend

 

It’s a basic list, simple and everyday; it echoes the sentiments of Capote’s “A Christmas Memory.”

But perhaps it was everyone’s favorite bookworm, Marcie, who said it best in A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving:

marcie

 

“But Thanksgiving is more than eating, Chuck. . . . We should just be thankful for being together.  I think that’s what they mean by Thanksgiving, Charlie Brown.”

Thanks so much for reading!

–Mike

45 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. laurelwolfelives
    Nov 24, 2016 @ 17:16:41

    I remember seeing the ads for “sea monkeys” and “x-ray vision” and “100 dolls for only one dollar.” I wanted them so bad but I didn’t have a dollar. Back then, if you had money, you could actually mail cash and get what you paid for.
    Ah…the good old days. 🙂

    Reply

  2. inesephoto
    Nov 24, 2016 @ 17:41:48

    Cartoon characters used to be very wise 🙂 Great post. Happy Thanksgiving!

    Reply

  3. Chic Mona
    Nov 24, 2016 @ 18:35:21

    ❤ Thank you for sharing. How blessed it is to have such sweet reminders of childhood. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

    Reply

  4. joannerambling
    Nov 24, 2016 @ 19:13:12

    Ok not memories I have but that said I did like the post, and I hope your Thanksgiving was a happy and safe one spent with those who love and care for you.

    Reply

  5. barbaramonier
    Nov 25, 2016 @ 14:30:18

    Great, Mike. Thanks.

    Reply

  6. Maureen Carter
    Nov 25, 2016 @ 15:13:19

    Super post. Thank you.

    Reply

  7. Dragthepen
    Nov 26, 2016 @ 05:44:35

    OMG. Sea monkey’s where did you get that AD?

    Reply

  8. Lyn
    Nov 26, 2016 @ 07:50:18

    Ahhh Mike, such memories! Thank you…and don’t eat too much turkey and pumpkin pie 😉

    Reply

  9. Anna Waldherr
    Nov 26, 2016 @ 10:21:10

    Lovely!

    Reply

  10. Donna Gwinnell Lambo-Weidner
    Nov 27, 2016 @ 02:07:50

    Thanks for that, Mike. Puts it all in perspective, doesn’t it? ❤

    Reply

  11. Teagan Geneviene
    Nov 28, 2016 @ 11:29:39

    I couldn’t agree more, Mike. Marcie is a wise little girl. I loved the analogy of clouds and dirty laundry! Huge hugs.

    Reply

  12. sherazade
    Nov 30, 2016 @ 22:41:51

    Ciao da Roma
    shera

    Reply

  13. penneyvanderbilt
    Dec 02, 2016 @ 11:00:43

    Reblogged this on PenneyVanderbilt.

    Reply

  14. Steph McCoy
    Dec 04, 2016 @ 11:44:49

    The sea monkeys had me cracking up because as a kid you couldn’t convince me they weren’t real although they never looked like the pictures. Cracker Jacks with their hidden gems was another one. This post brought back long forgotten memories. I hope you and yours had a nice Thanksgiving Mike!

    Reply

  15. thefolia
    Dec 08, 2016 @ 04:18:34

    Raindrops On Roses can be heard in our nest quit often, it’s a favorite of ours as well as Charlie Brown. Wishing us all some of our favorite things this season!

    Reply

  16. Sherri
    Dec 08, 2016 @ 17:48:33

    Oh Mike, I do love your posts for so many reasons…one of which is you take me back to those carefree days of my childhood and that of my own children (which, in light of today’s many troubles, brings great comfort). I remember getting those sea monkeys for them! I know this is very late, but I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving…and now onwards to Christmas! Not forgetting Charli Brown, of course 😉

    Reply

  17. Ste J
    Dec 13, 2016 @ 12:23:49

    X-ray vision, I wonder how many kids went in for that. There is something wonderful about the nostalgia of such things. The Mystery in Space looks awesome and by the way I haven’t forgotten about reviewing your book, time and such go in the way but it is on the pile for an early next year read and review.

    Reply

    • The Eye-Dancers
      Dec 17, 2016 @ 03:51:18

      Yes, those classic old sci-fi comics are great. I’ll always love them. And thanks again for your support! I hope you’ll enjoy the book. Will certainly look forward to your review!

      Reply

  18. maguinolbay
    Jan 07, 2017 @ 10:53:09

    What could I say? As usual speechless. I like the way you describe things including landscapes in perfect detail great!

    Reply

  19. carolineturriff
    Mar 11, 2017 @ 17:39:48

    Beautifully written description of winter and I can see how you would want to take refuge from the confusing nature of modern life in the comics.

    Reply

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