Peanuts


Outtakes 220

Peanuts

By Cait Collins

I grew up with a group of kids: Charlie Brown, Linus, Lucy, Schroder, Sally, Woodstock, Peppermint Patty, Marcy, and a dog named Snoopy My friends are the wonderful children, and dog, created by Charles Schulz. I can’t really say why the Peanuts gang has meant so much to me. Basically they are such a diverse group of personalities, it’s a wonder they get along at all. Maybe it’s because they are all a part of my personality.

Snoopy is so many characters: the World War I flying ace; Joe Cool, a scout master; a writer, an ice skating coach, and a loyal dog. He’s an actor playing all these parts. He appeals to my actor side.

Lucy, Miss Know-It-All, always ready to dish out advice and a knuckle sandwich. Okay, I don’t dole out advice and knuckle sandwiches. I just dream about doing it. She’s opinionated and pushy, but she’ll stand by her friends.

Linus is a philosopher with a security blanket. Yes, sometimes I do spout my beliefs and hopes, and dreams, and I do have my own security items. Not a blanket mind you, but a silver cross, my husband’s gold wings, photographs, and books.

Schroder and Peppermint Patty are lost in their own worlds. Schroder has his music and Peppermint Patty is into sports. Neither of them see much beyond their own interests. Don’t we all have our self-centered moments? I know I do.

Sally, sweet Sally is so much in love with her Sweet Baboo. Wasn’t first love so wonderful? But Sally is no pushover. Deprive her of “tricks or treats” and she can be a she-devil.

Woodstock never gives up. His flying skills aren’t quite there, but he keeps trying.

Marcy is practical. She sees the world and people for exactly what they are. But does she see herself with unbiased eyes.

And finally, we have our hero, Charlie Brown. I like to think of him as the eternal optimist. No matter how many times Lucy pulls the football away, or how many kites he loses to the Kite Eating Tree, or how many rocks land in his tricks or treats bag, he hopes next time things will be better. Next time he’ll get to kick that football. Next time his kite will fly high, and next year, he’ll get goodies in his bag. And maybe if he’s very lucky, he’ll get up the nerve to ask the little red-haired girl to have lunch with him and she’ll say yes.

The more I think about it, the more I realize the appeal of Peanuts is that we see ourselves in these characters. We dream, hope, mouth off, fight, and make up, and we go on. As the years passed, nothing changed. Snoopy still flies off to fight the Red Baron. Schroder sits at his piano playing Beethoven. Lucy’s psychiatrist booth is open; 5 cents please. And Charlie Brown still has eyes for the little red-haired girl. And best of all, they never grew up. They will forever be young.

Charles Schulz’s masterpiece of wit and wisdom debuted on October 2, 1950. Happy 65th Birthday, Peanuts, and thanks for the years of reading and viewing pleasure.

 

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Figment


Outtakes 60

Figment

One of my favorite jobs was my five year stint with the Disney Store in Amarillo, Texas. I hired on as one of the original cast members in 1995. Disney training and environment is top notch. Cast members are given every tool to provide the guests with the ultimate shopping experience. Rewards and recognition is a staple. I own a number of awards and prizes for guest service and sales.

With all the training efforts, I was surprised when a guest asked if we carried Figment. She saw them when she visited EPCOT Center, but ran out of time and didn’t have a chance to go back and buy one. I hated telling her we did not carry EPCOT characters. I did give her the website and phone number so she could order Figment. As she prepared to leave, I asked, “Who or what is Figment?” She smiled, “Haven’t you ever heard of a Figment of your imagination?”

Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary defines Figment as something made, fabricated or contrived. With all due respect to Mr. Webster, I prefer to think of a Figment as something that sparks the imagination. What does Figment look like? Is it cloth, stone, or metal? Short or tall? Does Figment have eyes, ears, a nose, and a mouth? The truth is Figments come in all shapes and sizes. It’s the drop of dew on a rose petal. Or snow blanketing the trees and the lawn. Or it’s a baby’s smile when he hears mama’s voice.

Look around your home or office and you will be surprised at all the Figments living there. For me, it my Charlie Brown doll, my Captain Hook watch autographed by the character’s animators. What about my pewter frog wearing a prince’s crown that reminds me you sometimes have to kiss a few frogs before finding the prince. My jewelry box is full of Figments from the jewelry I inherited from my mother, gifts from friends and family to my Celtic cross made from silver recovered from the Atocha. Even my stuffed Puff the Magic Dragon evokes thoughts of being the eternal child.

As you find Figments, consider how they will work into your writing.  Puff could be the guy that refuses to grow up. Instead he forever plays childish games. The silver rattle given to your baby could be the identifying factor for a character in a mystery novel. My white, dew-kissed rose is a gift from a groom to his bride symbolizing true love. And it works all because they are Figments of our imaginations.

Cait Collins