When my son came home from the dorm for dinner on Sunday night, I served him a burrito bigger than his head and some frosted pumpkin cookies, handed him a larger-than-normal napkin and told him that we’d be eating in front of the television for a change. His mouth dropped. “Huh? You don’t watch television.”
“Au contraire,” I told him, pulling a favorite DVD from the cabinet. “I don’t watch drivel on television. But I do watch Charlie Brown.”
My son groaned. “Nooooo! I’ve been suckered! You’re going to make me watch ‘The Great Pumpkin’ for the 18th time!”
“Not at all,” I replied, putting in the disc and pushing “play.” “This is actually the 19th time — the 20th if you count when you listened to it in utero.”
“Arrrrrgh!” he said, sounding just like Charlie Brown when Lucy pulls the football away. I half expected him to call me a “blockhead,” but since it would take him 20 minutes to get through the burrito, I once again pulled off the impossible, convincing my two teenagers to watch “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown,” as I held on for one more year to a favorite family tradition.
With the exception of a few years when I was working the late shift as a newspaper reporter and VCRs hadn’t yet been invented, and one year when I was grounded at age 8 for pushing my little brother off the front porch into the fitzer bushes, I have watched my favorite Charlie Brown show every year since it first aired in 1966. I was 5 then and had just started kindergarten a few months before. Enchanted by Snoopy’s battle with the Red Baron and Charlie Brown’s ghost costume covered with holes, I insisted on watching it every year after that. And when the Peanuts holiday DVD collection was released 10 years ago, I tossed all of my old videotapes so that my favorite Halloween tradition could continue in magnificent, remastered color.
Although my daughter sighs loudly whenever I get out one of my Charlie Brown DVDs for Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving, Valentine’s Day or Halloween, she will generally sit next to me on the sofa without complaint, providing that the cat will also jump up and partake in the event. For my son, though, it now takes some serious bribery. Hence the burrito and cookies.
“You do realize that next year, I will be avoiding the house for the entire month of October, right?” he asked, licking his fingers and moving on to the frosted “Great Pumpkin” cookies. “I seriously can’t watch this a 20th time. Look! Charlie Brown’s sister is drawn exactly the same as him, only with hair. It’s too weird.”
“Sure, no problem,” I told him, cuddling next to him on the sofa to watch Lucy fetch a shivering Linus from the pumpkin patch. “We’ll just do a double feature in November with ‘A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving.'”
“Pumpkins will still be in season then.” ☺️🎃