A Thought for Today
Romance is a way of transcending the ordinary. It is an
ethic of its own.
Today's selection is a
personal one and I make no apologies for repeating it so soon after it
first appeared in this column back in October of last year.
As most of you know I live in
Africa. While this has it's undoubted advantages, keeping up to date with
what's happening in the world of entertainment, for example, is not one of
them. We seldom hear and experience events in real time and invariably
catch up with the latest shows and television programs weeks, if not
months, after they've aired elsewhere.
Oprah is a case in point.
We're months behind the USA in this series of shows and it's for this
reason that I've only recently seen her insert on Charles Schultz which
was obviously aired in the USA last year.
Now, we've known all about
"Peanuts" in this part of the world and have grown up enjoying
the exploits of the whole gang. Charles, however, never enjoyed as high a profile
as his creation so Oprah's feature on him was really introducing him to me
for the first time, almost a year after his passing.
What an impact this piece of
television had on me and only now can I appreciate precisely why this man
occupied such a special place in Rod's heart! I went straight to my
computer to read again Rod's tribute to Charles and I thought you might
like to do the same:
"There was no one like him. If you were a friend you were always a friend.
He was never too busy to take a telephone call or make one if he thought you might need cheering up. He once read a review of "A Boy Named Charlie Brown" where a critic took exception to my songs calling them "too sentimental." Fearing I'd read it too, he dropped me a note to say "The important thing is, I love those songs."
Peanuts is always the first stop in my morning paper and often I'd read a strip I particularly liked and I'd let him know. In a few days the mail would arrive with the original, suitably signed. After awhile I became too embarrassed to compliment him.
When Sparky announced his retirement I wrote that I was glad for him. He hadn't been well and as much joy as his daily visits with Charlie and the gang brought him, imagining their adventures then putting them down on paper for all of us to enjoy, was hard work. "And anyway," I wrote,
"thanks to the thousands of strips he'd already committed to paper we'd never be without our daily dose of
"Peanuts."" And we never will".
Rod McKuen, February 24, 2000
I loved Charles's genuine
surprise that his little comic strip had achieved such universal
popularity and I loved the manner in which his children spoke about both
he and "Peanuts". I also loved his gentlemanly demeanor, this in
a time when gentlemen are in all too short supply.
When I was done watching the
show I was left with an overwhelming sense of loss. Loss of a true
professional and a genuinely nice man, and the loss of the opportunity of
ever meeting him. We're all the poorer for his passing.
Thanks to all who've written
in with their favorite McKuen poem or song and I'll be featuring them in
upcoming columns. If you have something you'd like to share with us, drop
me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll
make sure it happens.
- Ken, Johannesburg, January 31
Details of Rod's upcoming concerts
and appearances can be obtained via the link below:
McKuen Concerts & Appearances