The headline in our sister newspaper, The Bourne Enterprise, last Friday made us chuckle. “Good Grief: ‘Missing’ Holiday Decorations Upset Residents,” it read. It topped a story about the much-loved wooden cutouts of Charlie Brown, Snoopy and other members of the Peanuts Gang that were not included in this year’s annual holiday display in the Buzzards Bay East End rotary.
The term “missing” was used in the general sense of the word because they were gone from the rotary but not really gone-gone. They had actually just been moved to the back of the town’s community center right down the street.
But the story got us thinking about tradition. And how disruptive missing a tradition—even wooden cutouts of cartoon characters—can be to a community.
This year has been one of a lot of missed traditions, thanks to the pandemic.
The story also got us thinking about that blockhead Charlie Brown, the occasionally tarnished star of the Peanuts Gang.
“The Round-Headed Kid” is a born loser who never loses hope. Even though his baseball team can’t seem to win a game, Lucy always pulls the football away, he gets rocks instead of candy on Halloween and his friends ridicule his Christmas tree, Charlie Brown keeps trying and always faces the coming holiday or sports season with optimism.
Perhaps we can learn something from Charlie Brown. Despite so much that has gone wrong—despite COVID-19’s never-ending unpleasantness, restrictions and missed traditions—we can still choose to be cheerful, to keep trying.
We can bring gifts to elderly neighbors who’ve been stuck inside, send donations or food to those in need, and just be thankful for what we have and not dwell so much on what we’ve lost.
This year—and what a nutty year it has been—we can all relate to Charlie Brown’s plight. So this Christmas let’s all try to find the good in our grief.