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Charles Shultz and "Peanuts":
Many years ago, when I was just a boy, I had a bicycle.
It was, perhaps, the ugliest bike ever made. Lime green (I kid you not), with a "sissy bar", backrest-style seat that came up over my head and a half-circle across the handlebars that made them look like an incomplete steering wheel.
I loved the bike - but, the other kids hated it. So, I often rode alone.
My fondest memories of that bike are riding around, pretending to be Snoopy, fighting the Red Baron.
And, like Charlie Brown, I stank at Baseball, and my kites always got caught in trees.
I fondly remember the day Charlie Brown bowled over 100 - I was inspired and went out and did the same thing.
And the day Charlie Brown finally hit the home run that won the game?
Well... I literally wept with joy.
After all - if Charlie Brown could succeed, then so could I.
Today, I'm a writer, facing the usual difficulties of not merely creating my works, but trying to sell them. Yet, even as an adult, I would read of Snoopy's endless quest to get published with his stories that almost always began "It was a dark and stormy night...", and smile. I often laughed and told my wife "I don't understand why he has that much trouble getting published. Let's face it - he's a damn good writer, for a beagle."
Charles Shultz has shaped the way Americans look at themselves. The 'Peanuts' characters struck a common chord in us, and became a deeply ingrained part of the American Culture. Yet, it wasn't only Americans who enjoyed the strip. Charles Shultz' strips were seen in thousands of newspapers all over the world, and translated into 21 diferent languages. Truly, the 'Peanuts' characters have shaped the way an entire world looks at itself for two generations, and each is as close and familiar as a childhood friend.
When I heard that Charles Shultz had died the same day his final strip came out, I was deeply saddened. It It was as though an old, childhood friend had died. It was as though Charlie Brown, my childhood mirror, and Snoopy, my childhood role-model, had died.
So, for the last two days, I've been working on this midi file. It's based on a sequence originally performed by D.W. Barnes, who I think has given the best rendition of the "Peanuts" theme to date. I found creating this MIDI to be very cathartic, and now I am able to look back on Charles Shultz with warmth and happiness. I am able to see that Snoopy and Charlie Brown aren't really dead - they've simply grown up, and moved on with their creator to their true home, in heaven.
I hope you enjoy the piece.
Jim Farris, 2/14/00