Becky Says...

January 2004

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January 24

I know you have better things to do than read my griping about an impending ice/snow mess, so I won't go on too long about it. I will tell you that we are expecting such during the day on Sunday, and there may be power outages. I am prepared as much as I can be for such, but of course I can happily do without that sort of drama.

Earlier today I told a friend that I really haven't done January all that well this year. I have spent way too much time having to think about weather and deal with its effects. I've been too cold in places where I usually am not cold, and uncomfortable to go along with all the cold.

Oh well, the temperature Tuesday is supposed to be spring-like. Can we just sleep in till then?

Remembering the Captain - January 23

Long before there was a big bird or a grouch named Oscar, there was a Captain. Captain Kangaroo lived in this wonderful place he called a Treasure House. And through the burgeoning power of television, he shared the treasures with us.

I am saddened to hear of the Captain's death today. I was a longtime watcher of that show. As it happened, we first got a television set in 1955, around the time the show was starting. So I spent many a morning with Captain Kangaroo, and Mr. Greenjeans, along with Bunny Rabbit and Mr. Moose.

And please let's remember Dancing Bear and Grandfather Clock. Grandfather was always asleep until the Captain had us help wake him up---the Captain would remind us to be quiet and gentle, so we wouldn't startle Grandfather, then would count to three. As soon as he said, "three," we were supposed to say, "Grandfather." Whereupon the clock's eyes would open and he'd be happy we wanted him to visit.

Never mind that I was in my thirties the last time I gently and quietly said, "Grandfather." It meant something special to me.

I also remember the cartoon characters whose segments showed up during the week. And the stories the Captain would read to particular, I remember the music that played behind one story, because there were only five notes to it. Turned out that was my introduction to the Pentatonic Scale. See, the Captain was an excellent teacher---you learned without knowing you were learning.

As I grew older, I knew that the Captain's real name was Robert Keeshan, and that he had a lot of interest in children and education. That didn't in any way detract from the magic of the show.

In 1996, I had a chance to meet Robert Keeshan. It was the weekend after my mother's funeral, and pretty much nothing was all right. Except I had gone back to work, where there were people nurturing me. Then Wendy had a marvelous idea for a way to spend a Saturday. A nearby children's store was hosting Mr. Keeshan for a book-signing. She suggested that we go meet him, and I thought that was a grand suggestion. We two slightly tall little girls made a day of it. We went early to make sure we knew the lay of the land in the children's store, then left to have lunch at a nearby restaurant.

We got back to the store, and got in line to meet a very important part of our childhood. When it was my turn, I shook the gentle hand of this gentle man, and thanked him for all the joy that he had brought into my life. It was all I needed him to know. And he thanked me, with that gentle voice that had helped wake Grandfather Clock for so many years. Somehow, it made things a little less wrong in my life for those few minutes. And I will cherish that memory for the rest of my days.

Text © copyright 2000-2004 Becky