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merry christmas dad!

Updated: Dec 27, 2022

“for a nothing, charlie brown, you're really something!”

― charles c. schulz

(full disclaimer here: i was falling asleep thinking about my words so I went to bed about 3:30 am and picked it up this christmas morning…😂)

it’s the wee hours of christmas day as i start writing this. i was out late the night before. it’s becoming a sort of tradition for me to go out christmas eve night to make some images. this year is a little more personal to me. i’ve been thinking about my dad who moved on from this life to eternity a little over 11 years ago. he’s been gone physically for 11 years, but he’s been gone for much longer than that. you see…he had alzheimer’s.

it’s a wretched disease that robs the mind. it has no preference. it doesn’t care if you have a phd or if you are mostly schooled through living life. it loves the distinguished orator and the down to earth philosopher alike. the most brilliant of minds will not repel it at this time. the most conscious of health embracers will not stave it off. it comes to whoever it chooses and to whenever it chooses as we age. we might be able to slow its progression but we cannot stop it or reverse it. the good news is there continues to be promising research. maybe one day we will be able to do more than “kick it in the shin”. maybe one day we will be able to actually find a cure for it.

during the season of christmas, i find myself thinking of family members we used to get together with every christmas, whether immediate or extended, whether alive or having moved on from this earth. this year, a rather appropriate subject brought my dad to mind. i had known and even seen some of his more favorite characters in the city of st. paul, specifically right around the historic landmark center and rice park. somehow, though, i completely missed his top two favorite characters until i saw them just the other day.

i made the drive down into st. paul around 9:30 last night to make an image. the roads were still iffy in the city. we had just pulled out of a snowstorm of around 7-8 inches a couple of days ago. then the winds kicked in. oh…they kicked in! 30-40 miles an hour and higher winds (my friend in hovland, mn said they had up to 74 miles an hour winds) whipped through. wind chills were -30 degrees fahrenheit and below. for those of you who go by celsius, that’s -34.444!

the roads themselves, as i said, were iffy. ice was as prominent as snow on a lot of the streets. sliding after stepping on the brakes was the norm if you went even a mile too fast. going uphill was a guessing game. am i going to make it? or am i going backwards down the road, hoping no one is behind me? fortunately, all hill ascents were conquered but not without struggles on the vehicle’s part.

i made it to the landmark center in one piece and stepped out into the still brutal cold, though not as bad as the day before. i came prepared though. the only thing exposed to the cold were my eyes looking through my face mask and hands when i had to take off the gloves to trigger the shutter button on the camera. a couple of hand warmers in my pockets helped to keep my hands warm while they were exposed to the elements…until they died. oops…should have recharged them before going to make images…

i grabbed my camera already attached to my tripod as in this kind of cold, you want to minimize your “dinking” around getting your gear together. i headed over to my dad’s two favorite characters. there, sitting in the snow, was charlie brown with snoopy laying on his lap. yep, my dad was a huge peanuts fan. when i saw them the other day, i knew i wanted to come back and pay homage to my dad by making an image of charlie brown and snoopy. three of his favorite things in one image - charlie brown, snoopy and christmas! it’s personal to me and those who knew my dad but i hope this image brings a smile to your face.

the peanuts gang might be from another time and era but the messages they brought through the comics and tv series are still some of the most profound you will ever see and hear. they are still relevant today. “a charlie brown christmas” was the first special featuring the peanuts gang. here is a link about it that i think you will find interesting if you have the time to read it. it was a bit of a groundbreaker in some ways:

merry christmas, dad! i miss you but i know i will see you and tim and many others on that final day, be it my own death or the return of the Baby featured in the christmas/nativity story.

this is not a long blog. you have more important things to celebrate today. you may not even see this until a later time and day. i just want to take a moment to say thank you for your continued support of my blogs and my images throughout 2022. if you have purchased any of my printed photographic art, i cannot stress enough how appreciative i am of your support in that manner. i don’t pretend to know your existing circumstances with all that is going on in your life. but it is my hope that you will have a merry christmas. may 2023 find you embracing the future, whatever it holds, with hope and expectation as the peanuts gang did at the end of “a charlie brown christmas”!

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