I Found The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown

Almost every Halloween I run a post about things that frighten me, but I didn’t do it this year because I forgot.

Yep, the mighty JackB with a memory that can put elephants to shame forgot to run the list of things that frighten him and I can only attribute it to old age and a growing sense of impending doom.

Scratch the doom part, I don’t believe that for a moment. Might be dealing with a few challenges and fighting a few battles but doom is not one of them. Don’t live in cleveland so gloom isn’t part of it either.

Guess we can say this happened because I was focused on other things.

Halloween Lessons- We Have Neighbors

The kids love going trick or treating because they like getting dressed up and getting candy. I like it because it creates a festive atmosphere in which the neighbors open their doors and come outside.

It is nice to see people come out of the bubbles we walk around in and hang outside. That is not to say we don’t know our neighbors or that we don’t live in a good neighborhood because neither is true, but this is different.

Because on Halloween the entire neighborhood throws an impromptu block party and my kids get a chance to see what life is like when people stop to look around and smile at each other.

This year we went to the neighborhood I grew up in. It was their first time trick-or-treating there and they laughed when some of the “really old” people talked about me when I was a boy.

Since they no longer go to private schools they also got to experience what it is like to see kids from school trick-or-treating in the same neighborhood. It was fun and part of me loved it because it made me feel like I was 11 again.

Halloween Lessons- Nintendo

I am a brand ambassador for Nintendo and have been for more than a year now. When I first began I did so because I thought it might be fun and because I thought it might provide an opportunity to get some swag my kids might like.

But I didn’t spend any time considering how much blog fodder doing so could produce. I intentionally haven’t written about them as frequently as I could because I don’t want people to feel I have been compromised or that they own me.

It is why I disclose my relationship and talk about it openly. They don’t pressure me to do anything which is a big part of how they have gained my trust.

However what really sticks out is that I feel like they really value my opinion and  that I am not treated as just another number. Some of that credit goes to their agency and some of it to the company.

This year they helped us decorate our home for Halloween. They sent over the pumpkin you see above (plus one more not shown), decorations and candy.

My children were over the moon and I can’t tell you how much fun it was to see the smiles on their faces.

Halloween Lessons- Gratitude

When we got home we sat down and talked about how lucky we are and why we should be grateful. I reminded them about our family and friends back East. We talked about how my nephews, niece,sister and BIL slept in the basement because they were worried about what would happen if Sandy blew a tree(s) into the house.

We talked about how many kids didn’t get to go trick-or-treating and how some go hungry and then we talked about the election.

They wanted to know who I voted for and why. I told them they aren’t obligated to vote as I do or their mother. I said they need to figure out what they think is right and vote based upon that.

An educated vote is what I said they need to focus on and then I told them I didn’t want to pay for the dentist’s new house and sent them off to brush their teeth.

It was a good day and thanks to Nintendo I found the great pumpkin, but I made a point not to put the one I carved next to Mario.

I am not stupid, it is like asking me to stand next to some pro athlete. On my own I look alright, but stick me next to one of those guys and all the flaws come out. 😉

Good things happen to us all the time. We just have to look for them and remember to say thank you. I am very lucky and grateful.

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  1. Tim Bonner November 2, 2012 at 10:58 pm

    Hey there, that’s a great pumpkin!

    I love your message that we need to look for good things and say thank you for them.

    Sometimes the world is going around so fast these days and people are so busy, we forget to say thank you and remember the good things in our lives.

    • Jack November 2, 2012 at 11:12 pm

      Hi Tim,

      We were very lucky to get that pumpkin and the other one that isn’t pictured.

      I have made a serious effort to do my best to focus on the good and not get caught up in all the negativity. It is easy to find the bad and focus on it, but it doesn’t help. That doesn’t mean that I think we should ignore it, just approach it differently.

      As you say, life moves quickly and if we aren’t careful we miss the good.

  2. Stacie November 2, 2012 at 6:04 am

    Awesome post! Maybe our age related short term memory loss is a good thing if we forget about what frightens us! I am seeing a lot of good here, after Sandy. Our town was devastated – still no power even at the businesses. I am lucky to have a generator!

    • Jack November 2, 2012 at 9:27 am

      Hi Stacie,

      You might be right about that. Sometimes forgetting about fears can be really healthy. I am glad you are ok. Sandy really did a number on people.

  3. Bill Dorman November 1, 2012 at 4:29 pm

    Hey, I want one of those pumpkins………..

    Look for the good indeed; it’s all around us if you look real close.

    • Jack November 1, 2012 at 11:38 pm

      Hi Bill,

      I can send you one of my pumpkins, not so sure what they will look like when they get to you. Just say the word. 😉

      Good is all around, sometimes you don’t have to look real hard either.

  4. Joe November 1, 2012 at 2:47 pm

    I must admit that I’m a little disappointed with Halloween this year. Kellie purchased some rather crappy candy to distribute. When I asked why, she said so that we wouldn’t eat it. Well that backfired. We just wound up eating crappy candy.

  5. Azara November 1, 2012 at 12:41 pm

    That is a very cool pumpkin. The Nintendo theme started playing in my head right away. I enjoyed getting out and seeing the neighbours last night too, rain and all.

    • Jack November 1, 2012 at 11:41 pm

      Hi Azara,

      Thanks. The pumpkin looked cool when we first got it, but we really didn’t realize how cool it was until we put the light in it and saw what it looked like.

      Did it rain real hard out by you?

  6. christina November 1, 2012 at 11:47 am

    oh Jack i LOVE this post.
    the neighbor thing- i was noting that last night, too. i’m not a very social person IRL and am quite reserved in person, but ToTing with a near 3 year old makes one kinda have to be a little social. it was fun. i enjoyed meeting so many new people. happy people. yay.
    the Nintendo thing- badass is all i can say.
    the gratitude thing- totally hear you. i love that you’re so open with your kids and want them to be informed on, well, everything. and to be grateful. i think we take too much for granted these days and this was such a nice step away from that.

    • Jack November 1, 2012 at 11:44 pm

      Hi Christina,

      I think we spend a lot of time walking around in our own worlds and doing all that we can to wrap our kids up in foam and bubble wrao.

      My goal is to teach mine how to become productive, self reliant members of society. I see part of that requiring a certain degree of honesty and ample amounts of gratitude.

      We are healthy and that is worth a lot. We have food and shelter and that is worth a lot too. Not everyone can say that.

  7. Sarah Park November 1, 2012 at 6:57 am

    Hi Jack!

    The Mario pumpkin sent by Nintendo is so adorable. I agree with you on the lesson of gratitude you shared. We may have gone through tough times, but at the end of the day we still have a lot of reasons to be thankful.

  8. Betsy Cross November 1, 2012 at 3:39 am

    I love having a reason to knock on people’s doors! We walked up to one hose and Kenny said, “It smells like Chapstick.” I shared that with the owner who shared her story about her lack of candles and how she lit her $20. scented candles for Halloween that she wouldn’t even light for her own family. We laughed.
    There were stories at each house. My kids wanted to move on and were impatient with me. But, that’s what Halloween is to me…an excuse to peek inside some lives. 🙂

    • Jack November 2, 2012 at 12:07 am

      Hi Betsy,

      Your curiosity about people is contagious. It is fun to wander around and get that peek inside someone else’s life and to see it is the same but different from our own.

      I like the story about the woman and the candles.

  9. Julie November 1, 2012 at 3:06 am

    I cannot believe I had to look twice to recognize Mario. My 8 year old should have just been gifted with stock in Nintendo when he was born…or maybe just an “unlimited for life” GameStop giftcard. When he grows up he can only dream of being a Nintendo ambassador (although he does want to design games and I believe he could do it right now with that imagination).

    I love your last few sentences. Yesterday it was a big challenge feeling that way but I know you are absolutely right.

    • Jack November 2, 2012 at 12:10 am

      Hi Julie,

      Nintendo flew all of the brand ambassadors to their corporate headquarters and gave us a tour. One of the things that jumped out at me was how many members of their staff told me about how they grew up wanting to work for the company.

      It was pretty cool. Your son might very well grow up to be one of those guys.

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