Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Sunny Days

I did something yesterday that I haven't done in a long time. Too long, in fact. I sat down and watched an episode of 'Sesame Street.' Now, mind you, this wasn't just any old was the 4,187th episode, to be exact. And it marked the 40th anniversary of the show's start.

As silly as it might sound, I couldn't help but reflect on how much I have loved that show over the years. I remember when Mr. Snuffleupagus (a.k.a. Snuffie) joined the gang, LONG before the days of Elmo and Abby Cadabby. I can still picture Oscar being a grouch to everybody but his worm-buddy, Slimey. I absolutely dressed up as Big Bird for Halloween 1982. And I remember feeling really sad when Mr. Hooper died. I learned Spanish words I'd never heard before. I loved when Cookie Monster dressed up as Alistair Cookie for 'Monsterpiece Theater.' I watched Grover run near and far. I learned how Crayons were made. I thought the Yip Yip martians were crazy (Yip, yip, yip, yip, uh-huh, uh-huh). I counted with the Count. I tried to imitate the laughs of both Bert and Ernie. And getting to see 'Sesame Street Live' at Norfolk Scope was brought to me by the letters E-P-I-C.

You know, there's research out there suggesting that children who watch 'Sesame Street' fare better with their studies in school and grow up loving to read more than the average kid. Who knows if that cause-effect relationship actually exists? But I'm pretty sure of this - the show's characters taught me important lessons about life...from sharing and being liking fruits and accepting other cultures different from our own. And to be sure I learned more about the letter 'W' on Sesame Street than anywhere else. Ever.

Of course, the look of the show has changed quite a bit since I was an avid viewer. Alistair Cookie no longer smokes a pipe because, naturally, smoking is bad for you. Oscar still loves trash, but he's now a huge proponent of recycling your garbage. And Super Grover is a firm believer in exercise these days. But after 40 years, I'm so happy that 'Sesame Street' is still going strong and changing along with the times. Because I hope to share it with my own children someday. To give them the chance to learn from, laugh with, and love all of those characters as much as I did. And still do! I mean, just think about it - even in our crazy, grown-up world, there's still nothing quite like "sunny days...sweeping the clouds away..."

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