Friday, June 17, 2005

"I think I'll make a snappy new day."

“You're special to me.” That’s what he would say. He never made me feel inferior to him nor was I relegated to being ‘just a child’.

Yes, folks, I’m talking about Mr. Rogers.

Everyday, I would religiously turn to PBS to watch Mr. Rogers change into his ‘leisure’ cardigan and skips. He was always chipper. He always greeted me. “Hi, Neighbor.” To be truthfully, I always wondered what kind of neighborhood he lived in. No one looked like him in mine.

He usually had an item in a brown bag to show off. Sometimes, it was a toy. Other times, Mr. McFeely would deliver a reel for picture picture. I loved picture picture. I loved watching how things were made. In case you want to relive some of picture picture’s reel’s, click here.

When my brother was old enough, I turned him onto Mr. Rogers. That didn’t sound right. I remember coming home from school and my brother would be glued to the floor watching Mr. Rogers.

Once, Mr. Rogers was making peanut butter with peanuts and butter. As a kid, there was an innocence that made you wonder if mashing peanuts and butter could make peanut butter. Here was a grown man doing it as well. BTW, when I was little, I thought all-purpose flour, water, tomato sauce and cheese = pizza. In case you were wondering, it’s not. It does however leave a seriously nasty stain in a toaster oven.

Whatever you did or felt, Mr. Rogers always made you feel special. If you were angry, it was ok to be angry. If you were mad, it was ok to be mad. If you felt silly trying to make a sandwich with peanuts, butter and bread, it was ok to feel silly. Mr. Rogers was a cheerleader for you. “I'm Proud of You.”

Mr. Rogers’ is gone now and as an adult, it just doesn’t seem right to Tivo him for an occasional pep talk. But I still have his comforting advice near me. It sits inside my desk at my office. Now I just need a cool red cardigan, some retro blue skips and maybe a replica of The Neighborhood Trolley.