Thursday, July 24, 2014

Charlie Brown & Lucy

He met her at a church picnic.  He was the other half of a duo who sang for $5 bucks and a free picnic lunch.  As he sang of life and love his eyes kept drifting over to the auburn haired lass who thought he was singing intimacies that she had kept to herself.

So they spent a Sunday afternoon getting to know one another under a canopy of summer shade trees.     They took a walk along the river and skipped stones across the water and exchanged Reader's Digest Condensed versions of their lives and hopes and fears.

The following week she would be ferried off to Apple Valley, to the grandparents house, thus forfeiting a summer month to share...time that could never be recaptured.  And he felt a loneliness as vast as a canyon.  Then, in his mailbox came Charlie Brown cards, with personal messages about old folks and golf carts and early evening dispatches to bed.  She had decided that he was Charlie Brown and she was Lucy.

Indeed she was.  Given three hours on one golden Sunday and then she was gone from his life, from his could such a brief encounter bring on such lust just to gaze into her blue eyes for a single moment.  She had shown him the football and then jerked it away so swiftly!

While she was away the military came calling.  He raised his hand and swore an oath and promised to show up in September to join the million man ranks destined to fight a war in Asia.

Then Lucy came home and filled his summer evening with delights.  They rode merry go rounds like children, took long evening walks in the park, went to movies and concerts and spent hours exploring lips and lash and the far country that dwelled behind the eyes.

And Charlie Brown and Lucy fell in love.  They exchanged gifts across the table, over pizza and root beer...a "Happiness Is A Warm Puppy Book" to Charlie from Lucy and a heart pendant necklace for Lucy from Charlie.

Then Charlie Brown was off to Texas for basic training.  Nearly every day came a love letter on blue stationary, little blue lovebirds flitting around the top of the page, a whiff of Chanel to remind him what he was missing.

A ten day leave gave them acres of time to love, hours to embrace, kisses to last a season.  Then he was off again to his first military assignment...three thousand miles from her arms, from her lips, from her sweet endearments.

At Christmas he sent her a bracelet, she sent him a warm sweater and an engraved bracelet, ownership of him claimed in three words engraved in the bottom.

At Valentines Day a sweet card arrived, with a timeless pledge that she would be waiting no matter how long it took.  But two months later the letters from her dwindled from daily to weekly...and then to tortuous monthlies.

He wrote and begged for clarity, for an explanation and, when none came, demanded one.

Then came the letter that was the one he feared the most.  The "dear john"...the "dear Charlie Brown" that said waiting was too hard, that it hurt too much too need and not get, that Lucy had jerked the football away just when he needed it the most.

So Charlie Brown found Ten High and Southern Comfort and cheap gin and nearby fraternity girls could make the pain go away for a little while.  But he could not drive the love for Lucy and that football away for long.

When Charlie finally sobered up, he volunteered for Vietnam, hoping that time and distance would ease the pain in his heart.  

And the pain did ease, and he did find other joys in life and he managed his life as best he could.  And others took their place in his heart.  And Charlie Brown finally went away and he stopped yearning for that football.  But deep in his heart, hidden away in a shoe box, far up on the top shelf, Charlie still lives...and so does Lucy.



  1. Nicely told story. We never forget our first love, long distant and intertwined with fantasy and memories that never were.