Opinions - 04/23/2008
Written by Bob Tribble   

Loss Of A Star, Peanuts, Outhouses

He was a scrawny tenth grader whose friends called him ďuglyĒ shy and self conscious, he was invited to join the track team.

He was a very bright child and maintained a straight ďAĒ average in grade school. During his early childhood he was often lonely and confused. To avoid the stress and tension of his familyís relationships he retreated inside himself spending many hours acting out fantasies.

He began to throw the javelin and practiced every night. Eventually he set a national high school record and accepted a scholarship to the University of California.

A torn shoulder muscle ended his javelin throwing career, so he turned to acting and eventually starred in Bonanza, Little House on the Prairie and Highway to Heaven.

By now most all of you know that Michael Landon is the person referred to above. Most of you also know that he died only three months after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer at the young age of 54.

Just recently actor Patrick Swayze, who is also in his fifties, has been diagnosed with the same cancer that claimed the life of Landon. Hopefully, treatment has improved and Patrick will have many more years of life.

The story is told about a youth who was viewed as a failure by his peers. He didnít pass all his classes in school, he didnít have any dates and he didnít have very many friends.

He did have one talent however. Whenever he felt particularly down he would cheer himself up by drawing. He took a correspondence course in art, served in the U.S. Army during World War II and then became a cartoonist. He sent some of his drawings to Walt Disney but they were rejected.

When Disney rejected his cartoons he felt that he had failed again but the young man refused to give up. He created a cartoon about a boy who was just like him that was published in the Minneapolis newspaper. His comic panel Liíl Folks was renamed Peanuts and was syndicated nationwide in 1950.

Although Charles Schulz passed away in 2000 many newspapers continue to publish Peanuts.

Finally, not many people know that Thomas Edison was an avid fisherman. He usually found time to do some trout fishing while on infrequent vacations.

On one such trip to the West Edison was befriended by an American Indian tribe. They provided free room and board, as well as expert fishing guides for his visit.

On his first night on the reservation Edison discovered that the only sanitary facility was an old fashioned outhouse. To make things worse, it had no light, even though the village homes had electricity.

As a thank you gift for their kindness, Edison purchased the necessary materials and personally installed lighting in the privy. He thus became the first person to wire a head for a reservation.

Come to think of it, while growing up in the 1940ís we had electricity in the house but none in the outhouse way out in the backyard.

Oprah Winfrey says we all should keep a grateful journal. Every night we should list five things that happen each day that we are grateful for. It will change our perspective of our life. When we can learn to focus on what we have we will always have more. If we concentrate on what we don't have we will never have enough.

One of the things on my wish list back in the early forties was an outhouse in the house. And you know what? It finally happened in the mid-to-late forties.