Unless you grew up in a cave, you’ve seen the Charlie Brown Halloween special on television. You might even own a copy on DVD, but just in case you did grow up in a cave, let me recap the story for you.
Poor Charlie Brown would love to be a popular kid, but he isn’t. He receives an invitation to a Halloween party (by mistake) and while there, the other kids use the back of his bald head as a canvas on which to draw a proper design for pumpkin carving. A ghost is his trick-or-treat costume choice, yet the costume consists of an old bed sheet with too many eye-holes. “I had a little trouble with the scissors,” he laments. When the kids head out to ring doorbells, his companions all receive candy. At every stop, without fail, Charlie is given a rock. The boy gets no respect.
Or does he?
Just a few weeks ago I took one of my daughters on a field trip to the Buffalo Museum of Science. While there, we enjoyed many interactive exhibits, but one that we found most fascinating was the gemstone, geode, and crystal exhibit. We learned that much effort is exerted in order to unearth expensive and precious gems like rubies and diamonds. Yet surprisingly, some very pretty (albeit less expensive) minerals, rocks, and gemstones are found just below the earth’s surface all over the globe. The most popular of these are quartz crystals, found in geodes.
What, exactly, is a geode? Well, it’s a rock. The word geode comes from the Greek word geoides meaning “earthlike.” A geode is a sphere-shaped rock containing a hollow cavity which is lined with crystals. Usually geodes contain small compact crystals of quartz on the outside edge of the cavity with agate or chalcedony layers underneath. On the outside, it’s just a plain, brown rock.
In the museum gift shop we found geodes for sale. I thought to myself, “Four dollars for a rock? Really?” and then promptly bought two.
Once home, my husband brought out the hammer and chisel. The exterior of the rocks belied none of what was contained within. Gentle tapping on the geode gave way to vigorous pounding until the rocks finally split to reveal beautiful crystal formations.
I hear you asking, “What’s your point, Carol?”
My point is this: What if all of those cartoon adults saw something special in Charlie Brown? What if they saw past his bland exterior? What if they were the only ones aware of the true beauty within the little bald kid with the yellow and black shirt? What if most of us are only interested in eye candy? What if we, as human beings, are so concerned with the outside appearance that we miss the true beauty that lies hidden until we put forth an effort to bring it to light?
Am I reading too much into a Charles Schultz comic strip? Absolutely. But it serves my purpose for this article, so I’m going to run with it.
Last week I ordered a few bags of geodes (and realized that $4 each at the museum was highway robbery). I decided to give a choice to the Halloween trick-or-treaters at my door. They could choose a piece of candy or a rock. Perplexed adults looked at me skeptically, the question left unspoken, but readable in their eyes: “Who is this crazy woman and why is she offering my kid a rock?” Most chose the brightly packaged candy over the baggie with a brown rock and instructions. When a few parents and kids actually asked me about the rock, I told them it was special, and they had to look past the boring exterior to reveal inner beauty. One teenager said, “I know what it is! Can I have two?”
Did Charlie Brown take that bag of rocks home and break them into pieces? I’d like to think so, but the world will never know.
Published in The Corry Journal, Saturday, November 9, 2013