Monday, January 11, 2010

A salute to Gumby, unsung hero


At Christmas, Wil lamented that I never read to him as a child. I was shocked and hurt. No one likes to have their motherhood challenged. I remember spending hours talking with the children before bedtime. It was after reading today's obituary of Art Clokey, creator of Gumby, that I realized why Wil doesn't remembered having books read to him. It's because instead of reading books, I made up stories, new and different adventures each night.

That's what Art Clokey did with his children, and the stories he told them became many of the 233 adventures of Gumby we enjoyed on television.

Childhood lost. I was Gumby for Halloween when I was six. My sister was the beautiful bride. Since this picture, my sister has been a bride three times. Me, well, there are days I certainly feel like Gumby.

To me, Gumby was the ultimate defender of the little guy. Gumbyworld.com says that Gumby's focus was on doing "what is right and good. Because of his faith in following his heart, everything always works out for him in the end, whether that means a triumph or learning a lesson."

Gumby was a hero. Heroes, they're the people who made us who we are today. They may be the leader we patterned our lives after, the beacon who steered us to our career, the spiritual leader who crafted our moral inner self, or the cheerleader who never gave up on us.

Heroes. If there are fewer today than in our younger days, it is only because we have demanded too much from them. We have come to expect perfection, not only from our heroes, but from our business associates, our political leaders, our neighbors, our teachers, our friends, ourselves.

Maybe the problem in today's world is you can literally find out just about everything there is to know about a person. Knowing everything includes knowing the less than hero-like qualities in each of us. We all have them, so the longer you look, the more you know and the less heroic they become.

The ordination ceremony in the United Methodist Church used to (and maybe still does) include a question to all incoming preachers: "Are you striving for perfection?" One year, a preacher-to-be replied, "No," to which the bishop responded, "I didn't say 'are you going to reach perfection,' but, 'Are you striving for it?'"

True heroes strive for perfection, acknowledge they'll never reach it and forgive others when they fall short of it.

True heroes act like Gumby. Rest in peace Art Clokey.

4 comments:

Jenny Mae said...

What a great story, Mom! I will always remember hearing the stories about Gumby...One of the better stories you have written in a while...not that all of them aren't wonderful :)

wayne moises said...

He is the green clay boy & main protagonist/hero created by Art Clokey in 1956 together with Pokey the orange horse Gumbo his father the firefighter Gumba her mother/housewife Minga her kid sister Denali the elephant Goo the flying mermaid Prickle the yellow dinosaur Prof.Kapp Groobee Blockheads & other friends & allies alike nearly 60 years in syndication since 1956 still runs throughout the world turns 60 years old soon. Thanks for the information. From:Wayne

wayne moises said...

Advanced Happy Birthday Gumby! Thanks!
From:Wayne

wayne moises said...

Gumby turns 60 years old in 2016 to celebrate the clay boy & his friends created by Art Clokey(1924-2010) in 1956 nearly six decades ago still popular throughout the world. Thanks! From:Wayne