Monday, January 11, 2010
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.