Minnesota, my home, has had its share of favorite sons and daughters. Fame is fleeting, however, especially in politics and the performing arts. There are a few "giants in the earth" who hail from this state, but among the most notable of these would be Charles Lindberg, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Bob Dylan, and Sparky.
Sparky, of course, is the nickname of Charles M. Schulz, the creator of "Peanuts" and the most successful (at least monetarily) cartoonist of all time. His strips, known worldwide, were really little examinations of the human condition, never hilarious or outrageous, but thoughtful and although somewhat sad at times, always had an underlying optimism. David Michaelis' Peanuts and Schulz: A Biography, has just been released, in it he examines the darker side of the man, and how it was reflected in the strip. He was not, according to Michaelis, a happy man. But he did persevere, and worked until the end. He left Minnesota (they always do) for warmer days in California, finally settling in Santa Rosa, although he did bring his beloved ice hockey with him.
As a child, I read his strip until well into my teens. I wasn't as frustrated as Charlie Brown- I identified more with Linus, who also had a domineering big sister. I still read the reruns in the paper from time to time; who ever selects them does a pretty good job of picking the best.
All of the famous people I mentioned at the beginning of the post were (or still are) writers of one kind or another. Maybe it's the long, dark winters. Maybe it's the ten thousand lakes. Maybe it's the cows. What ever it may be, you done us proud, Sparky.