Claude Knows: People Believe What They ask of Their Eyes

I grew up on the truths delivered via Claymation at the holidays. The Rankin-Bass people were among the greatest Teachers of Moral Lessons to small children at the time.

At Eastertime the story of Peter Cottontail delivered the strange, potentially hazardous fact that "People believe what they ask of their eyes--if they need a rose, then it's a rose...."

So says Claude the Caterpillar to Peter Cottontail as the sleepy-headed rabbit strategizes ways to offload his out-of-season Easter eggs that he might keep his big job as an up-and-coming Easter Bunny in Easter Valley. He's competing against the dark-spirited Iron Tail for the role of lead bunny.

Claude is the marketing guru of this masterpiece about grace.

Claude's right, of course. This is a potentially hurtful fact that can lead to delusion and disappointment if you look for the right things in the wrong places or people and they see you coming and take advantage of you....But let's not go there.

Let's go to my mother. She's an example of how Claude's truth can become a way of being. Mom worked with a lot of kids at Friendly's over the years, and many of them were my classmates and my sister's. We knew them to be burnouts and other forms of not good. To hear my mother talk of them, though, they were nice, goofy, lackadaisical funny young boys and silly girls. She saw roses where we saw tumbleweeds, very often.

She wasn't blind to their stuff--addiction, promiscuity, irresponsibility--but she saw something to like and she liked it well. I believe she asked of her eyes to see beauty and goodness. She asked of her eyes to look beyond the tumbleweeds and admire the roses; she didn't pretend the tumbleweeds weren't there or call them by a different name. (Forgive the following cliches, but I need them.) If eyes are the window of the soul and beauty is in the eye of the beholder, then who's better than mom? Even Claude figured that one out inside his half hour.


  1. a little off topic... i really like the poems from old records widget on your blog... when I was student teaching about 15(!) years ago, the school I was assigned to was transitioning away from LPs and as a result I snagged some records with Frost and Snyder reading on them... I need to scour garage sales this summer for a record player!

  2. Good ol' KMart brought our vinyl to life. We found this old-fashioned looking record-CD player combo with a radio. We plugged it into the computer and recorded straight onto the hard drive.

    I like to hit the book fairs in the warm weather and scoop up such recordings as these. It's interesting to hear Frost's interpretation of himself. I'm partial, but I wish Thomas had read everything!


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