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Saturday, December 8, 2001

A couple of nights ago, Mom called and asked if I wanted to go to the ice show. Her group was going today, and for some reason there was one ticket left over. I didn't ask how that happened, but I did tell her I'd buy it and go with her. I thought I'd probably enjoy the show, but that it might make an even better journal entry if I didn't.

But unfortunately I did! Even though the name of the show, "It's All About Christmas, Snoopy!", was a big lie. Yes, it was mostly about Christmas. But I don't think "She Bangs" is a Christmas song. (Or is it?) The holiday ice show is held every year at Charles Schulz's Redwood Empire Ice Arena here in Santa Rosa, and since Mr. Schulz died last year, it's been presented by his family.

People of all ages were there, but the audience seemed to be made up mostly of small children, and women about Mom's age. This is good for me, because I get along well with both groups. (Kids and old ladies love me. I can't help it; that's just the way it is. Animals, too.) I've met some of Mom's friends before, and they all treat me as if I were somebody famous, like maybe Perry Como or Mickey Rooney. Even the ones I met for the first time today knew a lot about me. It was almost scary.

We got there early, as we always do when Mom is in charge. Since she'd picked up my ticket at the last minute, we traded it with one of her friends so the two of us could sit together. We waited in the coffee shop at the arena, and it was fun watching the people coming in. When Snoopy walked through wearing a Santa hat, every child in the place was suddenly in line for a hug. And not a few of the adults, as well.

Snoopy was everywhere during the show, too. He was part of almost every act, either skating with the chorus or doing some shtick off to the side of the ice. This is the real Snoopy, you know, because this is his home town. And you'd better believe that everybody here knows it.

The show was made up of big musical production numbers, punctuated by solo performances by a few stars. In past years, champions such as Dorothy Hamill and Peggy Fleming have performed in the show. The best-known skater this year was probably the former French national champion Eric Millot.

We were also mightily impressed with the pairs team of Rosanna Tovi and Andrei Bannikov, for their impressive lifts and throws. At times she seemed to be floating over his head, or flying over the ice. In fact, I spent the entire intermission talking about these performers with the woman sitting behind me. She told me she had to close her eyes during the death spirals.

The music was all over the map — everything from blues and jazz to light classical to traditional holiday songs (usually with a bit of a twist to them). There was an undersea medley and a wild west show, mixed in with the Christmas stuff. It all came down to two pretty tightly-packed hours of family entertainment. And they get to do it two or three times a day from now until December 23.

This turned out to be the first Saturday in about a month that it didn't storm ferociously in the Bay Area, so it was pleasant to come out of the arena and have the sun peeking through the haze, and no puddles to wade through on our way to the car. We crawled out of the parking lot and met Mom's friend at Mary's Pizza Shack for lunch. Or in my case, breakfast, lunch and dinner.

bird on roof

Bird on the roof against a gray December sky.

At the show, we sat in folding chairs (in Section N) that looked down not only on the ice but also on the people who paid twice as much for their tickets. This allowed them to sit at tables and get served coffee and hot chocolate during the show. I didn't mind that, but they also had bonbons and éclairs, some of which were still on the tables as we filed out afterward. The ushers were careful to herd us around the tables, so all we could do was look over the barriers at them. Otherwise, I would have been more than tempted to fill my pockets with goodies.

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Bev, Funny the World, December 8, Ghost of Christmas Past

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