When I was a kid, I really loved the Smurfs. The Smurfs were pretty much my #1 cartoon. Being that I grew up before the days of Cartoon Network, Netflix, the proliferation of every show imaginable on DVD and Blu-Ray, etc., cartoons were available on Saturday morning and for an hour or two in the afternoon after school. And that was it. As for the Smurfs - they were only shown on Saturday morning. For that reason, I spent pretty much every Saturday morning glued to the television, with the highlight of the morning being the Smurfs, which I seem to recall came on at 9:30 and were shown until 11:00.
90 minutes of cartoon bliss for young Scott.
Anyway, throughout my childhood, there was one episode in particular that was sort of like Shangri-La or the Lost City of Atlantis for me. This was because I had seen this particular episode one time when I was really young, and I had really loved it, but then I never saw it again. It entailed a Rip Van Winkle theme, and involved the Smurfs dressing up like old men with white beards in order to teach Lazy Smurf a lesson when he woke up from his nap. Like Rip Van Winkle, Lazy thought he'd been asleep for decades, and everyone had aged in his absence.
Even though rerun episodes were shown every week (except for the fall, when the new season episodes ran), I never again saw this particular episode. Practically every week, I would wonder if maybe this was the week they'd show it...but it never came to pass. The Smurfs got canceled in 1990, and I was a 15-year-old high school student by that time anyway, and I never did get to see that episode again. It became, as I said, a sort of Lost Episode that I often thought about over the years. It even took on a sort of mythical quality for me. Had I really ever seen this episode, or did I dream it up one day in my childhood?
Fast forward to the first week of June, 2014. My 8-year-old daughter is on a Smurfs kick right now for some reason and so we were on Amazon Prime looking for Smurfs episodes to download for her.
And that's when it happened.
I'm flipping through the available episodes when I see this title scroll by on the screen:
Smurf Van Winkle
There it is! The Lost Episode! IT DOES EXIST!
So I downloaded it for $1.99 and finally, after a 32-year wait, I got to watch this mythical episode once again.
Reading about it online, I discovered that it was an episode that first aired in Season Two - specifically in November of 1982, which is when I would have been in 2nd grade. Presumably, that was the one time I saw it.
So that's one thing I can mark off my bucket list.
As some of you may know, we recently got a new dog. Her name is Sophie and she is a pure-bred Havanese, which is a toy breed similar in size to a Maltese or Westie.
They were originally bred as circus dogs in Cuba (hence the name, which references Havana), and they are very good at doing tricks and learning commands. We've had Sophie for about a month now, she's 14 weeks old, and I have already taught her to sit, stay, come, heel, beg, fetch, and ring bells on command. We're continuing to work on those commands and also on leash walking. We've had two previous dogs, and neither of them ever walked very well on a leash. So I have been determined to leash train Sophie, and although it has been a battle at times, she is picking it up. It's really important to me to be able to take my dog on a walk and not have her pulling and yanking on the leash the whole time.
I planned for this dog much better than the previous dogs we bought. I even read a book, before we got her, about raising puppies, written by Cesar Millan, the Dog Whisperer. His techniques really do work. Like he recommends, I have established myself as Sophie's pack leader, and it really does make a difference. I can see now how we made numerous mistakes with our previous dogs, Katie (who died a few years back) and Finley, who was so bad we had to give him away after a year and a half.
We went to Disney World in April and that was really fun. It was my first time back since I was 15 years old, and it was the first time for my kids. We went with my sister-in-law's family, so they kids got to experience it with their cousins.
We had a really good time, and my 12-year-old actually acted like her old self for a week. It was so nice to have a daughter who wasn't sullen and hostile every waking moment of the day! Naturally, she went right back to normal when we got home. Oh well.
In July, we are going to see my parents in Texas. It will be the first time we've gone there since 2008, and likely the last time we go, since my parents intend to retire next year and move up here to be closer to us. That trip in 2008 is the only time I've been in the last decade, and the 6 years that have elapsed since that trip is the longest I've gone without a visit down there.
Seems like there should be more to talk about, but I'll spare you.