Sunday, July 24, 2011

Memorial

This is what I'll be reading at tomorrow's memorial service. 

The House at Pooh Corner, Chapter X: In Which Christopher Robin and Pooh Come to an Enchanted Place, and We Leave them There

"Christopher Robin was going away.  Nobody knew why he was going; nobody knew where he was going; indeed, nobody even knew why he knew that Christopher Robin was going away.  But somehow or other everybody in the Forest felt that it was happening at last.  Even Smallest-of-all, a friend-and-relation of Rabbit's who thought he had once seen Christopher Robin's foot, but couldn't be quite sure because perhaps it was something else, even S. of A. told himself that Things were going to be Different; and Late and Early, two other friends-and-relations, said, "Well, Early?" and "Well, Late?" to each other in such a hopeless sort of way that it really didn't seem any good waiting for the answer.

[They call a meeting, write a poem for Christopher Robin, and take it to him.] 

"Hallo, everybody," said Christopher Robin--"Hallo, Pooh."

They all said "Hallo," and felt awkward and unhappy suddenly, because it was a sort of good-by they were saying, and they didn't want to think about it.  So they stood around, and waited for somebody else to speak, and they nudged each other, and said, "Go on," and gradually Eeyore was nudged to the front, and the others crowded behind him.

"What is it, Eeyore?" asked Christopher Robin.  Eeyore swished his tail from side to side, so as to encourage himself, and began.

"Christopher Robin," he said, "we've come to say--to give to you--it's called--written by--but we've all--because we've heard, I mean we all know--well, you see, it's--we--you--well, that, to put it as shortly as possible, is what it is."  He turned round angrily on the others and said, "Everybody crowds round so in this Forest.  There's no Space.  I never saw a more Spreading lot of animals in my life, and all in the wrong places.  Can't you see that Christopher Robin wants to be alone.  I'm going."  And he humped off.

Not quite knowing why, the others began edging away, and when Christopher Robin had finished reading POEM, and was looking up to say, "Thank you," only Pooh was left.

"It's a comforting sort of thing to have," said Christopher Robin, folding up the paper, and putting it in his pocket."

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Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote, "Life is short, but there is always time for courtesy."