Friday, September 4, 2009

Abigail on the Classics

I have spent the last few days reading literature that simply doesn't thrill me in the least. In fact, it has left me feeling rather depressed. And for pity's sake, who has time to read depressing literature when there are so many wonderful books, begging for attention?

I certainly don't have time. So I am putting away the literature on what happens to your body when the cancer within lays claim to your insides like a greedy Monopoly player who simply isn't content to own hotels on Boardwalk and Park Place. I am through reading about obstructed this and blocked that and stents and stomas and grains of sand in the hourglass.

Today, I feel lovely. I have no sense of the Intruder today. And today is all I consider anymore.

We are reading A. A. Milne's When We Very Young, the girls and I. Dear Ryan, the girl-with-the-boy-name who I regret I haven't learned to love yet, held up her copy today and announced with disdain, "This is Winnie-the-Pooh."

No, it's a book of poems written by the man who created Winnie the Pooh, I told her.

It's a kid's book, she said.

Would you prefer some adult literature? I asked her, and I handed her the 50-page treatise on treatment options for advanced ovarian cancer.

She closed her pouty little mouth.

Didn't think so, I said.

When We Were Very Young is a collection of forty-four poems. It was the first of the books Milne wrote featuring Pooh and Christopher Robin, and when it was published in 1924, only a little more than 5,000 copies were printed. It seems to me Dorothea and I had one of those copies. We read it at the Pismo Beach house, I think. I just remember reading it with her in the sunshine. With sand between our toes. And there was lemonade and cherry tarts.

I don't have the book now. Makes me think maybe it was Dorothea's book. And nothing remains from her childhood; nothing except the memories I have of it.

I am going to suggest we girls discuss the book over a weekend retreat at the Pismo Beach house. Weekend after next. I shall have Esperanza call the property manager to air it out.

It will be relaxing and peaceful. How can it not with sand between our toes?

And there shall be lemonade and cherry tarts.

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