Wednesday, March 8, 2023
Winnie-the-Pooh and the Snowy Day
As I write this at not quite 6 a.m., it's snowing outside. When I looked at the forecast last night it was unusually neat and conclusive -- 0º C with a 100 percent chance of snow. It was pretty clear what kind of morning we were going to have around here.
Fortunately the ground is warm enough that the snow isn't sticking much. I went out last night and covered the canna lilies -- which are cut down to the ground anyway -- but the Chinese banana is toughing it out.
I did stay home from work yesterday, due to my cold. I called my co-worker and said I could come in or stay home, either way, depending on what she was comfortable with. She told me to stay home, but it wound up being such a drama -- my boss wanted me to get a substitute, but the sub coordinator said one wasn't available, and I called a guy who used to sub for us but he's no longer on the list, yadda yadda -- that I think I'm going in today. It's a mild cold and I can't really justify missing another day. I doubt I'm still infectious, anyway. I'll wear a mask.
I got some stuff done around the house, so it wasn't an entirely wasted day. I changed our bedsheets and took them to the laundromat, and left Dave's suit and shirts from his Oman trip at the dry cleaners. He had another bag of miscellaneous laundry but I had no more room on our drying rack, so I just left all that at the laundromat too. And I stopped by the grocery store for milk and soup.
I washed Olga's pink blanket, and wrapped it around her when it came out of the dryer. She loves that.
I spent most of the day on the couch reading Christopher Milne's book "The Enchanted Places," about his life as Christopher Robin from the Winnie-the-Pooh stories. He talked about life with his parents and how much of the physical world around their farm in Sussex wound up in the Pooh books written by his father, A. A. Milne. It made me want to visit that area for a walk.
Christopher Milne was uncomfortable with his role in the Pooh phenomenon. He was shy and as he grew up he didn't appreciate the expectations that came with his fame. I suppose it must be bizarre to be a grown man who's best known to the world for playing with stuffed animals.
He spent most of his early childhood in the company of his nanny and in those years barely knew his parents, though as he grew he spent more time with them, playing cricket and catch with his father and listening as his mother read to him.
I was shocked by Milne's references to his farm cats. They had about four cats, and of course those cats periodically had kittens, but the kittens were then routinely drowned. He said they probably drowned 50 or 60 kittens over their years there. He recounted this so casually, as if everyone does it, and maybe they did back then. (Dave said his family used to drown farm kittens too, in Michigan.)
Despite the PETA triggers, I enjoyed the book overall, and its evocation of a bygone England in the quieter years of the 1920s. I loved the Pooh books as a kid so when Milne mentioned the Pooh-Sticks Bridge, for example, I knew exactly what he was talking about. In fact, when I read my own childhood journals I see language right out of Winnie-the-Pooh -- exclamations like "Bother!" and references to "hums." I must have been a weird child.