The Hundred- Acre
The party also made me aware of my slowing mental agility. Kathy, a
junior college English profesor, was just brimming with creative ideas
for bringing the Winnie the Pooh stories to life for the children, and she
worked with her husband Andy and her brother Robert to convert our
backyard into the Hundred Acre Wood.
When we went out the back door, the first thing we encountered was
Rabbit's Garden, a plot beside the garage where the ground had been
broken and rows of carrots (plastic icing bags stuffed with orange jelly
beans), cabbages (green felt with wind-up caterpillars inside), beets
(round plastic bags stuffed with red jelly beans), and melons (lollypops)
Andy had made small plywood signs to mark the rows and larger signs
for other sites.
"Once upon a time, a very
long time ago now, about last
lived in a forest all by himself
under the name of Sanders.
"What does 'under the name'
mean?" asked Christopher
Robin. "It means he had the
name over the door in gold
letters, and lived under it."
"The Piglet lived in a very grand house in
the middle of a beech-tree, and the
beech-tree was in the middle of the
forest, and the Piglet lived in the middle
of the house. Next to his house was a
piece of broken board which had:
"TRESPASSERS W" on it. When
Christopher Robin asked the Piglet what
it meant, he said it was his grandfather's
name, and had been in the family for a
long time. Christopher Robin
said you couldn't be called Trespassers W, and Piglet said yes, you could, because his
grandfather was, and it was short for Trespassers Will, which was short for Trespassers
William. And his grandfather had had two names in case he lost one--Trespassers after an
uncle, and William after Trespassers."
Winnie the Pooh's house was the playhouse we got Katyana the Christmas before. It was
placed under the grapefruit tree, and the tree was filled with fake bees, larger cut-outs and
smaller wind-up versions. Piglet's house was a door at the base of a tree that had a knob
on it and a sign that said "Trespassers W" beside it. It was filled with toy butterflies of
A plastic panorama of trees and grass taped onto one wall was Eeyore's meadow. It
started at Piglet's house and ran past Pooh's, almost to Kanga and Roo's home, the small
avacado tree in the corner. Tigger's house, decorated with distinctive tiger-striped
balloons, was the tall elm tree behind the swing set, and Owl's House was the big avocado
tree behind the garage. A paper Owl glided under its branches toward a door at its base,
while a posterboard Roo floated on balloons by his house. It was a magical place for the
children--and those of us who were older.
All that creativity made me aware of just how much I've slowed down mentally as well.
Oh, I keep exercising my mind--at least a lot more than I do my body, but losses do
occur. I don't remember things as well, I make more mistakes in my writing, and I have to
write things down if I have a hope of getting them done.
But I co-taught a Bible class this quarter and I just completed a large and complex grant.
Sometimes I have to ask people's names again, but they don't seem to mind. And I'm
grateful for any good I can do. I'm particularly grateful to see a bunch of happy children
enjoying our backyard and the magical wood it became for just one happy birthday.