Earth Day, 2012
Note: This entry received this comment, including the reader's personal letter from E.B. White, that is worth highlighting.
This piece on E.B. White in today's Sunday Book Review seems just right for 'Earth Day': http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/22/books/review/celebrating-60-years-of-charlottes-web.html?_r=1&ref=books
It reminded me of this letter that White sent to my grandfather. By the way, I don't know if, "Sorry to hear that you are a dropout..." refers to a dog owner event or the fact that my grandfather graduated from Yale. Maybe it was just a dig from a Cornell man.
North Brooklin, Maine 04661
March 20, 1974
Dear Mr. ________:
Sorry to hear that you are a dropout but am grateful for your letter and glad you can still read. Wish I could still write.
My Norwich Terrier will be seven in May. His Club name is Jaysgreen Rusty (United Kingdom), and he was sired (it says here) by a dog named Hunston Horseradish. He is known in this house as Jones and is seldom found more than six feet from where I am. He is neurotic---scarred as a puppy by being shoved into a crate for a plane trip from England, then another plane trip from Boston to Maine. I think somebody along the way must have hit him with a stick, because even after all these years with me, I can’t pick up a fly swatter without his cringing. I got him from Sylvia Warren, and he almost never made it up out of his bed of neuroses. But he and I are enough alike that we get on well, and I can’t help being touched by his loyalty---which I think in his case is simply insecurity. He would never take a prize at a show. Neither would I, come to think of it.
I have another terrier---a West Highland White, or Off-White, named Susy. She is as open and outgiving as Jones is closed and reserved. Everybody loves Susy. Everybody tries to like Jones. But Jones takes his guard duties seriously and has made several attempts to kill people he thought were intruding. He particularly distrusts women in trousers, drivers of panel trucks, small children, and stray dogs. He has hunted squirrels for six years without bagging one. Susy is quicker than he is and once nabbed a barn swallow on the wing. Sometimes I dream of owning another Norwich---one that looks like a Norwich and behaves like one. But I am known for my outsize dreams. Meantime, I am grateful for small favors, like the little brown one over there on the sofa.