A couple of weeks ago I was looking for an appropriate quote for something and a certain subject popped into my head that had me feeling all gooey-eyed and sentimental. Winnie the Pooh and his good buddy Christopher Robin get me every time.
As a small child, I was reasonably sure that my oldest brother Chris was the real Christopher Robin. This wasnâ€™t just a whim â€“ I had given it serious thought and had some pretty convincing evidence.
After all, my brother was really nice to all animals and they all loved him. We had what seemed like 100 acres of woods behind our house. He was one of the smartest people I knew, was wise beyond his years and could solve all sorts of problems without having to consult an adult. My brother also had a teddy bear that he went to great lengths to protect. And his name was Christopher.
In my young mind, that was all the evidence I needed. My brother was Christopher Robin.
I donâ€™t remember it ever being a sudden realization. No epiphanies for a 4-year-old. It was just something I always knew. I figured everyone else knew also â€“ common knowledge, so why talk about it?
Iâ€™m not sure which came first, my love for Christopher Robin, who was so obviously my own brother, or my affection for his silly old bear and the rest of the characters who lived in the Hundred Acre Woods. Maybe I just like the idea of stuffed animals making silly, wise or fun statements.
I was reading through some of the Pooh stuff the other day, both the original books written by A.A. Milne and the Disney adaptations, and I had to smile.
The part about the jagulars from â€œHouse at Pooh Cornerâ€ always gets me chuckling. Tigger and Roo are stuck in a tree yelling for help when Piglet and Pooh walk by. Jagulars are tricky creatures, according to Pooh. They call â€œhelp, help,â€ and when you look up, they drop on you.
Each of the inhabitants of the Hundred Acre Woods has something to love. Tiggerâ€™s unbridled zest for life, Kangaâ€™s motherly affection for everyone, Owlâ€™s misguided wisdom, Rabbitâ€™s parsnickitiness. I love Eeyore and his big sighs.
â€œDonâ€™t bother, it will only fall off again.â€ Sigh.
Piglet is the bravest little timid animal ever, and Pooh â€“ well, Pooh is the best friend a boy could have. His loyalty and love toward his stuffed companions and Christopher Robin are wonderful. As is his ability to admit he doesnâ€™t always know things because his head is full of fluff.
Now that I am no longer very young, I know the classic tales of a boy and his bear were first published almost 40 years before my brother was even born. There is a lot more evidence that proves my brother is not the Christopher Robin from the Pooh books.
My brother never said things like â€œTut, tut,â€ or used the word galoshes, or ever carried an umbrella as a child, for that matter (he probably still doesnâ€™t). He was definitely not born in England. And while my brother did have a stuffed bear and occasionally acted like Eeyore as he got older, he did not have a stuffed owl, donkey, rabbit or piglet I can recall. As I got a little older, I also learned another piece of pretty solid evidence against the Christopher Robin theory â€“ my brotherâ€™s middle name is Eugene.
So there is absolutely no way my brother could be Christopher Robin. It is not possible. The name Christopher is merely a coincidence, as are the woods, the part about loving animals, the problem-solving skills, the stuffed bear his wife said he still hasâ€¦
Hmmmâ€¦The harder I try to talk myself out of it, the more firmly Iâ€™m convinced. Christopher, is that you?
Maybe itâ€™s best not to question it. I do know that according to Mr. Milne, no matter where you go in the world, somewhere in the forest, a boy is playing with his bear.
I know itâ€™s a bit early yet (his birthday isnâ€™t until Dec. 23), but have to fling happy wishes out to my oldest brother â€“ the guy who always made sure Grandma gave him enough cookies to share with all three of his younger siblings and always made sure we were taken care of, even if there was eye rolling and Eeyore sighs involved.
Happy Birthday, Chris â€“ who will always be Christopher Robin in my heart.