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Ressurecting Henry

One of the reasons I write stories, journals, poems and novels  is to catalog my life and make sense of it. I write to preserve moments that would vanish if I didn’t.

We all consume dozens of stories every day. We read books and newspapers. We watch television and listen to the radio. We even hear stories standing in line at the local grocery store.

The death of my son’s favorite stuffed animal, Henry, was a gradual process, but the realization came suddenly for me. One night, at 2:00 a.m.,  I tiptoed into my son’s room, as I often did. I looked at the blonde head of a little boy nearly four years old and it seemed like only last week I’d put a baby to bed. But something was wrong. David’s arm wasn’t wrapped around his stuffed dog, Henry.  In fact, Henry was no where to be seen.

I found Henry in the bottom drawer of David’s dresser—the one he used for his toys and “important papers.” I closed the drawer quickly. I preferred to remember Henry doing a silly little dance at the foot of David’s bed, or flying in from Dulles Airport just in time to sleep with his human friend.  We created a special voice and vocabulary for Henry—very dog like, I believed—but I’m sure David thought of Henry as his brother and a product of his own mom and dad. I guess that’s not too far from the truth as we did make Henry come alive and develop his own unique personality. Henry even had a son—an exact replica of the old man except in miniature. David called him "Pup".

Henry travelled thousands of miles and shared many a bed with David.  He took several airplane trips and travelled cross-country in the back of our station wagon with his head resting on David’s pillow. One time, David was holding him outside the car window so he could feel the wind on his ears and accidentally dropped Henry on the busy freeway.  I risked my life to go back and grab that stuffed dog before he was crushed under the wheels of 18-wheeler. 


I sewed a new nose on Henry and repaired a battered ear. One time I reattached his tail and laughingly called it hemorrhoid surgery. But Henry was the real doctor in the family and his devotion to David was unwavering. I can still see him in the hospital crib under the oxygen tent the many times David had croup. I remember the way my son clutched Henry in his arms while the doctor stitched the back of his head. 


When we were toilet training David, Henry wore a pair of thick cotton training pants, too. David would pick him up and race into the bathroom and if he was too late, he’d hug Henry against his chest, pat him on the back and say, “It’s okay Henny. You is only yearning.”

For four years, Henry was an active and vital member of our family.  Perhaps, in the lifespan of a stuffed dog, that’s not bad. What can I say? “A dragon lives forever, but not so little boy.” I couldn’t blame David. He was growing up. “Painted wings and giant rings make room for other toys.” I only know that as we get older it’s hard to give up anything we love and I loved Henry, too. 


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UPDATE:  David is now a father. When his son, John Martin Taedu Clayton, was born with jaundice he spent an extra day in the hospital nursery under a special light. David wrapped him in the blanket I'd made for David when he was an infant. He took me into the nursery to see his son--and there, tucked inside my grandson’s bassinet, was Henry’s pup—watching over a new generation.   

 


Comments

Linda Wilkinson
07/13/2014 8:10am

I love how you capture the spirit of a point in time and share with us all but mostly I love how your light reflects in your children years later.

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Laura
07/14/2014 5:33am

I remember Henry.

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07/14/2014 6:03pm

If memory serves me, Henry was a Christmas gift from you, Grady and Katie for David's first Christmas.

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11/17/2014 10:36am

NICE BLOG.

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12/12/2014 4:44am

necklace constructs in addition to a variety of finishes

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11/27/2015 11:06pm

Writing and reading are vital and effective resources for the success and triumph. Its impact and consequences are brought before the students and all kandidates of the times.

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Good memories. You might be happy.

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Barry
01/25/2016 6:19am

Marvelous work at making Henry 'REAL' and the use of music here (from Peter, Paul and Mary) is a sobering, yet hopeful reminder that "to grow is a fate." From another musical hit of theirs we can remember that: "Jordan's River is deep and wide, hallelujah
And I've got a home on the other side, hallelujah
Michael row the boat ashore, hallelujah
Michael row the boat ashore, hallelujah"
You truly have a gift for capturing the "REAL" essence of life and sharing it with others and somehow we need to get your works more widely read in the spirit of encouraging dialog. The "Henry Experience herein" compels me to share another that touched my loved ones: “Real isn't how you are made,' said the Skin Horse. 'It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.'

'Does it hurt?' asked the Rabbit.

'Sometimes,' said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. 'When you are Real you don't mind being hurt.'

'Does it happen all at once, like being wound up,' he asked, 'or bit by bit?'

'It doesn't happen all at once,' said the Skin Horse. 'You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand.”

"I suppose you are real?" said the Rabbit. And then he wished he had not said it, for he thought the Skin Horse might be sensitive. But the Skin Horse only smiled.

"The Boy's Uncle made me Real," he said. "That was a great many years ago; but once you are Real you can't become unreal again. It lasts for always.” ― Margery Williams, The Velveteen Rabbit

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03/18/2016 3:43am

Original paintings are works of art from a lattice, which is for the most part a solitary metal plate, a stone square, wood or screen that has been hand-made by a craftsman.

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07/18/2016 7:08pm

That's really cool. I would be interested in seeing more graphs of different information you pull from these logs.

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07/18/2016 11:55pm

his is my first time i visit here. I found so many entertaining stuff in your blog, especially its discussion. From the tons of comments on your articles, I guess I am not the only one having all the leisure here! Keep up the excellent work.

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Memories of the life are also a kind of the wealth that we are earning in our lives with the different parts. But they are also having two kinds in their formation. One is known as the good and other is bad ones. Thanks for this share.

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08/15/2016 10:37pm

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08/30/2016 5:01am

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We captured sweet memories in our cam and its all depend on the pleasant and sweet environment. If we could not get the sweet environment then we can not captured the sweet memories in our life.

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10/20/2016 5:56am

Thanks.

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11/04/2016 8:08am

I simply wanted to thank you so much again. I am not sure the things that I might have gone through without the type of hints revealed by you regarding that situation.

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01/07/2017 6:28pm

I am so impressed with the way you write this story... It's so simple yet can be easily understood.

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