Sunday, September 03, 2006

Pooh Sticks

It appears that the present owner of 100 Acre Wood has decided that 80 year old (forever young) Winnie the Pooh will no longer be allowed to play Pooh Sticks in 100 Acre Wood. Nor will anyone else. Such a sad day. I recall a very pleasant afternoon in Strasbourg, France (Germany before the dreaded war) with Sonia - originally from Strasbourg, but by then living in Mannheim, Germany, and Juergen - originally from Germany, but from Los Angeles from the age of 3, also by then living in Mannheim. I suspect that Juergen never left the brain of that 3 year old child. This is not derogatory - I envy him.... He will be the subject in my Blog one of these days. A very gifted musician and one of the best mainframe engineers I ever knew. He could also drink beer. He and I worked together in said Mannheim and many other places across Europe. I love the guy to death! Back to the plot. Sonia, Juergen and I had enjoyed a very pleasant lunch on the banks of the Rhine in some hostelry that was at least a million years old. We decided to take a walk before going back to Sonia's parents house for a spot of supper. We came across an old wooden bridge of equal vintage to the lunchtime restaurant. I suggested we play Pooh Sticks. Neither Sonia nor Juergen had heard of Dear Old Winnie. In the best of British tradition, I set about fixing this lack of education – little wonder that Mainland Europe has so many problems. There was much mirth and jollification, such that parents allowed their children and dogs out to watch this event. Ever the brave, I invited a few of the kids to join in. Language to these kids was not a barrier (a rather ferocious French Poodle had to be dealt with, but then he waved his white flag), and my mixture of French and German propelled the children to learn the Art. I suspect that Le Pooh Sticks is still played in Strasbourg but I doubt if the kids even remember the name Aled The Pooh.
Some years later, in this wonderful land of the USA, I was working on a Y2K project in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. It was a weekend, and my colleague and I – a somewhat 'robust' lady called Darlene – decided to sample the countryside. I can recommend it. The countryside, not Darlene. We found an ancient village (by US standards). It was built in the 1920s to support a railway that never came. But they have a slow stream and a bridge. I introduced Darlene to Pooh Sticks. Initially, mothers and fathers came out to see what was going on, even had a Crown Vic looking on, but eventually, they allowed their children out. No French Poodles this time. I’m not that keen on children as those who know me will attest (I’m of the 'best seen and not heard' brigade), but the look on their faces when they understand the Pooh Sticks activity was priceless. What was so nice is that grown-ups can get equally silly/keen over it. I know I did. Even Mr. Plod (British for Crown Vic) got into it. I still would, if I could find a stream here in Florida. As Rik relayed in his blog, if your Florida Driver's License says "Florida", one is in a flood zone. Loosely translated, that means 'no Pooh Sticks'. I suspect that Rik could generate a drawing to that effect. One of his talents that has never been used is his artwork. He is a brilliant artist. He recently drew a pencil drawing of a castle that he and I visited in Wales. I can see a picture with Pooh and his friends playing Pooh Sticks, with a red thingy across it. Here endeth today's lesson.