Our Town: The value of the simple pleasures found in W.P.


You may recall the story I reported on few weeks ago about James the dog and his master who was on an endless and fruitless quest to find some happiness.

The man’s demeanor was grumpy, sad and depleted.

His dog James  had tried to cheer up the man by taking him for a walk.

As things turned out they went into Hildebrandt’s  and asked Henry Hildebrandt, the little antique toy suspended on the high wire, if there was any way to find true happiness here in Williston Park.

The little doll told them that the answer to his question was to be found by reading chapter seven of ‘The Wind in the Willows’ by Kenneth Grahame.

James and the man did find the book in the local library and read chapter seven which was entitled “Piper at the Gates of Dawn.’

Now let’s listen in to what they had to say about this chapter.

“James, why did that stupid doll tell us to read that chapter? I don’t see that it has any relevance to me, my aches and pains and my confusion, my boredom.”  “Sir please don’t take this the wrong way but perhaps you have some kind of learning disability related to reading comprehension. Have you ever been tested in school?  I think the message of the chapter is quite clear.”

James, stop being cute, just tell me what it meant.

Well sir, as the story went the Mole and the Rat spent the night helping the Otter find Portly his son who had been missing for days.

They traveled downstream throughout the night in search of the child and were led to the child by beautiful flute music.

The Mole and the Rat saw the mythological demi-god Pan in the meadow as dawn breaks and there between the hooves of Pan was little  Portly.

Yes James I read that too but what in the world does that have to do with me and  my general malaise? I’m sorry James but I don’t understand you.

Sir, don’t you recall the line “You shall look at my power at the helping hour, But then you shall forget.”

Sir, that means we all have someone watching over us which guides us away from trouble but heals our wounds as well. Sir, it means that we are not alone in the universe, and the world is a benevolent and good place to be. It means it is good to be alive and to be able to see the sunrise. Can’t you see that Sir?

But it also means that sadly we tend to forget about our great good fortune the moment it occurs. I think that may be your problem Sir.  You may be suffering with a poor short term memory.

James you are one smart dog.

And with that the two headed back down Hillside Avenue with the man doing his best to notice the sounds of birds and the breeze whistling through the leaves,  how blue the sky was and how nice and fresh  the air  smelt. He patted his faithful dog on the head and for the first time in weeks had a little smile on his face. And James was happy as well for his only wish was for his master to find some joy in life, right here in Williston Park.


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