Green Eggs and Ham

2 March 2009

Dr Seuss’ 105th Birthday

Yes, I really did fix myself green eggs and ham for dinner.  Or is it breakfast?  It was a one a.m. snack.  Not sure what to call it, but it tasted just fine.  Why? . . . Why not?

I clearly remember my beloved childhood copies of Green Eggs and Ham and One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish; they were read over and over and over again as I learned to read, and then again four years later, with my little brother.  I was never much of a Cat in the Hat fan —I never had any patience for those ill-behaved children—but, of course How the Grinch Stole Christmas was a regular part of every December.  I don’t remember owning any of the other books as a kid, but a little later in my childhood an animated Seuss story captured my imagination and my heart.   The Lorax remains my favourite to this day.  When first published in 1971, it was ground-breaking in its perspective on saving the environment.  We were hot off the heels of the very first Earth Day, and we hadn’t yet experienced that nasty energy crisis of ’73.  This wonderful story of greed vs. environment was poignant then—and moreso, now.  I actually credit the Lorax greatly with helping to make me the environmentally-conscious person I became.

In my twenties, as we lived through the Cold War and the Reagan era and I marched in peace rallies and anti-nuclear arms race demonstrations, I was thrilled to learn that Dr. Seuss had once again put pen to paper in line with my personal politics.  The Butter Battle Book, 1984, is a brilliant look at what can happen when we as humans allow our competitive nature to govern our decision-making.  It was a masterpiece and really spoke to me and to the times in which I was living, and subsequently inspired me to develop a Dr. Seuss book collection as an adult!  Apparently Ralph Bakshi did an animated film adaptation of  in 1986, but I have never seen it.  Anybody out there have a copy I can borrow?

While I was out this morning, I drove down a road in Fort Worth upon which I had never before travelled.  It was a lovely drive through the Handley area of East Fort Worth.  There were charming homes, both old and new, many of the lots were large, and some were even zoned as farmland and sported horses and goats.  At one point,  I glanced out the window to my left, and blurted out, “It’s a truffula tree!”  I know that my friend Stephen thought I was nuts, but I swear . . . it was some sort of very tall evergreen tree, with a tuft of “fluff” or leaves or needles, in a spherical formation at the very top.   It was not pink or purple, but to me it was most definitely a truffula tree!  Interestingly, it was after I returned home, that I got online, and discovered the news story and the Google Home page redesign for the day, that informed me this was Dr. Seuss’ birthday!  I feel almost like he spoke to me today!

So, Happy Birthday, Theodor Giesel.  I hope there are plenty of truffula trees wherever you are.