as the self-appointed director of whimsy around here, a role i relish, really i do, i hereby declare today a day of national honor and import and food dye. it’s green-eggs-and-ham day, for cryin’ out loud. at least at our house, it is. and technically, kosherly, it’s green-eggs-and-turkey-bacon day, thank you. has been for quite a few years now.
but today the green eggs are greener than ever, and the ham it is hammier. for today the cat with the hat and the mischief tucked under his mitts, he turns 50. which means the ol’ wily fellow with the stripes on his stovepipe was born a mere 58 days after moi.
matter of fact we both came to the planet within a full moon or two. which means the two of us have seen just about the exact same show over the last half century. although i’ll bet he’s been in more bedrooms.
the cat with the hat is just the latest excuse to wake up my boys with a bang. there are, come to think of it, quite a few bangs in this cottage we call home sweet home. in fact, sometimes it downright rattles under these rafters. just ask the one who sneaks out for the early-morning train, ever scheming to wake up with no more tympany than the splash of the oj gurgling into his glass.
mind you, it’s all in the name of silly. and silly is not such a bad name. what with all that there is to worry about, to feel afraid for the world as you take in the news, a little silly is just the inoculation you might need to keep from going under.
especially when you are 13, and mindful, and you think very big thoughts much of the time.
you need a mama who’s nuts. and so, i offer myself, wholly, completely; exhibit a, in the she’s-nuts department.
i think i learned nuts from my aunt. my beloved, wonderful, kooky, aunt nancy. i wanted more than anything to wake up at her house every morning. to go to sleep hearing the sound of her house-rocking laugh.
aunt nancy, whom my papa called noo, she made, among other eccentricities, jell-o that jiggled 1,001 fruits, nuts, marshmallows, whipped cream, mayonnaise, even cole slaw, i swear in that jell-o. and cakes that oozed super goo. she penned love notes, too, that oozed the same goo, only not sticky.
every day at aunt nancy’s was reason for joy. every day was a new definition of what in the world could be done to make you laugh silly.
my own mama, her sister, tended toward serious (a quality i have come to hold dearly for her rock-solid stance in a wobbly world). at our house, jell-o came three ways and three ways only: straight, whipped, or laced with mandarin oranges.
although she did pull her pranks now and then, my mama she did. i remember one april fool’s pouring green milk on my o’s. my mama, she giggled. from back by the stove where she tried to keep a straight face.
so maybe this green gene comes as a birthright. maybe i got it from her.
all i know is that life is a wonderful thing when you’re little and someone much bigger than you gets all silly.
so the eggs will be scrambled in green. and the seuss books, scattered all over. the cat’s hat will be worn, will be tipping.
and we’ll all settle in for a reading of the little red house, with the blue swaying tree. the house where the sun did not shine, it was too wet to play. so they sat in the house all that cold, cold wet day. and then something went bump! how that bump made them jump! how the cat in the hat, he stepped in on the mat, and said to sally and friend (forever left unnamed except for the first-person, i): “i know it is wet and the sun is not sunny. but we can have lots of good fun that is funny!”
not a bad cat, that cat 50 years old. you might bake him a cake. you might break a few eggs. just make sure that they’re green. that cat likes green eggs with his ham.
hey look, it’s eggs that are scrambled and green! bet you’re glad you weren’t here for breakfast….