I met Henry when I was ten or eleven.  He was sort of big, at least to a ten year old, and soft around the middle.  He was also more colorful than George Clinton.  He was the first thing I ever bought on my own, paid for with allowance money that I probably didn’t actually work as hard at my chores for as I should have.

Henry stayed with me well past the time one grows out of a stuffed animal phase, and being a huge tie dye triceratops, perfect for hugging, how was I supposed to get rid of him?

Henry saw my best friend Rebekah and I through breakups and bad days. He was perfect for leaning against whilst reading. He was worn with use and love.

I had been going through all my things, weeding out excess, when I came across Henry, patiently waiting in the garage for me. (The garage being safer than close proximity to a four year old and a two year old that don’t understand that Henry is an old foagie that needs his rest, lest he crumble to ash.) He had acquired some rips and tears over the years, some of which were a little hard to repair. His eyes and nose were some thin silky material that was hard to sew, and harder still to keep the new stitches from pulling at the whole fabric and making a bigger hole in the rest of the eye. Or nose. Or both. The rest of him was easier to fix, but his material was wearing thin.

I decided to say goodbye to Henry. He was just hanging out in the garage, and I didn’t want to lug him all over the world, leaving stuffing and memories all over the place.

I made the wrong decision.

Now it is Fall, and if I ever needed Henry, now is the time.

When I told Rebekah about my mistake, and how bummed I was about it, she said, “WHAT?! Henry was the only man that ever loved me unconditionally!” And she was absolutely right. He was there from age 10 till darn near 30, and I should have kept him around. I thought maybe it wouldn’t be a big deal at the time, it’s the idea of The Thing rather than the actual thing; it is the memories that are associated with it, and he was sort of falling apart anyway, but I think I would have liked to keep him around a little bit longer.

So here’s to Henry, who knew that when someone is hurting, sometimes they just need the gift of silence and a shoulder to cry on.

To Henry, who was one heck of a dancer, and really dug Fresh Prince.  There is a riff in “Nightmare On My Street” that he was particularly good at.

To Henry, who made a really screwed up noise when you squished his tummy, but I dug him anyway.

To Henry, the only man who ever loved us unconditionally.


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