Friday, May 25, 2012


Wilbur arrived one spring day when Ben was about eighteen months old. An eccentric aunt had put him in a big cardboard box and used up a big chunk of her meager means to mail him to her first grandnephew.  Ben fell in love with him immediately. He drank his bottle leaning up against Wilbur; he sat in Wilbur's lap and read books to himself.  He chose to be Wilbur for Halloween the following year.  Since Wilbur was so big, he didn't often go places with us physically, but he was always with us in spirit.  When we grocery-shopped, Ben would call out, "Ra-a-a-w fish.  Wilbur wants ra-a-a-w fish" when we passed the seafood section.  When we were visiting Grandma and Grandpa in Pennsylvania, and it started to storm, Ben would frown and say, "Wilbur hates thunderstorms." Wilbur quickly became more than a favorite stuffed animal, he was one of the family.  So when most of the other stuffed animals got packed up and moved to the attic when Ben got older, Wilbur stayed happily in the corner of the room.  He tried to sneak along when Ben was packing for college but didn't make the cut.  Instead he waited patiently for Ben to return.  Ben's first apartment after graduation was very small, and there was no room for a big polar bear in Ben's tiny bedroom, so Wilbur stayed behind again.  But this week, Ben moved to a new place, a place of his own, a place with plenty of room for old friends. And once again, Wilbur is sitting happily in the corner of Ben's room.

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