In this age of facebook, Pokemon, and Big Brother,
with or without House,
I am one of the probably few remaining friends of the great Elwood P Dowd.
(Others please drop a note. We are a vanishing breed)
For those of you who don’t know who that is,
Elwood P is the hero of the 1945 Pulitzer Prize winning play Harvey,
by Mary Chase,
a hard-working Irish-American journalist from Boulder, Colorado.
(Important for the theme)
And also the sixth longest running play ever to be presented on Broadway.
It was filmed in 1950,
starring the great Jimmy Stewart as a decent, kind, reasonable man,
of whom today one might say he understands the world
and just plain doesn’t want to live there.
His house is shared by a social climbing sister and her daughter,
among others, he flees…
to a world of kind, decent, and most of all tolerant,
people of all walks of life he meets in his local tav.
Where he takes his, there totally accepted, friend Harvey.
(Or Puka, or pooka)
In other words,
a six foot three and a half
giant invisible rabbit.
I think I always liked that part best.
the perfection of the description.
And the fact that, being raised near St Louis,
Land of the Veiled Prophet and his court,
complete with huge parade,
and to an Irish-American family,
complete with “way back then, in the old country, in the days of Brian Boru…”
you are born with all of the extras:
fairies, goblins, pookahs, the little people,
not moving house without making a bottle of Irish whiskey and milk for the fairies who will accompany you.
And somehow, even though I know it is family nonsense,
it is my family nonsense,
and makes me feel part of the long tradition,
and of something actually very important in all this.
Non-violence is good.
Be silly instead.
Creativity is good.
Use it for good.
Life is good.
And if you tell the truth,
and be true to your standards,
those who watch over you will always be there.
Which is why I love Elwood P so much.
And his buddy Harvey.
His social climbing sister can’t give the kind of dinner parties she wants,
to make herself important,
so she tries to have Elwood committed.
Exluded from the family unit,
so she can take over his house.
And wants to have him given chemicals that will stop his creative visits with his friends.
And ends up finally learning what friends like Elwood and Harvey really are.
And are worth.
And what family is.
Or should be.
Personally, I think, in this age of sell, sell, sell,
and that reality is sickness and injury and death,
and friends are the people who once went to school with you,
and now insist on fighting with you on the internet,
everyone should be given a copy of Harvey at birth.
And every time a major event in the family occurs,
graduation from kindergarten, for example,
the family should sit down together,
and laugh, and discuss Harvey.
And tell those bizarre jokes about peanuts,
or shaggy dogs,
and throw butterless popcorn at one another,
and laugh til you roll on the floor.
And sing together.
The silly songs you normally don’t learn till you become a scout.
Or join a glee club.
And then you talk about the important things.
And fears that don’t have to be.
And that one way or another you will always be together.
And sing the circle remains unbroken.
And if you think of every new ending,
and every new beginning,
and the seven ages of man,
according to our William S,
is there anyone out there
who doesn’t need to watch Harvey
at least seven times in his life?
copyright Dunnasead.co 2016