We’ve always called him Uncle Will. And we always make much ado about his birthday.
We toasted his memory–and his gift to us all–with gallons of hot tea and a Queen’s Cake laced with rosewater. In recitations and tokens and songs. But it was our five year-old Juliet that stole the show and carried the day.
She stood before us in a too-long gown of her sisters’, tiny braids sticking out of either side of her head, and grinned.
“Good night! Good night!” she chirped, like one of Titania’s fairie fleet, “pawting is such–,” faltering with a flicker of dismay. But it was overcome in a moment. “Pawting is such good–,” then she halted altogether at the mouthed exhortations of her mother and sisters.
“What?” she demanded, wrinkling up her little nose.
“Sweet–sweet sorrow,” supplied her oldest sister in a stage whisper.
“SWEET sowwow,” our Juliet resumed. Then with a deep, dismissive sigh, as if returning to her character in disdain of all distractions, she fluffed out her skirt and went on. “That I shall say good night till it be mowwow!”
We all clapped politely and she bowed with a pretty grace. But in my mind I pictured the great Bard himself watching the scene, slapping his knee and howling with laughter over the great good joke of the thing.
Happy Birthday, Uncle Will. Here’s rosemary–that’s for remembrance…