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Tom Robbins Day a blast: Insulting him was wrong

A citizen's view

One of the joys in my year of health challenges was the fun and exciting opportunity to honor “our own” Tom Robbins on Sept. 2. It was a real blast! Tom enjoyed it, he and Alexa rocked it, the library’s programs benefited and everyone entered into the sweet, happy, excellent spirit of the day. Some of us came from far away to celebrate the occasion and we celebrated with all our hearts.

That’s why, when I read your recent Musing about the day, I was aghast at the last unfunny paragraph suggesting pushing a mummy of Tom through the streets of town in a wheelchair, making it a yearly event. Unholy crap.

What a stupid, unnecessary, really disconnected thing to write, especially after the happy success of a truly welcome “quirky” La Conner event, something that lifted hearts, reunited friends, made us laugh and healed us on many levels in these unsettled times. I, for one, had a ball. I made giant thumbs for the occasion and lifted them with pride in the procession. I even hitched a ride in a classic truck. Sissy Hankshaw lives! (I noticed there are a lot of us too.)

Aside from the fact that Tom remains an internationally recognized author with books and characters that live on, this parade for him was a gift to the whole town and nobody expects it to be yearly. What made it special is that it was a once-in-a-lifetime occasion – unforgettable, historical – and we were there!

Aging, as we know, is not for sissies and Tom is doing it well with his beautiful wife Alexa at his side. Being human means nobody gets out alive, so, as the late Jimmy Buffet said in song, “If we couldn’t laugh, we would all go insane.” Having a sense of humor is essential, so your attempts at humor ought to be funny, not insulting, Mr. Editor. You owe us an apology for your sad, recently published attempt at it: Not funny – just wrong.

Thank you, dear Tom, dear Alexa, dear organizing crew and dear dear Town of La Conner for a wonderful chance to honor great writing, memorable characters and our ongoing appreciation of the arts with this beautiful reason to get creative and show gratitude for each other, wherever our lives have taken us - a parade and a day of honor for Tom. This fine time brought us back together with happiness, hope, hugs and real healing power. Another Wow!

We share lessons in life and laughter at every turn. The best humor is based in love and thoughtful attention to the human condition. Tom has given us that for decades. May we continue to laugh together and shed some welcome tears, too, until the next Big Adventure, remembering how healing expressions of love and joy have always proved to be, as we celebrate our humanity with a hearty dose of plain old gladness. I have the pictures to prove it!

Go Tom! Go Alexa! Go La Conner! And thanks again for all the fun. I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.

Holly Gwinn Graham, singer, artist, happy traveler, lived on Pull and Be Damned Road for 13 years until moving to Olympia in 1990 to earn a graduate degree in teaching at The Evergreen State College.


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