A Pig and a Horse and a Prince

jerome15While looking at land for sale in central Rensselaer County this past weekend, Marcia and I saw an amorous pig vigorously making love to the rear leg of a bored-looking draft horse.

“Mauve,” said the horse, as we passed. “I think I will paint the barn mauve.”

But that’s not really what I wanted to write about today. What I really wanted to write about is what we might build if we did indeed buy some land out there beyond Passionate Pig Pastures.

Were it up to me and me alone, I would build a stone tower. I would be very happy to sit in my tower dropping rocks on unsuspecting passersby and generally making a community nuisance of myself.

It would look something like the picture at left, with me on top. This has been an image that I’ve carried deeply and resonantly since early childhood. I got it from a book called Jerome, by Philip Ressner.

Jerome is a prince who does princely deeds. You can see him standing at the base of the tower, if you look closely. He would be the frog.

The character at the top of the tower is a wizard. I think I liked him as a child because he had “yellow eyes and mean ears.” My eyes are actually green, but the ears fit, and I wear them. Meanly.

I sincerely, without a shred of hyperbole, believe this to be the greatest children’s picture story book ever written. Or drawn. The lessons it taught me about problem-solving and self-identity and sly humor and the joys of childhood are very central to my adult philosophies and worldview.

If you’d like to read and see and marvel at the rest of Jerome, you can find a complete scan of it over at the bottom of this page (Note: link broken, alas! So you need to go find a hard copy of the book at Ebay or Amazon. They are out there) along with another appreciative remembrance of it. The colors, language, and overall design are incredibly delicious, and I smile every time I look at it.

We actually found a potentially viable 13-acre lot with a great creek running through it after we passed by Horny Ham Acres, so if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to get to work looking for some tower designs. Watch your head.

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