I haven’t posted on this blog for a few months and today I got an email from an old friend who suggested I keep at it, so this post is about my oldest friend Larry pratt who died during Covid, although it wasn’t the pandemic that got him, it was just an accumulation of bad luck and bad health.
I went to a memorial service for Larry up at a small cemetery in the Berkshires and a few of us spoke about our remembrances of Larry.
More than anything else we all remembered his humor and not the kind of humor that creates big hearty laughter but the humor that tells a story, subtle and thoughtful. Larry had been the editor of the Yale humor magazine.
Larry and his wife Abby had a big black lab which he named Prerinse because after every meal Larry would put the plates on the floor and Prerinse would do the necessary.
The story I told was about when I asked him whether he had a log splitter, he said “The only thing better than having a log splitter, is having a neighbor who has one.”
Larry was smart as a whip and never missed a beat. He spent his summers on Squirrel Island in Maine one of the most beautiful places on Earth. When we got off the boat on our last visit, he always greeted me the same way. He said “Rinehart” and I repeated “Rinehart”
back to him.
I looked up the term and found the following from Wikipedia
It is now considered established that the original target of the call was James Bryce Gordon Rinehart (Harvard 1900). A contemporary piece in the Harvard Crimson adds details:
Rinehart, who is an earnest student, has been in great demand as a tutor to other men in his courses. As he lives at the top of Grays hall his friends have sought to find out whether he was in or not by directing plaintive cries of “Rinehart, O Rinehart” at his windows. This made the studiously inclined who swell in the neighboring dormitories very tired and they determined to quell Rinehart, so promptly at dark for the past three nights the college yard has resounded with the cries of “Rinehart, O Rinehart.” First one end of the yard and then other would send up the plaintive cry, and then all the buildings would swell as if in chorus with the same old plaint. Last night the college police tried to stop the racket, but the boys by a little teamwork kept them running from one dormitory to the other. One man with a megaphone was particularly offensive, but despite the police vigil of three hours the megaphonist was still summoning Rinehart in tearful tones.
Larry, how I miss you but I’ll still cry “O Rinehart”