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Dear Harriet,

It is comforting to know that in homes and cottages, workplaces and Internet cafés and yes, institutions too, across this continent and beyond, people like me are wrapping ourselves in your yarns, savoring your words.  We are the crowd that you ran with, Harriet, the crowd that responds to your call, relishes your gifts and tellings. 

Of course we grieve, even as we hear your chidings not to.  You have spelled out the truth of our lives with pulse-quickening precision, settled arguments we have with ourselves and others with an elegance that is firm and warm as a good handshake.  And you have left us hungry for more. 

But you have also brought us — and left us — together.  We are together in that “thrilling variety” you spoke of with such ardour and connection.  Here and now we affirm all that we share — particular decrepitudes, particular politics, particular humour and a particular love for a freedom-fighting luminary we are all proud to claim in some way as friend.

I have marked June 4 in my calendar as Dear Harriet day. You won’t approve the moniker, but I reckon we can agree on the framing — a day committed, in your words, to “a drive for a world that will embrace both the fit and the unfit and hold them so dear that the categories die”. 

My world needs such a marker more than it needs an annual telethon.

Farewell, and thank you, my friend.

Catherine

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