Thursday, May 1, 2014

Herbie The Talking Chipmunk

It was 1956 and 10 year old Richie was sitting on the steps of his back porch looking at his baseball cards. Just then a voice chirped up, "Do you think the Dodgers can win the pennant?"

Startled, Richie looked around and noticed siting next to him was a little chipmunk waiting for his reply. "Yes," answered Richie as he wondered if he was dreaming. "With Jackie Robinson and Duke Snider they have a very good chance."

"I agree," said the chipmunk. "And they have Pee Wee Reese, Roy Campanella and Don Newcombe. I think they will win the pennant but I don't think they can beat the Yankees in the World Series.

"By the way, my name is Herbie."

"How did you learn to speak," asked Richie. I don't know," said Herbie. "I've always had this ability."

Herbie and Richie kept talking and soon Herbie settled on Richie's left shoulder so he could come inside the home and meet Richie's parents. At first they too were startled but in a short while they were also talking with Herbie, and they set some peanuts in a small bowl so he could eat while they spoke.

As the weeks past, Herbie became a member of the family as they watched Herbie's favorite show "I Love Lucy" together on TV each week. And as a family they sang Herbie's favorite song, "Que Sera Sera."

Some of the neighbors also got to know Herbie and for the rest of Herbie's life he had more human friends than he had ever imagined.

The years have passed and Richie is now a senior citizen with grandchildren. But recently he heard from scientists from around the world who had read on the Internet the accounts of Herbie described in old letters and they were anxious to know more.

And as their numbers kept growing, and the news media also took an interest, Richie scheduled a meeting in an auditorium so they could ask their questions.

Most were skeptical that Herbie could ever have existed, "a Walt Disney fantasy," one critic said.

"Many of you are skeptical," Richie stated.

"You have read accounts from numerous people and yet even that doesn't satisfy you. It is seemingly impossible and yet all of you are here. That means deep within each of you, you believe it could be true.

"In the end it comes down to this: Look into your hearts and you will know, for all living beings are interconnected and life is often a matter of faith. The seemingly impossible sometimes turns out to be real, as it is in this case.

"And by the way, Herbie and I were right, the Dodgers did win the pennant that year and as Herbie predicted, they did lose to the Yankees in the World Series."

This piece was in part inspired by a real life story on the front page of today's Wall Street Journal, "England's Top Researchers Investigate Case of the Talking Mongoose"

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