Valedictory

Sorry to interrupt, but I must be going. The ides of March have come; this, by painful count, is Communication No. 162 from Eutychus, and it’s time for a change. My inclination is to loiter a bit, hat and doorknob in hand, but the Eutychus image seems to call for a more abrupt departure, by another exit.

I need only insist, in tribute to the astonishing patience of the editor and my kin, that I wasn’t pushed.

My successor, Eutychus II, will make the windowsill fully pseudonymous once more, which is a Good Thing. You will understand the attractiveness of a pseudonym to a man called Clowney. Now that I must relinquish it, perhaps I should have my name legally changed.… Why not Edmund P. Kennedy?

Should I leave a note pinned to the windowsill for the next occupant? He won’t need my two embroidered pillows: “Well begun is half done” and “All’s well that ends well.” He doubtless knows already that only the middle of a column can be expected to write itself.

I could enclose a list of choice targets for his “lover’s quarrel with the church” (the phrase is Robert Frost’s epitaph rendered in Ecclesian). But, then, he will have his own way of dealing with Mrs. Fixture in the Sunday school or Dr. Eugene Ivy in the manse. The ambitious pseudo-surveys conducted by Eutychus Associates are his at the stroke of a pen.

A note won’t be necessary. A greeting card will do: a card to encourage Eutychus II to keep his balance, for Eutychus’ windowsill seems narrow at times. Between profane mockery and pretentious sobriety, there is a whole new world, but somehow we have difficulty finding even sitting-room.

My greeting to Eutychus is one that I know he will understand. It is the sign of the laughter of grace. It forms the coda for all service ...

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