I recently re-read Stuart Little, having forgotten most of it. When Stuart becomes a substitute teacher for a couple hours–the only way to do that job–he asks his class, “‘How many of you know what’s important?'”

One student had the answer–or almost all of it: “‘A shaft of sunlight at the end of a dark afternoon, a note in music, and the way the back of a baby’s neck smells if its mother keeps it tidy,’ answered Henry.

‘Correct,’ said Stuart. ‘Those are the important things. You forgot one thing, though. Mary Bendix, what did Henry Rackmeyer forget?’

‘He forgot ice cream with chocolate sauce on it,’ said Mary quickly.

‘Exactly,’ said Stuart. ‘Ice cream is important.'”

It takes a genius like E.B. White to say just so what the rest of us were not quite thinking.

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