Annette and I have been in St. Thomas visiting friends the last two weeks and reliving the good times we shared just a couple years ago as full-time residents.

The emotional re-entry into one’s past life has been remarkable, but best left for another blog or perhaps another many blogs when I have more time.  You see, we’re going sailing today (our last full day here) and the wind will not wait.

hip 2I do, though, want to leave you with a bit of fun that burst into a dinner party this weekend when our dear friend, Jane, announced that she “had a hippopotamus.” She left the room to get it, and I half expected her to lead the beast in on a leather leash. Instead, of course, her hippopotamus was an exquisite rosewood carving of African origin.

Hip 1After we passed around the adorable creature, I launched into a little poem I’d memorized decades ago and haven’t had such a perfect moment to recite than this evening.


I Had A Hippopotamus


I had a hippopotamus; I kept him in a shed.

I fed him upon vitamins and vegetable bread.

I made him my companion on many a cheerful walks,

And had his portrait done by a celebrity in chalks.


And if he should be afflicted by depression or the dumps,

By the hippopotamus measles or the hippopotamus mumps,

I never knew a particle of peace ‘til it was plain

That he was hipopotamasticating properly again.


I had a hippopotamus I loved him as a friend

But beautiful relationships are bound to have an end.

Time takes at last our joys from us and robs us of our blisses.

My hippopotamus turned out to be a hipopotamisses.


My housekeeper regarded her with jaundice in her eye.

She didn’t want a colony of hippopotami.

So she borrowed a machine gun from her soldier nephew Percy,

And showed my hippopotamus no hipopotamercy.

–Patrick Barrinbton


5 Responses to I Had A Hippopotamus

  1. sally Hills says:

    I too memorised this is a 10 year old and in a recent school assembly nearly 40 years on, our Head started the poem off….I happily finished it to the amazement of all the students in the room! Happy Days.

  2. Stephanie says:

    I HAVE a hippopotamus. We call him Rufus.

  3. Jane says:

    How you rattled that off after so many years and so much wine is amazing, at any age, or a fine example of ‘long-term memory.’
    Miss you already.

  4. charlotte says:

    That was truly a “laugh out loud” moment! Adorable!
    Hope you had a nice said and great last day in St Thomas.
    So great to see you and Annette.

  5. Mark says:

    Its Hippo to be square?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.