We said goodbye to Olaf today. Not just any Olaf but Olaf the snowman from the movie Frozen.
My seven-year old grandniece MacKenzie lived in a Frozen world. Princesses Elsa and Anna beckoned from her pillows. Olaf grinned goofily on her toothpaste tube. Reindeer Svens gambled across her socks.
The family was not surprised when MacKenzie painted Olaf’s head on her Halloween pumpkin. But it was after Halloween. My mother wanted the pumpkin gone. Olaf was not ageing well. As visiting aunt, I was tasked with gaining MacKenzie’s consent to dispose of Olaf.
When MacKenzie got home from school, I met her at the door. The plan was to toss the pumpkin over the side of the steep, forested embankment at one end of the yard. When you live in the countryside, you can do things like that and call it recycling.
‘MacKenzie, Grandma says we need to get rid of Olaf since he’s starting to melt in the living room.’ Ha! I know when to shift the blame, or, um, invoke a higher power. ‘Let’s have a going away ceremony for Olaf.’
‘But I love Olaf,’ said MacKenzie. ‘He’s my Frozen friend.’ She carefully picked up the somewhat squishy, smelly white pumpkin and held it away from her clothes.
‘Let’s walk to the side of the hill. We can think about how we want to say goodbye to Olaf,’ I said. Unfortunately, my mind was a gelid field of frost. Perhaps I should have started a little earlier to compose a dirge for the pumpkin head.
Hoping for inspiration, I glanced at MacKenzie. With her long, curly, red hair, tilted blue eyes, and pale skin, she looked like the type of child whose ears you should check each morning to see if they’d become pointed overnight. Ah, I made a sudden synaptic connection to the gravedigger scene in Hamlet in which the prince addressed the skull of his father’s jester Yorick. We paused at the edge of the hill.
‘Alas, poor Olaf! I knew him, MacKenzie; a snowman of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy’ which is all I remembered from the soliloquy. I made up some more pseudo Elizabethean babble about a snowman who joked and gibed and sang. How familiar could a seven-year old be with Shakespeare? Hopefully, the cadence and overblown rhetoric would persuade her to do the deed, like Lady Macbeth inciting her husband to dispose of Duncan.
‘MacKenzie, now it’s your turn to say farewell to Olaf.’ I held my breath.
She enthusiastically tossed the pumpkin. Olaf began his long, rollicking tumble down the steep hillside. MacKenzie giggled and sang those ubiquitous lines from the song in Frozen. ‘Let it go, Let it go.’