Wednesday, January 16, 2008


No, not that Hillary. You Republicans can stop dancing now.

I’m referring to Sir Edmund Hillary, the intrepid New Zealander who, with his trusty Sherpa guide Tenzing Norgay, was the first to reach the summit of Mount Everest. Sir Edmund passed away last week, succumbing to heart failure January 11 (New Zealand time) at the age of 88.

Hillary and Norgay
Hillary and Norgay, in an Associated Press photo from June, 1953.

Hillary and Norgay conquered Everest on May 29, 1953. Since then, over three thousand Adventurous People with Time and Money have followed in their footsteps, turning the mountain into a sort of high-rent circus sideshow cum mountain resort.

I can’t think about Sir Edmund without recalling this little poem by Gardner E. Lewis:

Poem, Neither Hilláryous Norgay

The Sherpa gasped out as they mounted the slope,
“Our troubles are only commencing!”
Said Sir Edmund, “You’re tired and nervous; relax -
You’ll nEverest if you’re Tensing.”

Farewell, Sir Edmund. May you spend a happy eternity climbing your Forever Mountain.

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