He was a British professor of business and a closet poet. She was a Washingtonian with a penchant for taking pictures of sheep. They met when whe took his course at Oxford, fell in love, married and begot Bertie Ramsbottom, a life-sized stuffed sheep with a talent for political satire in verse.
What we have here is a fun-loving couple, Ariana and Ralph Windle, who one day decided to match her pictures of sheep with his sonnets about current events. They performed a slide-and-rhyme show for friends. It was a hit, so the Windles bought a stuffed sheep at F.A.O. Schwarz, named it Bertie Ramsbottom, and began passing the Steif animal off as a political commentator.
During the last election, Ramsbottom, through his master's voice, made guest appearances on National Public Radio and at the National Press Club. Recently, Ramsbottom has had a few thoughts on the new administration. Some excerpts: Don't waste a tear on Robin Orr, For that's what P.R.O.s are for -- Protecting us from what we said, And offering themselves instead. We must have people with the wits To guarantee the image fits! Now, surely they could understand The foremost Lady of the Land Would want the Carters out of town -- Simply to drag the curtains down, And get a little cleaning done, Before the January fun?
Or, consider "The Love Song of Mr. Justin Dart:" We got ourselves a president for Christmas, Me and the Fellers down in old L.A., And for wealthy little boys, it's the ultimate in toys, And beats a tie-pin any day!
"Bertie reads all the papers," say Ariana. "In fact, we feed him; a steady diet of news. By the end of the day his pen is knee-deep in newspapers."
The Windles are discussing with an agent a syndicated newspaper column or radio spot for the prolific Bertie. Call it "From the Sheep's Pen" or "Sheep Shots at Politics," suggests Ariana, who confides that Bertie has always wanted to be a foreign correspondnet for The Wool Street Journal or The Ewe York Times.