We find ourselves once again inside my 2007 home. I watch as I hang up the phone before leaving with passengers in tow,  heading back to my time traveler, Electra, who is still parked out back. As always, she anticipates leaving for parts unknown, unknown to her but not to me.

Head bent, I contemplate Dr. Michelle’s directive … quick, write a children’s story with animals … then use those animals as substitutes for the Disney characters in your storybook about Dave.

I puzzle over what kind of animal would be suitable to replace Eeyore, the sad donkey who had lost his tail in Winnie-The-Pooh. And what about the other Pooh characters in my story? She wants me to write a book using literary characters of my own to replace the Disney ones. I’m hoping Electra might give me some ideas.

ME: Well, we’re finally back. Had quite a call from Dr. Michelle. She said I couldn’t use Disney characters in my presentation, which, in addition to other cognitive-communication programs I plan on presenting, also includes ‘Dave’s Tale,’ the book I wrote for my Grandson, Joey. Said it would be a copyright violation and suggested creating my own story with characters to substitute for Disney’s.

ELECTRA: How are you going to write a book that quickly? That’s a tall order, with the conference only four months away! Can you write a book that fast?

ME: I don’t know! Geeze, I wonder if Walt had to get permission from the author of Winnie-The-Pooh to ‘Disnifey’ his story. By the way, I’m curious, who was the author? Can you find out?”

ELECTRA: On it! Here ya go … well, sort of; the information is very long and complicated, spanning over 30 years. Winnie-The-Pooh, published in 1926, was written by British author and playwright A.A. Milne. When Milne died in 1956 at age 74, he willed the stories to four beneficiaries. However, his widow sold her rights to Stephen Slesinger, and at some point after Slesinger’s death, his widow sold those rights to the Walt Disney Company. Sooo, now think about this … there are still three beneficiaries who retain some ‘piece of the action,’ so to speak!

ME: You mean to tell me that in addition to Disney having certain rights to the story, three others are still involved?

ELECTRA: You betcha, and it gets even stickier since the ownership includes more than just the stories.

ME: Wadya mean… more? What else?

ELECTRA: What else, you ask? Have you forgotten about the illustrations? That’s what else? Milne did not draw them. The illustrator was E.H. Shepard, famed for his 1908 Wind In The Willows illustrations. It was Shepard who gave life to Miline’s stories.

ME: Ummm, that certainly does make the copyright issue very complicated!

ELECTRA: And it’s even more elaborate. Here’s what else I discovered from my other engine, ya know, Google, the search engine …
The UK copyright on the text of the original “Winnie-the-Pooh” books expires on January 1, 2027, at the beginning of the year after the 70th anniversary of the author’s death. The illustrations in the “Pooh” books remain under copyright until the same amount of time has passed after the illustrator’s death which is on January 1, 2047. And that’s British copyright law. It’s different in the United States. In the US, copyright will not expire until 95 years after publication for each of Milne’s books first published before 1978.

And, now get this, it includes the illustrations.

ME: No wonder ASHA is so strict about compliance with copyright laws. Guess that leaves me no choice. I need to write a book, but I need time to think about the how!

Leaving Electra with our passengers buckled into their seats, I hurry down Electra’s air-stairs and walk swiftly to the “Discovery Meadow Path” next to my development. A slight breeze carries the scent of wildflowers, perfuming the warm air. I slow down and begin strolling along the ground, compressed from years of repeated mowing, making for an easy walk, wide enough to separate us humans from the tall grasses, buzzing bees, birds, and insects.

The summer scents and sounds are a pleasant background, adding to the enchantment of this magical place. But, as always,  it’s the clouds that become my focus. Looking up, I study them, their shapes, and what they remind me of. There, off to the East, looks just like an Elephant, and next to it, a wondrous mountain. But as I walk, with the wind gently morphing the clouds from one shape to another, I note the elephant has lost its trunk, and its front is now its rear and vice versa. To me, that elephant in the sky now looks like a skunk, with its previous long trunk now a long tail. It was then that I knew … a moment so obvious. The moment of discovery and I shouted out …