London gives us an example of how to respond to the passing of a friend when it goes beyond mourning a death to offering gratitude for a life. In this instance, the friend is ours as well as Britain's -- not to mention the rest of the civilized world -- and we only wish we could have joined in what was announced as "a service of thanksgiving for the life of Joyce Grenfell" in Westminster Abbey.
Just to contemplate Miss Grenfell's life in theater, films, monologues, broadcasting, and the printed page is to enjoy again what she gave us -- "the essential, likeable good-humour of every word, every gesture and every intonation," as the Times of London put it when she passed on last fall.
In the Grenfellian range of comic characterizations, from matey perennial schoolgirl to lady of the American South, she managed to be no less toothsome than toothy. She was a living exception to what she once wrote about describing goodness: "It usually comes out smug, unadventurous and without humor or warmth."
All Miss Grenfell's achievement took [Word omitted from source] "training! technique! genius!" as she told interviewer in the past couple of years -- immediately disclaiming the words, of [word omitted from source] Just as she would disclaim what we are [word omitted from source] going to do anyway in the spirit of the [word omitted from source] minster Abbey thanksgiving service: change a pronoun in a line from [word omitted from source] Grenfell's poem on Winston Churchill in [word omitted from source] newspaper a quarter century ago: "We [word omitted from source] have shared her time are grateful."