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Born in Pennsylvania,

he lived in Manhattan, and

somehow came to live in Belhaven

as a teenager.

He was the third husband

of my Memom.

Bald, sometimes drunk and

impatient with us,

he was also brilliant.

He taught me to play chess

when I was about 6.

He taught himself how to locksmith.

He took me places

I was too young to be,

but always left me in the car.

He had a bad temper,

especially when he drank,

but he was never violent.

He was sweet and funny, too.

He told me

years after he crossed,

that he’d always thought of me

as his granddaughter.

I was touched.

He was a good foil

for my volatile Memom.

I once spilled coke

on his reel to reel.

He found this vexing.

Bob was a Navy man.

When he became ill

with the lymphoma that would

later kill him,

he suffered

from the experimental treatments

he received at the Naval Hospital.

He said he’d have taken a gun

and shot himself

if he’d known what he’d go through.

His mother died rather young,

and his stepmother lived

in a big house on Main Street.

I always wanted to see the inside,

but he and the stepmother

weren’t friends.

He build a boat for my Memom,

and named it ‘Edna’ after her.

He could do anything.

He’d wear a pith helmet in the summer

to shield his bald head from the sun.

He was a Cancer,

thus he absorbed knowledge

and emotions.

I wish I knew him longer.

He donated his body to science.

He was a loyal, devoted member

of the Lions Club.

To entertain us,

he would pull his chest hair out

by the handful.

It always amazed and impressed us.

He loved their Pekingese, Ginger.

She was stolen at the beach,

and I rode with him to find her

in another town.

I cowered when he was yelling

at the thieves.

Once Ginger chewed his dentures.

He found that vexing.

He was mysterious, and exotic

in some ways.

I smile as I remember him.

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A Lady Named Ruby

2010/07/31

called me the ‘other wife’ today.

She was being kind,

and I took it thus.

Mother of my sons,

Giver of Life,

Ruby knew her first.

She knows a family,

who lost their youngest daughter,

and this family lost

their own lives as they’d known them.

I entered this family,

became an instant Mom,

to two precious boys,

the grandsons of Ruby’s neighbor.

I’m the other wife.

Manteo

2010/06/16

I went to the beach

and didn’t cross the road

to peer at the ocean.

I was relaxing on the Island,

instead.

A beautiful guesthouse in a

pine forest,

I hardly left during my stay.

Content to be surrounded by aquatic

sounds,

bunnies, birds and bugs.

Papyrus stalks from the plant on the front stoop

Elsie came with.