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Muriel

September 11, 2012

For some reason, out on our deck smoking a pipe, I suddenly thought of my mother’s middle name.

Don’t know why, just popped into my mind as I watched exhaled smoke drifting away.  Not what it was, but that she had one and how she felt about it.

She didn’t like it, was ashamed of it.  It was never mentioned in the house, but, just right then, I couldn’t remember it. I stared into space, as best I could without glasses and near sighted.  Might be more accurate to say I stared into the blur, for a moment, then gave up and, a few beats later, it popped into my mind.

So often, these days, this is how my memory works.  I first draw a blank and as long as I struggle with it, it stays away hopping madly just beyond the edge of my thoughts.  When I quit worrying about it, it comes along.  Old things in my old head seem to stagger out, leaning on a cane, toward my conscious thought, then lag behind, put off by the hubbub of my thinking.  Shy things, these.  Once the furor dies down they come on out and stand around wondering what all the fuss was about.

It was Muriel, my mother’s middle name.  Certainly not a bad name, but you know how people are and mother never was satisfied with it.  Oh well.

The name was there in my battered brain all along.  It had just developed bad knees.

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