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October 2016, vol 12 no 3

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Guy Simser

A Monarch

It was a young lad’s experiment and didn’t seem like much at the time: a big Monarch on our damp front porch, a sealer jar quickly snuck from mom’s pantry and sulphur matches lifted from daddy’s tobacco kit.

First, you scoop up the Monarch, then snap the jar shut. Scratch the matches and open the jar to drop them in. Snap it shut again. Then, holding the jar close up, you are transfixed by the quiver of oxygen deprivation.

Today, on a screened porch under palliative care, dad, who still recalls Gerhig’s farewell speech, struggles for air while I fondly offer him family musings, but for that porch day with my Monarch under glass.

From the unlocked box
Meershaum pipe scent
warming a boy’s hand


Lou Gehrig was the New York Yankees' first baseman from 1923 to 1939, playing in a then-record 2,330 consecutive games. He had a lifetime average of .340 and won the Triple Crown in 1934. He gave a farewell speech on July 4, 1939 at Yankee Stadium on Lou Gehrig Day that is considered the most famous speech in baseball history. It came just after he was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), now known as Lou Gehrig's Disease.