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Contents Page: Oct 1, 2011, vol 7 no 3

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Francis W. Alexander

Grave Yard Memories

Here we stand amongst the grave stones, three generations of Irbys; two of us with tales to tell of the person the grave markers represent. My uncle O has just joined us as I show my cousin the grave stone of Robert the Rocket Lindsay, the blazing fast track star of the nineteen sixties whom I grew up with as a neighbor. "Many was the day when I saw him in the backyard practicing his moves over a sawhorse. At States, he would've set a state record as he gracefully flew over the hurdles with no one close to him," I said, then frowned, "but an official disqualified him for supposedly stepping out of his lane. He came back and won the two hundred yard dash."

We older men seek the shade in attempts to evade the sun's grasp. As we near my Aunt Ernestine's grave, Uncle O spots the grave of a legend here and a friend there. He shows me the grave of someone who boxed Golden Gloves with my father. "He was very good," he says. Then he asks me if I heard of John Mack. After I respond in the negative, he tells us that John Mack killed not one, but two people. So when they played basketball on the courts, whenever John Mack came by, anything demanded was his. John Mack never lost a basketball game. It amazed me that Uncle O, who over the years had impressed me as being afraid of no man, had his own fears.

"This is all we get," he says as he looks at Grandma Irby's grave, "for all of our life, a tiny plot for a lot of money."

I nod and then say, "But the memories are boundless."

humid afternoon
slurping warm water
out of the bottle


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