April 10, 2008


The Morning Glory Pole: Duck’s grandfather had put up a tall pole in his yard and grew morning glories to cover it as a welcome for visitors. This is Duck’s needle point of a Morning Glory Pole. It had been at his apartment door, and was in his room at the nursing home for the last year. Size: 3x6.

Duck: We did “Duck Things” all day.

Me: We mixed me things in with the Duck things.

G: Took the day off, will be home early today, and is taking Friday off too.

Work: Padre’s 2008 Schedule.

Game Weather schedule.
It felt like an intrusion.

They had cleaned him and laid him out on his bed. As brand new social worker and I began packing his belongings, he laid on his bed yellow tinged with a towel under his chin in the darkened room. I talked to him as we worked. Perhaps I felt less uncomfortable this way. I opened the curtains. I let some air in.

Slowly, G carried things out to the car. Everything came home and into the garage via two trips in the car as the truck was filled by the heavy bed we are taking north for our daughter and granddaughter. As we bagged and moved the last of one life, I was acutely aware that life keeps moving on into the future.

We didn’t sleep well that night. When someone broke into the liquor store across the street with a massive crashing of plate glass and the wheenga- wheenga-wheenga of an alarm we woke and started thinking. When the store owners showed up to pound nails in boards to cover the open windows, we both kept on thinking of Duck.

Dear G, this dear man who came to dinner and ended up adopting fourteen grandkids, two alcoholic kids, and friends like Duck, started his day by going to our bank for Duck’s papers. Next it was to Duck’s bank where they advised us to keep his account open just “in case.”

We stopped by the home to remind them that there should be several hundred of his money in their accounts, and we made time between the bank and Telophase Society to squeeze in needed bits for the living too. To my eye doctor’s next as my frames had broken the afternoon before. After a big fuss with me waving my hands and they saying that my lenses couldn’t go in other frames and my following with words like “death” and “funeral,” they found frames for me. To one drug store for meds; to another store for another med.

Duck had paid for his cremation after a failed suicide attempt in the early eighties. For the next thirty-five years, Duck gave back to the world. He stayed sober, he helped other’s get and stay sober, and he was a shining example of how to grow old with grace.

Yesterday we were able to send him on his way home to Whitewater. We found the deed to his cemetery plot. We paid his way to his cousin who will inter him with his mother, father, and brother. There are so many thing to be done for the living, yet right now everything comes back to Duck. Everything I do for Duck still feels as if I am intruding on a secret and hidden life, but someone has to do these last things. I am glad the two of us are here to help.


  1. I'm glad I am not the only one bawling here. You write so poignantly about this treasured friend. He might have give so much to you and other people, and so in keeping, George and you carry on in his tradition. What a beautiful thought that is.

  2. Dear Mage and George,

    I am so sorry to read about Duck's passing.

    I know you will miss him and we will miss hearing about him.

    I still think he was the luckiest guy in the World to have you two on his side.

    Take good care of yourselves now.


What a delight to get a note from you. Thanks for leaving one.


George coming down Peter’s hall that’s lined with wood and artifacts from wonderful ocean liners of the past .             We ...