April 19, 2008

To Obit or Not Obit

The best costume of all. Duck, 2007.

Duck: Writing his obit after all.

A one line notice was place in Daily Union which serves Whitewater. G and I didn’t think that would do locally. We will see if we can put something in the local paper for Sunday.

Me: Did nothing all day.

G: Dazed all day at work. He said his two hour, after picking me up sleep felt like a fuzzy, groggy, bad nap not sleep. Computer stuff.

Work: Padre’s 2008 Schedule.
Game Weather schedule.
The Telophase Society notified Duck’s old home town Newspaper the Daily Union which serves Whitewater. I do believe he considered San Diego home. Many of his friends were here.

His cousin phoned. Yes, she told us, he has a marker with his name and birthdate on it. “We will do the five hour drive to Whitewater as soon as we can. The cemetery says there won’t be any trouble adding Duck to the family plot or putting the date on his stone.” She didn’t pause at all, “His dog is buried there too.”


“Yes, next to his mother,” the cousin told us. She said that he commented while burying the dog, “Mother would be so angry about this.”

All I could do was sit with the phone to my ear and my mouth open. Then again, Duck did things like this.

How did Duck become Duck? He used his stutter like a flag, that’s how. Once while speaking second at a large meeting, he followed a man named Dick to the podium.

“Hi, I’m Duck,” he told the gathering. “Whoops, Dick,” he continued, but with that one stutter, he became Duck for life.

So last night, I began writing Duck’s obit for our newspaper. I said all the usual things and emphasized all the usual suspects. It was $7.50 for a thirty space line, they told us. The first try was well over two hundred dollars. That wouldn’t do. Perhaps all his area friends didn’t need to know every single detail.

Slowly all the tricks I learned in the newspaper business came back to me. Certainly I needed to hack and slash words, but there were two sentences I wouldn’t delete.

“Richard Ebbott Caird. Born January 30, 1926 Whitewater Wisconsin and died April 8, 2008 San Diego California.”

To most people, that’s the most important. I did reduce Wisconsin to WI….look at all the characters I saved there. Ditto California to CA. The other sentence I defended to the last is “Friend of Bill W.” He was the founder of AA. Duck was very proud of his sobriety.

My second try was over a hundred and fifty dollars. We didn’t need prepositions. Nope. “He ran the family business, Caird Granite until his mother’s death” was reduced to “Ran family business.” Boy, that’s running rough shod over family history.

Eventually, with G peering over my shoulder like an over-tired hawk, I reduced a life that influenced many to a mere hundred dollars. Perhaps less if I can hack more spaces out of a life well lived.

“Ran family business, did interior decorating, retired to Mexico. Moved San Diego in 70’s. Enjoyed friends, travel, museums, symphony, theaters, cross stitch. Friend Of BillW. Lived Point Loma, and Downtown at Silvercrest. Interred Hillside Cemetery, Whitewater WI. with parents and brother.”

Nope, no survivors, no children, no family, but every Friend Of Bill W is family here.


  1. Hello. This post is likeable, and your blog is very interesting, congratulations :-). I will add in my blogroll =). If possible gives a last there on my blog, it is about the Smartphone, I hope you enjoy. The address is http://smartphone-brasil.blogspot.com. A hug.

  2. Very funny picture. I always wondered where he got the nick name Duck! I am glad his dog will be buried there with him. I know that sounds silly, but I would like that too.

  3. Yeah! I was wondering where the "Duck" came from, too. (And I think it's a shame obits cost so damn much money. If I were the queen . . . )


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Peter in front of a wall sculpture. We were invited up to Peter Knego’s home to see the latest installation.   Abstract flat ...