Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Peeling Potatoes

She was sitting on the sofa when I walked in just before supper. A newspaper in her lap was piled with peelings. She was deftly guiding the paring knife over a large potato. A bowl nearby was filled with spuds. Only a few still had their skins.

I had stopped by earlier in the day, but she hadn't slept much that night and had stayed in bed until late in the morning. When she opened the door I realized that was the first time I had ever seen her head uncovered. Her hair was snow white and thin. All of her life, it seems, she had kept her head covered with a blue bandanna. Even when we were next door neighbors I had never seen her without her bandanna neatly folded on the top of her head.

I told her I would return in the afternoon.

When I did stop back she was bright and cheery. We talked about photos on the walls, old times, her sisters, my family, and, island news. She remembered that Lachlan and I share a birthday. "It's August, isn't it?" she said, more a statement than a question. "August the second," she continued.

Of course, she was correct. Muze never seems to forget birthdays, even if she is 103 years old.

This month's newsletter is a story of Captain Joe Burrus, last Ocracoke lighthouse keeper before the beacon was electrified and automated. You can read it here.

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