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My Big Red Couch

Monday, January 09, 2006


Originally uploaded by Bearded Jon.

"The trick is to age gracefully," he told me.

We were sitting on a park bench and what passed for a conversation was me listening as he talked.

"Take that fence over there, for instance. It's been standing there for God knows how long and its still doing its job. It may not be all that to look at but its keeping out what needs to be out and keeping in what needs to be in."

He paused to pull a pack of White Owl cigars from inside his overcoat. With a rattle of celophane he offered me one by shaking the pack my direction. I shook my head to decline. He took the shaken cigar in his lips and returned the package inside.

He fumbled in a waist pocket and pulled out a handfull of stuff, shaking most of it back into the pocket until he cradled a wooden match in his hand. He struck the match on a bolt in the bench. It did not light. He struck again and this time flame burst out. He cupped the match with the other hand and raised it to the cigar which he chased with the match as it bobbed in his mouth.

"Damned filthy habit," he mumbled around the cigar as he tossed the match into the snow. He took a few puffs then inhaled. Pulling the cigar from his mouth he leaned his head back and lowered his hands to his lap, keeping the cigar hand on top and away from his overcoat.

He rested this way for a moment with his eyes closed. "Look at me." he said. "I'm just like that fence post. Sure I may have a few years on me and I'm not as pretty as I used to be but I keep doing what I'm supposed to do."

"Don't get old," he said. "Age."

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