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Recollections & Reflections

a gathering of essays

Dennis Herrell

Table of Contents

A Friend

A Man Discovers He Has Gotten Old

How to Exercise

At the Waffle House

Aunt Fanny in Church

Being Grandpa

Evening at the Opera

Expressing My Inner Self

Mr. Burton Sings His Song


Sharing Aunt Emma

Pud’s Place---Glen Flora, Texas


The Jacket

A Friend

I wanted one last visit to where you lived. Books lined the walls in every room, in every nook and in each book, I felt there was a piece of you. I picked one by chance and pulled it down. I
turned to page 31; I could see you reading down the line of words… and there where you paused to make a note of a passage worth another visit, that thoughtful look upon your face I had seen so many times; and my mind made a note not ever to forget.

You were all about memories whether from book or face of friend, a restaurant nosh or foreign respite, a birthday wish or disappointment; or just a wistful moment from your youth, like a car you had liked while sitting with a pal on a shady curb. You had a knack for imitating many sounds—you could be a train whistle yonder and near, a police car or a firetruck coming on a scene, or some person you knew with a squeaky voice or funny accent.

You had fast-forwarding ideas tumbling from a kaleidoscope mind, along with an inquisitive face topped with a head of wild uncombed hair. You always looked like a kid looking for a new trail, that path leading to a magic garden. Until the very end, you had that endearing look of a puppy posing as a man. But you were always an open book with many endings.

A Man Discovers He Has Gotten Old

Now at almost 80, I must give myself permission to look at my own body. I decide to review it part by part: my little toe is not so bad, in fact, rather cute, knees are knobby, but grudgingly do their work; my butt sags, but retains vestiges of a curve; stomach retains its middle-aged paunch; pecs are a laugh, and jiggle when I do; my nose I accept with honor from my French-Canadian grandmother; my eyebrows are like wild gray caterpillars, and my head of hair is best kept undercover by my old baseball cap, worn even in a restaurant, when I am capable of opening the door.

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