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Cecil (on mortality)


Read some of Howard’s columns and my own commentary now and then and you’ll find  people you think you know written into this blog. My dad is here; my mother started to be, but the Agincourt character I wrote turned out to be so likable it couldn’t possibly have been Marge. I actually cast her as a madam and even that didn’t work. Go figure: a lovable madam. Those of you who knew Cecil Elliott will see him in these pages, too. And also some of our relationship, mentor that he was to me and so many others.

These days — on the mend from heart surgery (four months ago on Friday) — I’ve been thinking a lot about the end of life, mine especially. And though the operation last June may have given me more years than I’ll know what to do with, I can’t help wondering how my departure will occur. Cecil spoke of people he had known before coming to Fargo; names that I sometimes recognized. About them he’d just as often remark, “When that son-of-a-bitch dies, no one is going to know in the next county.” That’s the way I’m feeling these days. I know it isn’t true, but I believe it none the less. Kinda like religion.


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