Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Uncle Lumpy

Everyone calls him Uncle Lumpy. He likes to sit in Mothers' Rest park on Washington Street watching the clouds and the traffic go by. It's a nice place to do it. He settles onto a bench like a sack of soggy oatmeal, lets his head droop onto his chest, and just sits in the seat of the contented. He can sit for hours at a time.

He isn't related to anyone in Codman Square as far as anyone knows. He's just a kind of fixture in the neighborhood. No one has followed him home to his front door, but rumor has it he lives on Alpha Road. Children call him 'uncle' because he is kind to them. He hands out coins when asked for the gumball machines at the grocers'. Unfortunately, most of the machines only take quarters nowadays and Uncle Lumpy mostly has a stockpile of pennies. No matter. Children know that a shiny penny is better than nothing and that enough of them can be exchanged for silver.

Sometimes he nurses a bottle of Old Colony brand Uva Soda. It's grape flavored and very sweet. He can an hour to finish it. Then he walks back to the market to collect his nickel deposit. He usually only holds onto the nickel no longer than a block before he donates to a child.

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