We were too hungry and tired to talk much as we ate biscuits and gravy, but we were both thinking and smiling alot. As we drove towards Yvonne's apartment I was thinking, I'm not alone here. I'm not the only one who's seen Aunt Clara! Yvonne's seen her too.
We pulled in front of her apartment and, as she was getting out of the car, Yvonne said, "Papa, why does Uncle Jack want to come to the shop, but Uncle Don doesn't?"
"Well," I said, I don't think it's that Don doesn't want to, but that he's afraid to, and Jack isn't. Jack was always the one to take big chances from what I was told growing up."
"Hmm," she said, "Okay Pop. Love you. I'll see you tomorrow, okay? You get some rest and I'll see you at work."
"Alright, darlin'. Love you too" I replied.
I drove home and slept like a log. Or a dog. Anyway, I slept. I hadn't slept well lately. Just too much on my mind. Work, bills, Aunt Clara. Mostly Aunt Clara. Now that I knew it was real I could breathe a little easier and enjoy the whole thing. Not by myself, but with my daughter. Over the next few days we worked as usual. Fixing shoes, boots, belts, handbags and any number of other things. Yvonne did some "tweeting" on our shop Twitter account, noting that we've been busy as ever. We shot another funny video for YouTube, too. In this one I hit my thumb with a shoe hammer. It's hilarious. I cringe and cry in my best Charlie Chaplin style. So far, it's gotten seventeen likes and only one dislike. Some folks just can't find the humor in pain, I guess.
In between all the repair work, phone calls, and waiting on customers at the front counter, Yvonne also rummaged through hundreds and hundreds of photographs. Boxes and bags of pictures from through the years. My Mom and brothers. Great Grandma Thomas and Pa Thomas, the Civil War veteran. Cousins whose names I didn't know. Grandpa Mack, the artist and preacher of the Gospel. Not many photographs of him, and even fewer of Uncle Don. Fewer still, of Uncle Jack. As a matter of fact Yvonne only found two pictures of him. One was Jack wearing a white apron and a white chef's hat. He was a cook on the B & O Railroad where his half brother, Don, was an engineer. In the other picture of jack he is wearing what appears to be a silk suit. He is also wearing a fine derby and sporting a pearl handled cane. He was a dandy in the middle of the Great Depression. "How?" You may ask. Well...he was also the owner of a speakeasy. An illegal but profitable bar and gambling house.