Growing up there was a man that had a love for drink. The town tried to intervene and made alcohol difficult to come by. With no alcohol he would drink cooking vanilla or strain liquid shoe polish through white bread for the cherished alcohol that remained.
His thoughts of grand conspiracies moved him to run for Town Treasurer. In the parade he wobbled along with the campaign convertible filled with candy and cards he passed to the holiday crowd leaving a drift of whisky air in his wake. He was not elected but every one shook the hand he offered.
The town endured Robert and on sober days he ate meals with friends.
You could find him around the court square with shirt tale half tucked into his khaki pants standing with an air of attempted respectability. Robert tried. Some days he did better than others but the town kept him fed and safe like a mascot or our token town drunk.
I noted an emptiness in town when Robert left and wondered if he died.
No, he had a job at the VA hospital gathering wheels chairs as seriously as he has once gathered alcohol.
I miss him.