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ralph robert moore


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ralph robert moore

Copyright © 2010 by Ralph Robert Moore.

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Return to lately 2010.

little birds
november 1, 2010

I wrote last month about Joe, Mary's dad, dying suddenly.

He would visit us for two weeks each Christmas, so we had a bedroom upstairs that was just for him. The rest of the year, fifty weeks, it was empty. Except for our cats, who liked the yellow rectangles of sunlight that would slant onto the carpet.

A bed, a chair, a table, a few lamps. Black and white, and color, photographs of him and Joan on the wall, to make him feel at home. His own coffee cup. He liked looking out the window, watching neighbors walk by. (I've noticed that the older someone gets, the more time they spend watching people from a distance. I wonder why that is. Is it a rehearsal?)

Joe's the only guest we've ever had in our home who's stayed overnight, and that's not going to change, so Mary and I started thinking about what we wanted to do with that room.

After Joe's death, we received both of his computers, plus his printers, scanners, cameras, etc.

Mary and I each have a room upstairs for our projects. Mine, at the head of the stairs, is a study I use for writing. I'm there now. Mary's, across the hall, a happy wave away, has her computer equipment, her sewing equipment (she's a skilled sewer), and her painting supplies (she's also a skilled painter.)

There was no way we were going to be able to fit Joe's two computers, with all their peripherals, into her room.

So we decided to change Joe's room into Mary's sewing and painting room. Moving all the equipment in there freed up enough space in Mary's original room to accommodate not only her own computer, but both of Joe's.

That meant getting rid of Joe's bed.

It was a really nice bed, and had only been slept in about two hundred times.

Mary and I donate each year to a number of charities, most of which also take old clothes, appliances, etc. We called them to see if they wanted the bed, but none of them did. Too large an item.

So in the end, all we could do was leave the mattress and boxspring out at our curb, criss-crossing each other. A bed on the curb to me is an extraordinarily evocative image. Each abandoned bed holds so much mystery. What happened?

We have other items of Joe's here as well. Shirts, pants, pajamas we bought him, that he'd keep down here so he'd have less luggage on the plane. An aluminum, snap-open walker he'd use to steady himself in the shower. A few hearing aid batteries, a room heater he asked us to buy him one year. Cartoons of our cats he drew for Mary when she first came home from the hospital after her stroke. And of course the coffee cup.

Little birds.

We'll keep all of those.

In publishing news:

My story Hinky will be appearing in the next issue of Title Goes Here, number 5. It should be published any day now.

My story The Wet Months is in the November issue of Collective Fallout, volume 2, number 3.

My story Suddenly the Sun Appeared will be in the fourteenth issue of Midnight Street, which will also be the first online edition of the magazine. I don't know the publication date at this point.

Because this is Halloween season, I thought it'd be fun for this month's Video Lately to show another excerpt from The Rob and Mary Show - The Movie, a ninety-minute movie Mary and I made back in 1987 while we were living in Cape Elizabeth, Maine.

In this excerpt, I play a zombie (I have no shame.)

The excerpt was filmed in the apartment we had at the time in Cape Elizabeth, except for the one outdoor shot which we filmed in the wetlands just outside the apartment building (hoping none of the other building residents looked outside their windows during our shoot.)

As I said in my May Lately, where I showed the first excerpt from the film, a skit involving Shirley MacLaine, it is impossible to put in words how much fun Mary and I had making this movie. We'd write each skit, choose the appropriate clothes, build whatever sets or props we'd need, rehearse, then film. This was before home film editing software existed (it was essentially before home pc's existed), so all editing had to take place "in camera" in a JVC VHS camcorder.

Each scene in the skit was carefully blocked-out by us, but the dialogue was improvised. Mary and I would agree on what should be covered in each shot, then we'd basically wing it. My dialogue for the living dead skit was especially easy - I had no dialogue.

I absolutely love The Rob and Mary Show - The Movie. It brings back so many great memories of Mary and me working together on the project, and how much fun we shared. I hope you enjoy it too. So from 23 years ago, here it is: The Living Dead skit. Because it is from so long ago, the quality of the video is not top notch. But that's okay. It's the spirit of the piece that counts.