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August 01, 2006

123. Talbot

A cold fusion physicist, Talbot is convinced that it’s possible to generate nuclear energy at room temperature. He spurned the laughter and budget setbacks, and at 90 is still lecturing at symposia around the world. He’s the most fascinating step-grandfather-in-law.

August 02, 2006

124. Scott

Scott is Talbot’s cold fusion sidekick, and also his nephew. They work together in the lab but their differing philosophies cause mealtime debates that other diners can’t keep up with. Scott’s brilliant, but (justifiably?) paranoid and defensive of his field.

August 03, 2006

125. Mary

Mary is an elegant and gracious hostess. Her style – in dress, décor and demeanor – has a certain formality that stems from another era. Despite outliving most of her friends and family, she is always cheerful, deeply faithful and never complains.

August 04, 2006

126. Libby

She was the one. They warned in Health & Safety class, “Statistically, one of you will be dead before the end of this year.” Then they screened the horrible films of auto accidents and drug overdoes. Libby crashed that summer.

August 05, 2006

127. Mr. King

He ruled the upper elementary classes with good humour and a sense of fairness backed up with a long paddle. When someone in class misbehaved and didn’t own up to their transgression, we all stood in line for a smack.

August 06, 2006

128. Tracey

Tracey is animal prints and breathtaking accessories. At karaoke, Ethel Merman reincarnated. "Trash" tries anything twice. She’s an ambitious and no-nonsense believer in action who plans and executes events with flair. Don’t hesitate or she’ll take charge in a blink.

August 07, 2006

129. Yoshi

Yoshi is quiet in every language but behind the silence lurks a man of many moods and great creativity. He surprised us all the day he climbed the light pole in Elliston. I’m glad he fell in love with Australia.

August 08, 2006

130. Lil

Lil believes in form over function and lives her belief. She will wear gorgeous, sexy shoes even though they pinch her feet terribly. She decides based on looks rather than practicality. But that works for her and makes her happy.

August 09, 2006

131. Mrs. Eilert

Mrs. Eilert’s house next door was full of kids and shaggy dogs and good smells in the kitchen. While she talked on the phone, we snuck cookies. When she mixed saccharine tablets into her coffee, we begged to try them.

August 10, 2006

132. Dave

Dave champions doing everything whole-assed (not half-assed) from writing code to loving friends. His well-developed perfectionism produces superior results but causes him personal disappointment when expectations aren’t met. He cuts his friends slack, but in sociable discussions usually requests citations.

August 11, 2006

133. Bobby

I knew her exclusively through family vacations and holiday meals. Too late, I discovered she was a feminist, a writer and artist with a major flair for the dramatic. On the brink of death frequently, eventually she did not rally.

August 12, 2006

134. Michael

Michael is a diamond trader, selling Belgian stones in the Japanese wholesale market. Though everyone knows what he does, he doesn’t talk much about it. Maybe he worries we’d hound him for special deals. Legally, we have to buy retail.

August 13, 2006

135. Jennifer

Jennifer was a smart and ambitious young woman. Bored with high school, she applied for early admission to college and matriculated in her junior year. The high school wouldn’t give her a diploma, so she got a masters degree instead.

August 14, 2006

136. Allen

Allen, an olive-skinned Italian-American with brilliant white teeth and a wicked sense of humour, was a university Lotharios. I’m sure he had scores of notches on his bedpost. I nearly counted among them, but his roommate was home that night.

August 15, 2006

137. MJ

Romping nude girl hasn’t changed much since she was three except that now she sometimes wears pants and can program Flash. She still romps like crazy, grabbing everything that life has to offer: hard work, joyful play, and great emotion.

August 16, 2006

138. Dr. Keyes

First time in the lab, Dr. Keyes picked up a mouse and pointed it at the computer screen to make it work. He embraced the technology of the times and successfully applied it to his philosophy classes. An awkward pioneer.

August 17, 2006

139. Ito-san

He’s well traveled, speaks Italian and English, smiles like a mischievous boy. He’s the chef in his own tiny restaurant, which closes twice a week so he can go fishing on his yacht. Is he a playboy? A slumming lord?

August 18, 2006

140. Jonathan

“I deliberately remembered your name on the way here,” he said when I admitted I’d forgotten his. Jonathan is an excellent listener, asking good questions when you pause for a breath. I will deliberately remember his name for next time.

August 19, 2006

141. Gardening woman

The old woman from the watch repair shop industriously tended her street-side garden, creating an oasis of flowering greenery on the corner. But now the pots are untended and a mass of weeds thrives in terracotta before shuttered, locked doors.

August 20, 2006

142. Brendan

I once referred to him as “the crazy proprietor” of Pizzakaya. I don’t think he liked that – but he is crazy, in the nicest way. Brendan’s infectious enthusiasm, comic mannerisms and real joy in seeing you make everyone love him.

August 21, 2006

143. Heather

Heather was my sister’s friend but I liked her sarcastic attitude and unconventionally jaded view of things. Her playfulness smoothed any jags and made her fun and funny. Her flair for dramatic whimsy and her musical ability didn’t hurt, either.

August 22, 2006

144. Rachel

Rachel has a lot of identities: Canadian, Jewish, Pixie. Her idol is Wonder Woman. She has a perfect hourglass figure and a warped humour. Mix all that into a sexy, glitter spewing, prize-winning Halloween costume and there you have Rachel.

August 23, 2006

145. Uncle George

Mom’s decade-younger brother, George, inherited his mother’s red hair and the family’s goofy wit. He spins yarns about his own mild misadventures that leave everyone in stitches. He wrote me a correspondence course in The Beatles when I was 11.

August 24, 2006

146. Debbie

Debbie was the other new girl in elementary school. The decorations in her home reflected her father’s military transfers: doodads from the Philippines, where she was born; a sword from Japan. She borrowed my Gray’s Anatomy and then moved again.

August 25, 2006

147. Liz

Liz does what she wants and society be damned. She’s all potential: no plans, no ambition. I admire that but find her all-out, live-free-or-die existence too extreme for me. She’s nice to visit, but I wouldn’t want to live there.

August 26, 2006

148. Luke

Rukie’s mild manner hides a fascinating history and a keen intellect, which he reveals slowly to new friends. He seems shy until he opens up and after you wonder why you ever though him reticent. Trivia: he is a fire-juggler.

August 27, 2006

149. Ben

Ben was ever the cutter of deals, the getter of freebies and bonuses. His desk brimmed with swag. He worked the vendors for tickets, dinners and contracts. He always cut himself in on the deal. Was that smarmy, or smart?

August 28, 2006

150. Mrs. Foose

Our days in her classroom were loosely managed, though we did all the required work and studied quietly to boot. The only teacher ever to give my handwriting an A, I was disappointed that Mrs. Foose was only a substitute.

August 29, 2006

151. Alice

Her throne was an office chair; her scepter a date stamp. Alice was queen of my youthful reading. After I consumed the entire children’s section, she suggested wholesome books to read from the adult titles. Our village was gratefully literate.

August 30, 2006

152. Aya

Over the course of a weekend, Aya’s internal atmosphere shifts from sunny to cloudy. From a distance, I watch the front moving through and wait for storms and lightning that never come. She laughs; the sun returns, the tempest dissipated.

August 31, 2006

153. Bernie

Bernie’s memory smells like leather and incense. He worked the art festival circuit selling his handmade bags. He was always ready to share his music, his smoke, his happiness - maybe because others had shared with him their livers and kidneys.