An Imaginary Epitaph

Our brother and friend Nathan S. Schank died April 1, 2023.

I am Randy, his actual brother, his older brother.

Nate was only recently retired from his job working in security at the airport, as some here today may know. He was a good and kind man. He loved cats, and called each cat he owned by the same name: Sam. [light laughter]

The day before he died, perhaps the very morning of his death, Nate went to a yard sale near his home and purchased there, for a pittance, an item that would lead him inexorably — Fate, my friends! — towards the untimely accident that preceded Nate’s passing.

My brother was a simple, cheery, somewhat top-heavy fellow, barrel-chested even as he entered his eighties. Mother often said she thought his feet were too small for his body, back when we were kids. His mustache was his main head hair, though like many older gentlemen he had unkempt rows of coily hair above his eyes — some call them eyebrows. [polite laughter from the mourners].

But Nathan, he had heard about this “pickleball” sports craze (I talked to him the week before) and I guess he decided that morning — a spotlessly blue sky day, do y’all remember? — with clovers red and white blooming up and down the interstate — he must have decided, after his usual coffee and biscuits, he figured he’d go to the local park and try to get in on a game, since he had a racket. He told me the word was that players were generally helpful and acted gracefully towards beginners. Well.

The story the family heard is that while Nate was playing his first game ever someone hit a curving shot with one of the balls used in this quaint sport. As he lunged at the ball, which skipped sharply away from him, he fell to the court and struck his head in a particularly grievous fashion. Though quickly called, paramedics were unable to resuscitate Nate enroute to Our Lady of the Dinks Hospital ….

Let’s all bow our heads and say a silent benediction — if you will —

(c) 2023 Thomas N Dennis

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