(This is a new feature, tales of legendary, heroic figures from my chequered past, to remind my fellow oldsters that once we were the gods of the earth, the young. )
Once there was a boy named Norman, born in Cleveland, Ohio, “Round-on-the-Ends-and-High-in-the-Middle,” who went politely through his formal education and grew to manhood on the banks of the mighty Cuyahoga River, and brought happiness to the hearts of all, most, or some of those that he touched in his too-short life, cut down by well deserved, hard earned lung cancer at the age of thirty-nine. He scorned the ebb-tide, preferring to depart at the twilight of the flood. He achieved his rest sixteen long years ago, and a great light went out of the world. To those of us who live and remember, we two or three outside of his immediate family, a couple of others who might remember him fondly have also crossed the river, he was a hero and a saint, and we loved, love him extravagantly.
Norman was a lovely man, in the manner of the Boston Irish. He never had a bad word to say about anyone, even politicians, and he became upset if bad words about someone were spoken in his presence. He was the gentle beyond gentle in every way: soft spoken to the point of invisibility; a handshake like a plush toy, a floating; ephemeral manner; eternally undemanding. He was six feet, one inch tall, and he weighed less than 130 pounds. He was completely trustworthy. You could tell him, here, hold this $20,000, it was safe; you could have him watch your children; anything.