“In Mem’ry Of Homer Miller”


Proud, racing pigeon

courts one reluctant maiden

as more ‘gals’ notice.*

 

  • (Homer Miller’s first name was by unanimous consent of The Richards Boys, the name of our first champion “Homing” Pigeon, a gray and deep blue-black barred racing pigeon.  Mister Miller as we called him: dad’s edict – if you looked straight ahead and saw a belt buckle it was “sir,” or “Ma’am.  Homer drove the city of Sanford, Florida, USA’s then only garbage truck.  We had just moved to town from Newfoundland and dad got stationed at the U.S. Navy’s Naval Air Station, Sanford.  Homer would wave and toot his horn when he’d see us boys running the last of mom’s trash to the back-alley posted cans.  He and mom and pop would share some adult beverages with foam on top at their local, Cook’s Corner, several times a week.  We boys were allowed one soda each – make mine a “Suicide,” mix of cola and uncola and anything else the ‘tender thought amusing and we’d sit in a booth well beyond the bar and maybe if it was Thursday have a dozen or so steamed Lake George blue crabs – nothing like a freshwater blue crab for sweet! – and if some kids came in with parents our own owners approved of we often were allowed to escape outside to the parking lot just to get away from all the adult eyes.  Now, Homer and Dad enjoyed pride-of-place at “The Dirty Corner” the location where the men with minds way down there would gather and chum about.  Mom and some of her cronies would studiously ignore most of what was said – she’d heard most of the jokes before.  Around about the time our parents were ready to leave to take the tribe home for washups and supper, Homer would start getting calls to the tavern’s wall-mounted pay phone – yep! it was that long ago! One call after another.  And still in his City of Sanford green workshirt with “Homer” emblazoned in yellow embroidery over his right pocket, he would grin at mom, shrug his longer-ash-than-tobacco cigarette from one side of his leathery and expressive mouth to the other and say: “Guess it’s time to Go Run The Roads,” Miss Sally.” Mom would laugh and I would wonder.  Years later, when younger brother Storm was probably 16, Homer invited Storm to go Run The Roads with him one afternoon.  Dad looked at Mom. Mom looked at Homer. Storm, wisely, looked no where at all.  Mom nodded assent after ascertaining Homer knew what she expected. And Storm and Homer sailed off into the gathering soon sunset.  Never in more than 50 years has my brother told either me or our elder brother Glenn what took place “On Those Running Roads.” And, I don’t expect he ever will.)

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