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Bud Grossmann’s
Words of the Week
for the Week of
November 27, 2016
Previously unpublished fiction.
© 2016 by Bud Grossmann.
All Rights Reserved.

Small Church (2014)
  Small Church (2014)
© 2014 by Bud Grossmann


Several times at various gatherings here in Fjord I have heard someone ask my friend Dave Fischer or his wife Celeste how they first met, and I’ve heard them tell various versions of the story. Today I happened to see Dave at Nick Knutsen’s house, and I asked whether Dave and Celeste would be willing to write out the story and let me put it with the other stories I’ve told about them here on my Web site. Dave didn’t want to write it, but he said he was willing to dictate the story into the voice recorder on my phone and leave it to me to transcribe it, which I have now done (with very light editing). Please see below. Celeste wasn’t around today, so this is strictly Dave’s version, as told to me and Nick. Celeste could no doubt improve it.


Where'd we meet? Thank you for asking. We met in a funeral line. Reverend Kent's funeral line. It was a Wednesday afternoon, November twenty-eighth, two thousand twelve, at the funeral home here. I got to the visitation like an hour into it, and the line was long and it was hardly moving. I got in line, and I realized after a while that the long-haired, gray-brown-haired, skinny-assed lady ahead of me in line looked familiar. I touched the arm of her coat and said, I should know you. She looked at me and said, No, you shouldn't. I said, Hah! I said, I am David Fischer, from Fjord, I think we have met somewhere. But she said, No, I don't think we have. She told me her name, Celeste Teale, which is an unusual name, and I didn't remember hearing it before, so I figured, Okay, maybe she's right.

I asked if she lived in Fjord, and she said, Yes, the past ten years. She had been a nurse at a V.A. in California and then moved to Wisconsin in the seventies when her husband bought a bicycle shop in Cappella, and then she was at Cappella Hospital, and possibly, she said, I met her there. I didn't think so. I get my doctoring in Ninian. She said they'd lived here in Fjord for ten years but she didn't socialize much in Fjord. She said her husband had just died in June. She told me his name, Hank Teale, but I didn't know him either. I didn't know the bicycle shop.

Then I thought, Oh, wait, maybe I saw you at the Veterans Day thing a couple weeks ago, at the elementary school? She said, Well, actually, I am a veteran, I was in the army, but I don't go to those things. Oh! I said, Let me introduce you to this nurse... (Coincidentally, right behind us in the line, with a daughter that went to Fjord High, was one of the twins, you know, like past ninety years old. She was in the army in World War II, and her twin sister was, as well, army nurses both of them.)

Then I suggested, Could it be I met you at the Memorial Day program in May? But she said, No. She said, I do live right next to the cemetery, but I don't go to the Memorial Day events.

I tried one more idea. Caroling. How about the caroling and tree-lighting in December? But she said No.

So we let it go and we talked some more and I introduced her to some people milling about there in the line, and eventually we did get to greet the Kent family, and when I went home I looked up Celeste Teale on the Internet and I found kind of a lot of stuff. Her home number was listed, she lived like three blocks from me, so I called her and got the voice mail, and I told her I had just received a couple of Netflix DVDs and maybe she'd like to watch them with me. One was Magnolia, and the other was Bobby, about Bobby Kennedy. I said I'd call again, at 7:30, and when I did, she answered, and we talked a while, and she said, Yeah, maybe. About the movies. But not that night, she said. So I watched them by myself and then, next day, I think it was, I took them to her and she watched them by herself. Et cetera.

We did figure it out, a few weeks later, though, how I had indeed met Celeste before, though she still, to this day, does not recall it. About a year before Reverend Kent died, Connie Dalquist was real sick with cancer and I visited her at her house. Nick went with me. ... turn off the tape a minute, I'll tell you something about Nick ... Okay, back again. So, I was saying, Nick and I visited maybe half an hour, maybe an hour, sitting with Connie in her living room, some of her kids were there, and then when we were saying We better be going, let you get your rest, Connie looked out the front window and said real cheerily, Oh, look! Here comes my nurse! So Nick and I jumped up from the couch, to go, but Connie said, No, no, it's only my next-door neighbor Celeste. She's a nurse at Cappella Hospital, not really my nurse.

So, yes, as it turns out, I should have known her, Celeste the Nurse, but we mark the time of our knowing each other from November the twenty-eighth, two thousand twelve. Thanks again for asking. If Celeste was here, we could probably give you a more complete answer to your question, so be sure to ask again sometime.
/end of transcription, 11/26/2016, 11:26PM/

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