ss, the doorstop dog, joins the keeper in noting the life and death of Louie Lancaster, a gimp legged little old bachelor who worked as the neighborhood hired man during the keeper’s growing up years.
Louie came to northwest Wisconsin from somewhere in Illinois as the Great Depression was winding down; and its effects cost him his one chance at modest success when the bank foreclosed on the rocky, hilly 80 acres that ultimately became the farm where the keeper and his family spent the core of their lives.
A smart political observer who loved to talk/gossip, Louie was there, close at hand or in the shadowy background, for many of the keeper’s youthful challenges, usually with a wry comment or a friendly laugh.
It is safe to say that the keeper is alone in remembering Louie, all the old neighbors being long gone; and there was never any sign of any Illinois ties. The keeper’s father was the only mourner around when Louie died, the keeper having long since left home for the wonders of the world.
The keeper remembers Louie’s prolonged war with the buck sheep, his two-bit wager over the shooting of a rat in the silo pit, the big mouse nest bed of newspapers in Louie’s tiny trailer home, his challenge to the horse stall ghost, and so much more.
Remembering Louie is done in a spirit of human obligation: when a life is lived somebody needs to remember it or it loses its meaning.
Such is the verity that binds the keeper and Phyllis and everyone else on the spinning Earth.