Some years ago, my brother, a doctor, gave my grandson a human skeleton for his 13th birthday.  The same grandson will be 19 next month and his interests have moved on to other things, some of them better off unidentified.  Bucky (for so the skeleton is named, for reasons I have forgotten) now lives in my office, wearing a baseball cap.  I ignore him, mostly. My office is the place where I work, a place of solitude, and if I thought about Bucky too much I would feel his presence and that I should speak to him now and then. And what does one say to a skeleton? "Nice-looking tibia, mister!"??   No, it is better to ignore him.

But maybe now I should comment, at least to offer sympathy, because today I have noticed that a piece of a bone has come loose. I think it may be his right patella. It was on the floor by his feet, as if he had dropped it inadvertantly, and so I picked it up and put it there on his seat cushion. I don't know what my next step should be. Is an anatomist going to happen to stop by and offer to glue it back on? Not likely.  I guess it will remain there, between his femurs, and I will have to think of the whole thing as a kind of still life.  Bucky with Bone Chip is the title, in the manner of Tin Pitcher with Chysnthemums on a small bronze label in the Cezanne room at the Musée D'Orsay.

I arrived at my summer home, an old farm in western Maine (where Bucky lives year-round) to find that the stove doesn't work because there has been no delivery of propane, (remedied by a phone call), and there was no electricity in the dining room because the contractor working on that side of the house had discnnected it while he drilled and scarped (remedied by an email), and the underground electric fence is not working because the landscapers had cut through the wire as they seem to do at the begining of every summer; but fortunately the dog—who  memorized the electric fence when he arrived here at age 4 months and he is now eleven years old—doesn't know that it isn't working.  So I am not too concerned about it, and the fence people will be here next week for repairs.

And late that same week, my company begins. All five bedrooms in my house will be full, as will two refrigerators and freezers, and my washer and dryer, along with everything in this house that is now empty. My brother will be among the guests, come to think of it. Maybe he'll repair Bucky.

Maybe I'll give him a new hat, once his knee is repaired.