Homer Horton, known as Uncle Bob,
took me aside in the butcher shop

and said: “If you go to med school,
you’ll be glad you learned how to cut up

a side of beef. Of course you’ll have to take
your Latin and your Greek.” He was 65 in ’65

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when he told me this. He didn’t know
they weren’t prerequisites any more.

Nor did I tell him he needed to update
his mental maps like a keen geographer.

He sometimes bickered with the other butchers.
But he was excellent with customers.

From the freezer I once brought him an oxtail
because I had no clue what it was. So I asked.

“Oh that,” he said. “That there’s a flyswatter.”

Ken Fontenot was born and raised in New Orleans. Slough Press will bring out his first novel in November 2010.

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Published at 6:50 pm CST