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  • Checking My Weight

    Getting on a scale once a week is something many of us do to keep our weight in check. But how many of us have someone watching the meter,writing down the results and then handing it over? I have a guy like that. His name is Bill and he has been checking my weight for the last few years. Bill works as the weighmaster at our local scales.

    Because I am in the construction industry, we often demolish a site
    before we actually start building. Just about every week I drag my
    dump trailer to the transfer station for debris and recyclables.

    I remember one of the first times I met Bill, he said, “Okay buddy,
    you can back up to the bollards in the back.” After questioning the
    directions, Bill explained what a bollard was. He told me he was from
    New England and boats would pull up to them and tie off. I needed a
    sturdy “bollard,” to pull my load off with the heavy chain I had. It was that day I knew Bill and I would become friends. He obviously would have many more pearls of wisdom to share.

    Over the years I’ve shared some of my writings with Bill. He always
    weighs in with a comment, mostly positive. On occasion after he’s read one of my poems, he reminds me of a special season coming up—like Halloween—and he’ll suggest I write about it.

    Some mornings as I wait for my receipt Bill and I recite a Robert
    Frost poem, “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening.” The rest of the staff have always thought we are nuts. We both just smile.

    A while back I found out Bill would be retiring after nineteen years.
    “Hey Bill,” I said. “I’m sure going to miss your friendship.” He
    replied, “Scott, we’ll always be friends.”

    Bill has stood by me for years. He patiently read my weekly essays and poems about my son. Evan was a sick little boy and died a couple of years back at the age of seven. Bill said I should continue to write.

    Last week I took Bill one of my new poems. He said, “It’s fine Scott,
    but it’s a little heavy.” The next morning I took him another.

    Thanks, Bill, for encouraging me to be who I am and sharing a part of
    who you are. You are someone who is always willing to listen even when the weight of the moment might be too heavy for most.

    Here’re the poems I showed Bill

    A Clam’s Life
    By Scott Newport

    Creeping, crawling, snagging
    On the bottom
    A burr got my britches

    Disappointment turns
    My mussel
    Into muck, my filter
    Must be plugged

    Sinking to the bottom
    An ocean of views, point
    Toward single hearts
    No continuity, I mean…
    No community

    My shell looks a
    Little homier recently
    Maybe I’d be better off

    At least then I wouldn’t
    Be juicy bait for those

    My pearl will have
    To wait, you know,
    The one my mother
    Give me and
    Still on my mantle
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