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I watched Clara load a box into the trunk of her car. "Hi, Clara," I said.
She turned toward me, slightly startled. "Oh, hi, Chris ... I was so absorbed in packing I didn't see you come up."
"Sorry," I said. "I'm on my way to pick up Uncle Billy ... you know, our weekly trip to Manny's"
She shook her head. "I don't know why William won't let me take him there."
I shrugged. "Who knows? Maybe he's embarrassed to let you see him buying alcohol and lotto tickets."
"I don't care what he does with his money," she said.
"Well, I think it might be partly because it's a chance for me to spend a little time with him."
She nodded thoughtfully. "Yes, I can see that."
I looked down at the trunk and saw a suitcase sitting next to the box."Going on another trip?" I asked.
"Yes, another book tour."
"Wow ... another tour ... where to this time?"
She closed the trunk lid. "Grand Rapids and Muskegon."
"No Saginaw this time?"
"No ... but the book stores I'm visiting are owned by friends of Alex's ... he introduced me to them when they were in town for that convention."
"Boy, that is nice connection."
She smiled. "It is ... you know, Alex would be willing to help you meet some book store owners."
"Well, I'll be sure to make it to the next convention ... when is going to be?"
"Next April ... but it's going to be in Chicago next year."
"Chicago? Maybe I can talk Uncle Billy into going ... he'd like to go to the House of Blues."
"Just don't take him to the Sunday Brunch," said Clara.
"Oh, he told you about that."
"Yes, he did ... he said that if he wanted to see a choir he'd go to church."
"I don't know why he didn't like them
... they were great ... but, I'll just take him to see a blues act from now on."
"I'm sure he'd appreciate that," she said. "By the way, how did it go at Reggie's the other night?"
"You mean about the free dinner that didn't happen?"
"Yes ... where his friends disappointed?"
"Not really ... they've known Billy for too long."