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By Larry Watson

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Back in the bright foyer, the twins were still spinning with excitement. ” the doctor asked. I had no doubt that his question was directed to me. I had no reply. ” Of course I wanted to see the patient, but Dr. Dunbar knew this about me before I knew it myself. “Oh, Rex,” said Mrs. ” “Let’s leave it up to them. ” He turned to us. ” I was instantly ready to say yes, but I knew Johnny had to answer first. “Is she ... ” he asked. Dr. Dunbar reached inside the sleeve of his white coat and readjusted a cuff link.

He was still wearing the vest and tie he’d had on at the dining room table, but he’d exchanged his suit coat for a white lab coat. ” Johnny asked again. ” I asked. “Is she ... ” “She’s seen better days, I promise you that. ” He was smoking a cigarette, but he’d only taken a couple drags. He handed it now to Mrs. Dunbar, who smoked Chesterfields as did the doctor, but she held the cigarette as if she wasn’t quite sure what to do with it. “In fact,” he added, “I should probably get back in there.

There was no wind at all, and snow was falling at a rate of over an inch an hour, covering the drifts that had been on the ground since Thanksgiving. The flakes fell straight down like a heavy veil, but Dr. Dunbar was not to be deterred. He and a few other men brought out snow shovels, cleared the ice, and the game was on. A few wives, girlfriends, younger brothers and sisters were on hand as spectators, the snow gathering on their coats and hats faster than they could brush it away. They clapped as much to keep warm as to cheer us on.

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