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The Boston Globe

Opinion

Elissa Ely

An uncle, a photo, and a funeral

In the photo, my great uncle is 103. He’s eating a Lil’ Hoagie sandwich, as he did every Saturday at Dickey’s Barbecue Pit in Dallas. He didn’t like having his picture taken, partly because of some undiscussed but dark legal dealings in his past. We also thought he had a poor view of his own fashion sense — though after his death, a pair of very costly green alligator-skin loafers in his closet led us to wonder about that assumption.

He is smiling slightly, coaxed by the cameraman, and by someone else, a young woman with her arms around him and her head pressed to his. He is recognizable — the Super Bowl XXII hat slipping over an eyebrow, the alertness and intelligence, even at 103 — but she is unfamiliar.

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