Hour 16–In Bed Three Hours Prior to Start of Marathon

As one does, I wondered why one never sees black funeral crepe in museums. Wouldn’t that be a worthy keepsake of a passing head of state? A link with history, with the noteworthy days of old? Was the crepe rented? Used again? Discarded? I decided on the answer.

Abraham Lincoln’s funeral cortege moved by rail from Washington to Springfield, draped in somber black. All along the route mourners stood by the tracks. Waiting. Progress was slow. His final journey, not to be rushed.

Aboard the train with the precious cargo were stationed young boys dressed in black knickers tucked outside among the fluttering crepe. Each boy held a small pair of safety scissors, and with dutiful care, cut off small pieces to scatter along the tracks where come-what-may would find them. There was singing and tears. Ephraim couldn’t bear to watch.

He worked his fingers for as long as he could. Somewhere near Pittsburgh his hand gave out and he closed the scissors. He leaned back and wondered about his new prospects in Illinois and the uncle hired to care for him. He dozed and dreamed about the dark-haired pretty girl from school who smelled of garlic and carried a hand-painted lunchbox. In his dream he fell asleep and dreamed some more. The train continued west.

No documentation exists for this story. It’s a true story in my head.

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