Spring showers drummed a steady rhythm. It was a warm afternoon, a welcomed change to the usual cool breeze that chilled the Upper Peninsula. Corrie lowered her head to see above her spectacles. It was there, all right, the message from Brother Ben. With a click of the mouse the message opened wide.
“Corrie,” he wrote, “take a look at this.”
She scrolled down the screen to catch a glimpse of the photo. Look at what? She leaned closer. A boat on the beach. A smiling guy dressed in 1940s garb. Horn rimmed glasses. Big fish in tow. Big smile. Big deal. She didn’t get it.
She sniffed, then glanced toward beads of rain racing down the window pain. She lowered her head to look beyond the tops of her bifocals. Her wondering stare gazed at waves of gray — a refection of the overcast sky — lapping the shoreline. Another day, another storm, she thought. The Lake Michigan Coast Guard had warned of stormy weather. And they were right.
She clicked her mouse yet another time. The face of the smiling fisherman doubled in size; then doubled again.
“Nice pic, Rev,” she typed. Then send. The email was returned.
At forty-two, Corrie had given surrendered any thought of marriage long ago. Plump was not a word suitors often mentioned when looking for a mate. There had been beaus, but only a few; none she cared to pursue. Life was fine as it was.
She pushed away from the desk and sauntered to the Mr. Coffee brewing on the bookstand. Again, she peered out the window. The warm brew took the edge off the dank afternoon. Again, she stared at the lake.
Bdeeep. Another email.
This time she looked closer. She had to. Brother Ben had enlarged the photo. The fisherman’s horn rims filled the screen.
“What do you see?” he wrote.
The Reverend could have told her forthrightly. But he preferred she see it on her own.
“My eyes,” she said aloud. “Those are my eyes.” Unconsciously she touched the bridge of her nose. “And my mole,” she added.
“No doubt about it,” she tapped the words effortlessly. “That’s my uncle. Thanks, Rev.” Send.
It was a satisfying feeling. She sipped her coffee. No one has heard from her uncle since 1953. Something about the war, they told her. He was never the same, never came home; just wondered place to place until he disappeared.
To Corrie is was an interesting footnote of her past. And it was her lighthouse; the only home she had ever known. But her parents, now gone, had never bothered to transfer the deed. It belonged to her uncle, they said. And only he could transfer the ownership. The county said it belonged to them; and without proof that her uncle had even been at her home, she had little chance of proving ownership.
She breathed deeply. She knew it was coming. It was just a matter of time. An apartment in town wouldn’t be so bad. Maybe it was time for a change.
Leaning forward, she opened Brother Ben’s next message. “Look again. Closer.”
It was there. She smiled broadly. Why hadn’t she seen it before? The familiar black stripes broadly wrapping the sun bleached column was unmistakable. My eyes, my mole and my lighthouse reflecting in his glasses. He was here! She looked again. The same reflection could be faintly seen in each of his eyes. But when? She wondered.
“1964,” the Reverend wrote. He expected her query. “Your dad painted the lighthouse in 1964. You were two at the time. You uncle was there with you and your father. The pic proves it.”
“Slam dunk?” she asked. Send.
“We’ll ask Fred in the morning.” Brother Ben’s reply referred to Corrie’s attorney. “But abandoned property it ain’t.” Corrie chuckled at the Reverend’s unusual choice of words.
“Abandoned property I ain’t” she corrected. Then added, “Sounds like a sermon, eh?”