According to the letter, the old man arrived late to the Newell Burying Grounds. He touched the freshly turned dirt in front of Abijah’s tombstone and mumbled a few words before disappearing into the August night.
“The old man was Edgar Allan Poe,” my mother said. She loved the story.
“Abijah knew Edgar Allan Poe?” I played along.
“Uncle Abijah knew Poe and Emerson, but that’s not the cuckoo part of the story. Abijah’s funeral was in 1873. Poe died in 1849.”
Even as her memories evaporated into the August night of her dementia, she held on to Old Man Poe.