It's been a few weeks since we posted anything by or about Richard Brautigan. I've been trying to find just the right poem or story of his to suit the season or my mood or some current event. But nothing seemed just right.
Until, that is, I heard on the radio a mention of Bill Ratican. Last week, Hibbing, MN held a big festival celebrating native son Bob Dylan and his music -- Dylan turned 67 in late May. Part of the event was a concert at Hibbing High School's famous auditorium. Minnesota Public Radio was giving away tickets and mentioned that the seats were next to the seat where the ghost sits. Bill Ratican (and his ghost, I guess) was my wife's great uncle, who was (among other things) a projectionist at the Hibbing movie house and a stagehand at the high school auditorium. His ghost is said to haunt the place and to prefer a particular seat in the house during rehearsals and performances.
Bill Ratican's ghost reminded me of this Brautigan poem, from "Rommel Drives on Deep into Egypt."
Mrs. Myrtle Tate, Movie Projectionist
Mrs. Myrtle Tate, movie projectionist
died Wednesday in San Francisco.
She was 66, retired.
We must remember again the absolute
excitement of the moon and think lyrically
about her death.
It is very important for our Twentieth Century
souls because she was "one of the few women
who worked as a movie projectionist."
Oh, honor this mothersisterbride
of magic lanterns with an endless waterfall of