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The Typo which was abbreviated Jl. But unless he is from Daugavpils, on the day of the sandblasting Hiram must have had what some young people today refer to as a brain phart. We can’t be sure he noticed it, of course. In any event, Hiram completed the sandblasting, removed the stencil, blew off all the dust, and gave the stone a final polishing. It was turned over to the customer, probably Miss L ola, who had it placed lovingly in the little graveyard to mark her husband’s grave. Hold it! Let’s stop right here, because I have some serious questions. How, exactly, did this play out? After all, somebody must have noticed the typo. So let’s step back… One possibility is that when Hiram blasts the “l,” he suddenly recognizes that July is spelled wrong on the stencil. Too bad he didn’t notice that before cutting the offending letter. Aargh. He drops everything and goes to Mitchell’s office. “Hey, Mitch!” he exclaims. “We’ve got a problem with that Scott stone.” Together they gaze at the stone, with the “Jl” glaring at them. “Should I finish it?” asks Hiram. They consult the boss, Mr. Dawson. “Boys, you really messed this one up, didn’t you?” sighs Dawson. “Yeah,” they nod, glumly. “OK, well, it can’t be fixed without showing up badly. So finish it up as it is, and I’ll get in touch with the family.”

Another possibility is that Hiram simply doesn’t notice Mitchell’s mistake either. He just finishes the stone, cleans it off, gives it a nice polish, and pronounces the stone ready. They put the stone aboard their truck, and when they put it in place, someone says, “Say, why does it say ‘Jluy’?” A third possibility, a sort of variation on the above, is that Hiram completes the job and pronounces the stone ready. Mr. Dawson takes one look at it and fires both Hiram and Mitchell on the spot. The cost of making a new stone is going to wipe out a month’s profits. However it happened, we know two things for certain. First, the family and friends couldn’t possibly have not noticed the typo. Second, we know that Dawson didn’t just keep mum about the goof and make a new one; nor did the family insist on a replacement stone with correct spelling. We know this because there the stone lies today, “Jluy” and all. Of course, this would have been a sad time for the bereaved family, and reactions to a typo on the stone might have run the gamut. “Get that damned Dawson fellow on the phone right now!” “Oh, my dear, isn’t that spelt w rong?” “I want a new stone, and right now!” “Say, given this major error on your part, Dawson, how do you propose to make it right?” Naturally, I have no idea how this

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March 2017 ttimes web magazine  

Tidewater Times March 2017