An Excerpt From Castor: A Town Built on Stories, History, and the Undeniable Elusive Truth – A Collection of Short Stories by Rachel Santee, Class of ’13
It was the middle of December when Mr. Charles Lolland passed away. He had been suffering from cancer of the lung and the last months had been excruciating for him. His wife, Ruth Lolland, was utterly distraught. She had no children and the only company that remained in her house was her three cats. After her husband’s funeral, she began taking very well to a certain type of coffee. She drank it before breakfast, at breakfast, lunch, dinner, and periodically throughout the day as well. We never saw her without a cup of her favorite coffee in her hand.
We asked her what made her fall so in love with the coffee, and she shrugged, and said she had a void that needed to be filled. We figured that obsessing over something, no matter how small, was a very good way to cope with the voids of one’s life. Maybel had her stamps, we had our stories, and Ruth Lolland had her coffee.
Over the six years she drank coffee until she too passed, and if we estimated that she drank ten cups of coffee every day, that came out to 3,650 cups of coffee per year and 21,900 cups of coffee in total. That converts to 1,369 gallons, which could fill twenty-eight bathtubs full of coffee. We thought for a while and realized that these twenty-eight bathtubs were a measure of Ruth Lolland’s loneliness. We sometimes liked to imagine in units of coffee-filled-bathtubs how lonely a person could be, but Ruth always comes out as our winner with the sad score of twenty-eight.