Albert has scared the shit out of dozens of people over the years.
He’s been an integral part of our family since Mom first brought him home from a golf trip to Pebble Beach, California, in the mid-seventies.
Ever since then, Albert just hung around.
Year after year, after year, after year.
He’s originally from London, but he’s classic Scottish from the top of his thick, tousled hair down to his argyle socks.
Always in glen plaid and corduroy.
He’s of average height, a gray-haired gentleman, with a full beard – both of which hint of their ginger youth.
In the pocket of his kinsmen’s plaid jacket, for as long as we’ve known him, Albert has always carried his pipe. Right beside this, he used to keep a battered, old tin of Prince Albert (his namesake) tobacco. He still has his pipe, but years ago, some sibling borrowed the rusty, bright red tin – likely to store their weed- and never returned it to the old man.
Albert never said a word.
But that didn’t surprise anyone.
Even though he’s always surprising someone.
So still and silent.
You might find him sitting in the sun porch staring out at the lake, or lying beneath the covers in one of the boys’ twin beds. He might be in the front seat of a car one morning, or on one of the chaises lounging under the stars one night.
His familiar, nonetheless frightening figure would linger in the shadows as I snuck through the house after curfew.
But Albert never tattled.
It simply isn’t in him.
He’s very predictable, but never who some guess he is: an uncle, a grandfather, an unsocial neighbor?
An ever-present family sentinel.
His light blue eyes fixed on the room. Out the window. On you.
As we speak, he’s probably sitting in the basement of Mia’s house, where he continues to startle guests just looking to use the exercise equipment.
A bit unnerving, but dependably docile… and flexible. Even after years of being forced into the most unflattering positions for the sole entertainment of ourselves and others.
Creepy, I know.
But what can we do? He was so amusing for decades and even though he hasn’t done much since the last kid left the house, he’s simply part of the family.
Certainly worth the $200 Mom paid for Albert before the store manager lifted him out of the pro shop window, packed him in a box, and shipped him home.