Robert Sund was a poet who lived in LaConner -- until he got tired of the nonsense and then he spent his last few years in Anacortes -- where many new friends gathered around him. He was admired and revered for his simple poetry and Buddhist life.
But we, who knew him for so many years in LaConner, did not revere him. He was just one of us -- a good man all around, with well-known character flaws. Everyone in LaConner has a Robert Sund story, and most of them are not reverential.
But he was our poet -- that was good. The rest of us weren't poets, and we felt that our town, of population 700, could support a poet, because we were a wealthy and sensible town, and any town that chose not to support a poet was bound to be stupid and poor.
And we still feel that way now, although Robert died 6 years ago.
I remember seeing him laid out at the funeral home. He was going to be cremated, so they didn't fix him up. He was laying on on a hospital gurney, wearing only his hospital gown, and his long bare feet hung over the edge of the gurney. Another friend folded his hands over his gown, and laced them with the Buddhist beads that Robert loved.
I was thinking that I ought to put some socks on his bare feet -- his feet might be getting cold. But then I realized that he's gone from us now, and where he was gone to they don't wear socks or shoes.