Spring 1983 • Vol. V No. 2 Nonfiction |

That Bright Face Is Laughing

— for Robert W Daniel I prize a snapshot of Robert that I took the summer we met. He is a teenager. In shorts, sneakers, and a baseball cap, he's sitting on the porch steps, just looking up to say something—of course that bright face is laughing. He'd come down to Jackson, where I live, to visit a friend of us both, Frank Lyell, whom he'd met in Sewanee. Robert and I became fast friends then and there. Through all these decades, I've never felt we were out of touch with each other's life and welfare, or that we'd ever meet and be found wanting of a fresh story for the other's laugh. A sense of the absurd is the most congenial tie in the world—more congenial than the love of literature is in general, though we have a good one there too, as it happens. Robert's sense of the absurd is acute, elegant, not to be deflected, and impossible to match. I knew it then, and I can add now that it's also as sound as an apple and has never gone sour with the increasingly absurd years

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