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Paul Tancer (1936-2001)

Paul was my uncle. I remember him as a highly charasmatic, handsome man who could tell a story.

I think I probably saw a different side of him than his children did, but that was probably because when I spent time with him, he was usually at my grandparents house.

Oftentimes he had a Salem in one hand and a scotch in the other. He read a lot, and he was one of the first people I remember being fascinated by. He seemed worldly to this small town girl. He joined the Navy and had served during the Korean War. He moved to Atlanta and knew stuff. What he didn't know, he probably made up, but that was okay. He was convincing.

He is also the only man I've ever seen in the company of two ex wives and a girlfriend. Better yet, they were all getting along and laughing!

Later in his life he moved to the backwoods of Tennessee and became a root farmer. He had great stories about the ghosts of Civil War soldiers and the faeries in the hollow. When we visited, he always managed to tell me about those spirits at night. I can still remember the crickets chirping, hearing the ice clink against his glass, and him amused, chuckling at my wide-eyes.

Looking at my own life, I have realized that he was a little more influential than I realized. I am a chronic reader, and I can tell a story with the best of them; and even though I gave up smoking, I still enjoy a good scotch every now and then.

-Rebecca Miller



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