Still Life                          Georgetown, Ontario, Summer 1961


His name was Mr. Inglis. We called him the Merry Mailman.

He delivered every envelope with the warmest of smiles.

I would meet him in the streets of our neighborhood, especially during summer,

As he made his daily rounds.

He was also my baseball coach.

So we exchanged sports scores and stories as he toted his mailbag, overflowing with brightly stamped letters,

Replete with news,

A nine-year-old boy and his kindly coach.

Perceived as aged, but probably no older than thirty.


One evening, I overheard my parents discussing Mr. Inglis.

I deciphered from their hushed tones that there was a new baby in the Inglis home.

That night in bed, I rehearsed for what seemed like hours what I would say to congratulate him.

I wanted to express something like love to Mr. Inglis.


Mr. Inglis didn’t reappear for several days.

When he finally returned to his duties on our street, I flagged him down:

“Congratulations, Mr. Inglis, on the birth of your baby. Mrs. Inglis too.”

“Is it a boy or a girl?” A stilted speech gestated after many painful moments of practice.


His face crumpled momentarily, like a grayish envelope being crushed in slow motion by an invisible hand.

“She was a little girl. We named her Amy. She was stillborn.”

He smiled thinly, adjusted the bursting pouch on his shoulder, and slumped away to complete his round of deliveries.


I felt a gnawing pain growing in my belly as it contracted  painfully throughout the day.

The speech did not have its desired effect.

Something was amiss.

At bedtime, writhing with agony, I described the interaction to my mother.

Stillborn, I learned, meant born, but not alive.


Still in life, over sixty years later, I feel the need to atone, to do penance for a child’s offering, my original sin,

Inadvertently hurtful congratulations that echo through the corridors of oh so many sleepless nights.


Robert McBryde Author: IndieReader approved, adolescence, hippies, pop music, 1960s, 1970s, blogging, social media,  CBC radio, literary non-fiction, tales, short stories, vignettes, immigrant experience, sports, Quebec anglos, living in France,  childhood and animal stories, creative memoirs, satire, autobiography, family relations, fathers, raising children, aging, facing death, fear of death, travel, social commentary, love and marriage, translation: English-French; French-English

Publisher’s Note:  Funny, manic, and wistful… self-deprecating creative nonfiction…The author, Robert McBryde, a professional translator, has been compared to David Sedaris for the sometimes-snarky autobiographical satire characterizing his literary sketches. Many of the stories in his new book, titled My Time with You Has Been Short but Very Funny, have been featured on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation radio network.


Author’s Note:

I’ve written a new book of creative non-fiction titled My Time with You Has Been Short but Very Funny, recently published and now on the market. The book is based on stories that I told over the years as a writer/ broadcaster and host on CBC radio based in Quebec City, Canada.

The book is available via my website. The purchase links are at the bottom of the home page.

Normally I will post at least two blogs per week. Stay tuned…especially Wednesdays and Fridays.

If you purchase a book via the platform of your choice, please leave a review.

Here is an excerpt from my IndieReader review:

“[This] memoir is… an enjoyable and touching read. Radio listeners in Quebec are already familiar with the wit and wisdom of Robert McBryde. The non-fiction collection, MY TIME WITH YOU HAS BEEN SHORT BUT VERY FUNNY, gives the rest of the world access to the author’s inimitable style.”

“Please note that [this] book received a rating of 4 stars or above, making it “IndieReader Approved”, a designation we created to make it easier for readers and booksellers to identify quality indie titles. Post the sticker proudly, knowing that your title was judged by top industry professionals—not as merely a great indie book—but as great book, period.”

Here is a link to a cool group book review blog:

My Time With You Has Been Short But Very Funny, a review by Di


And this is a link to Goodreads. A great place to learn about new books and to read reviews.

Di’s review of My Time with You Has Been Short but Very Funny


And, finally, a review from Amazon…

A Spirited Dive into Life’s Laughter and Tears (


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