The historian

When even the longest memory gave way and balked at a name, a place, a date, ''Ask Uncle Tim,'' they said: Uncle Tim, steeped in family lore; Uncle Tim, who kept scrapbooks, diaries and albums - a living record of occasions commemorating who, what, when, and where. It was Uncle Tim who was the self-appointed family scribe, the keeper of a family log dedicated like those of medieval times who created the Book of Kells, fashioned so lovingly in dimly-lighted cells that with no sense of urgency they were hardly aware that outside their windows like shadows on the glass the seasons passed. And Uncle Tim, they said: Uncle Tim with his own Books of Hours, Books of Kells, a diary, a log, a record and all unknowingly, something else - unwittingly, a portrait of himself.

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