My Father once told me a story:
To put it in perspective, at one point your mother and I were living in Salina…I had just lost my job, and it was snowing outside. I had been stupid and arrogant at the time, but now I was faced with the prospect of trying to find something, anything in town. I kept trying place after place, but it seemed I had been blackballed–the chief editor had really done me in. Snowing outside, jobless, and your sister had just been born.
We were young. We had our differences, but it was having a baby that perhaps brought that greatest sense of cohesion – or perhaps is what brought out the strongest sense of determination and desperation to make something happen. I mean, I couldn’t even get a job at the local hamburger place. There are times in your life when you’ll find yourself measuring your worth by standards other than service to your family–when you realize you’re in that place, and I pray to God it will be fleeting, run away from yourself as fast as you can. Run like hell.
Matthew’s strong, weathered arm reached out across the bank. Anthony leaned in close, as did I, and silently we watched as catfish darted in and about the sun beat waterway of the Tennessee River. Earlier that evening, while the afternoon heat still sat heavily and the sun was high, I had cautiously wandered up to this pair of fishermen; cautious so as not to disturb the tranquility that seemed to surround them. A good day’s work had brought in a catch of a dozen, and they were visibly satisfied. Matthew invited me to sit, and for an hour he, his son and I passed the time speaking of anything that came to mind; swiftly and completely making that elusive transition from stranger to friend to family.