To my right are photographs of his mother, his father, his grandfather.
His mom sits cross-legged on a lawn in front of a fence. The year is 1925. She's wearing a dress, but still she sits cross-legged on a lawn. I must take after her. Her head is cocked to one side, she grins, the hat is rakish.
The other photograph shows his dad and his grandfather. They are looking straight ahead, not smiling. They are wearing hunting caps and carry guns. Papaw points his gun to the ground, as he's supposed to. He was a preacher. Great-Grandfather points his gun out the right side of the frame, reckless. He has a pipe in his mouth. He raised cotton for cash, but otherwise grew vegetables and hunted in the woods.
My father yells in from the other room: "it was a hard life."
Coffee is fragrant, I hear the fire pop--it's fat wood.
I will go back in now and sit down and plan with my dad the oven sequence for tomorrow. The ham must go in by 6 to accomodate the stollen at 9 to be ready for the family as they arrive at 10, bearing their version of frankincense and myrrh: casserole dishes.
My life is blessed, sitting here at my father's desk, suddenly young and small.