Easter weekend—I met someone I’ll call Rebecca. She is mid-forties, smart, has a good job, and is newly engaged. She’s in town visiting her mother.
Rebecca’s biological parents died when she was two. Her grandmother started raising her, but died when Rebecca was five. Then, her uncle took her in. He overdosed and died the next year.
Talk about a string of tragedies. Rebecca would’ve gone into a foster care system, but she didn’t. The neighbors across the street adopted her. An elderly couple.
Rebecca says: “I remember riding on my dad’s lap when he was mowing the lawn. I was little, we were still getting to know each other...”
Seven-year-old Rebecca shouted above the noise of the lawnmower, “Thanks for being my dad!”
Her father turned the tractor off and said, “I don’t ever wanna hear you thank me again. A daughter doesn’t have to thank her dad for being her dad.”
Rebecca smiled at me. “I miss him every day.”
Earlier today, I was at the grocery store. There were three
men in line with tattoos on their forearms and necks. One man had a tattoo of a snake on his bald head.
The snake’s eyes seemed to follow me when I moved—sort of like the creepy painting my aunt Eulah has of Dale Earnhardt Jr., hanging in her den.
These men are former inmates. They are buying cartfuls of spare ribs for a cookout with other former-inmate friends.
“We’re not an organized group,” one man said. “We just try to have fun and be there for each other.”
This weekend, they’ll celebrate Easter, play guitars, play games, and talk. Then they’ll have a short class on how to operate cellphones.
“You wouldn’t believe how hard these @#$%ing phones are, man. Lot of us were still in when they got so popular. Some of us don’t know how to use’em.”…