10/14/10: Way to shame me into updating again by commenting, people who comment! (Seriously, though, hi, welcome, and pull up one of the splintery old orange crates that we use for seating 'round these parts seein' as we can't afford no fancy chairs.)

The rules from
here still apply.

Monday, January 29, 2007


The room smelled of sawdust and machine oil, of old sweat and the ghosts of a thousand fresh-mown lawns. Marie couldn't remember a time when it had ever been otherwise. She might have grown up, and grown away, and left home to live all the way across the country, but this had always been her father's space, all down the years and decades.

One full wall was taken up with his hat collection, hung from rows of pegs that went from her waist to well over her head. As a little girl she could spend hours in here with him, pointing to one hat after another, asking where did you get this one, when did you get it, tell me about it. Even then he had had an impressive collection. They were baseball caps, mostly -- promotional items from long-since-defunct farm-supply companies; souvenirs from places he had visited; gifts given him for dozens of birthdays and Christmases and Father's Days. Other dads got ties; hers got hats.

She pulled one down from the wall, turning it over in her hands and smiling a little. This had been one of his favorites, and even now the scent of sweat and Old Spice seemed to issue faintly from its worn fabric. He'd retired from the sawmill back in '86, after thirty-five years of working there and eight of actually running the place. This hat had been his parting gift from his former employees, more meaningful than any gold watch. "SAW BOSS", it read across the front. Their nickname for him at the mill. Marie smiled, remembering him describing it to her over the phone. He was usually so reserved, which made his excitement over the gift all the more touching.

Carefully Marie replaced the hat back on its peg, then looked around the room one more time, breathing in the air of the room where her father had spent so much of his free time over the years. Then she looked toward the doorway. "Yes, mama?"

Her mother attempted a smile. "Are you ready, dear? We have to leave pretty soon. Don't want to be late to the -- the funeral."

Marie crossed the room to give her mother a brief hug. Then she nodded. "I'm ready, mama. Just wanted to say goodbye."

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