Category Archives: Biographical

I Think His Name Was Johnny



It is strange how the human mind works.

This is a picture of a neighbor of mine, from years ago. I had a picture of us once. I took it in a moment in which he was feeling spontaneous. Jokingly, he asked to see it one afternoon and so I went inside and found it, handing it to him with a smile, so that he could look at it and make a wisecrack.

“Thanks,” he said, and put it in his pocket. I never saw that picture again.

This picture is one I took when I came out of my place and saw him sitting on the stoop, watching life pass him on the nearby street.


He lived near me and I spoke to him at least 100 times. While I have the ability to newly discover his name, I don’t recall what it is without using the power of the internet. He spoke with his hands, always, as his fingers moved through the air to document how much he had seen in his life.

I think his name was “Johnny,” and even as I tell myself that this is the case, I doubt my memory. I remember how animated he was when another neighbor left their car in the wrong gear. It rolled down the slight hill and smashed his older and meticulously-maintained older car. I also remember asking him for a lit cigarette (I didn’t smoke) and sticking it up one of my nostrils. He laughed so hard I thought he was going to need CPR.

He killed himself with a pistol as he sat mired in his loneliness, near the narrow road in that insufferably small town, where the community pool once existed. The road is no longer so narrow, but my memory remains constricted.

I felt stupid and selfish, watching the thunderstorm of police and bystanders near the road. His wife was there, waiting for the rush to subside. I drank at least 6 cups of coffee, one after another as word spread that he had killed himself. He had lived a fascinating life, one filled with great moments and great turmoil.

I feel like my own unseen and upcoming suffering erased him from my mind.

I see his picture in my photo archives. It picks at me for reasons that I can’t quite place.

I added the hyperrealistic effect to the colors because my memory of who he truly was has made its escape from my grasp.

A Day in 2006


As you get older, photo albums become museum exhibits, each page containing an increasing number of people who’ve departed. From life to history, exchanged laughter to memory, photos measure our metamorphosis into two-dimensional objects, even as our minds scramble to keep the growing blank spaces filled in.

One day, if we are lucky, loving hands will choose our picture to honor a place in their album. We’ll sit in frozen repose, our life encapsulated inside a rectangular slice of paper. Maybe someone will look at our features and shed a tear for our passing and perhaps even laugh uproariously as we are remembered in our glory of ridiculousness.

In time, though, even those hands will succumb to frailty and find their own place in an album chosen by another friend or family member. We are each a link in the perpetual chain of human memory.

This is not a call-to-action, nor another “carpe diem.” Rather, it’s a call-to-inaction.

I ask you to sit in silence and look at the arc of your life, one measured in mirth, connections in time, and moments. It’s impossible to reflect on one’s own life without appreciating the immensity of days most of us have been given. Each passes us by, though, and afterward, we are left to wonder how they slithered past.

Your series of rectangles will wait there for you, somewhere in the nebulous fog of time, even if you reach then unprepared.

We ask for things when moments always suffice.
P.S. This is a picture I took years ago, in 2006. I was feeding the ducks and the half-submerged and hesitant turtles lurking near the bank of the pond. The lady and boy were visiting. While it was her clothing which caught my attention, it was the incredible wit of the young boy who stole the moment. He was a delight and my wife kneeled down to discuss important matters of zoology with him. I didn’t snap a picture because I was overwhelmed by the interesting people and moment. I don’t remember any other details about the encounter, except that it was a late Monday afternoon.


The Very Thing


*Written as a response to someone who says it shouldn’t be done this way…

“Very,” I whisper into the wind. I look up for a second, seeing a world devoid of words, yet never at a loss for perfect expression.

Around me, a gathering mist settled and the air moved with a tinge of chilliness. My coffee had long since turned cold, absently set aside and neglected.

Sitting on the park bench at the edge of the woods, I read the words which had cascaded from my mind, through my fingers, and onto the paper on my lap. I imagined the voice of a high school English teacher, almost deafening with assumed authority. In my head, I heard her lecture us all about using words lazily. Her principal argument was that our language was an ocean of possible variations and that we owed it to ourselves to avoid banality. “Treat the word ‘very’ like a curse,” she would say, and “Choose a word more powerfully suited to your audience.” Her age granted her solemnity in her own mind; to me, it was a reminder that she was the gatekeeper to the way things once were. She erred on the side of the thesaurus, confident that complexity equated to prose. I learned her dance and to use words like suffocating blankets.

Hearing her ghostly voice in my head, I reminded myself that sometimes language was a thing of comfort and better-suited toward a regression toward simplicity. For most of us, “mom” was our first word, and words such as “fireplace,” although unimaginative, evoke emotional memories. The basic words survive precisely because of their universal connections. Since then, I’ve heard and read a 1,000 admonitions regarding words of simplicity or substitution and ‘very’ inevitably sits on the list. I read them all in the shrill voice of an unimaginative authority. They are not wrong, I will admit. They are not right, either, not entirely, and certainly not to me.

For all the thousands of childhood hours spent inside books, most of the authors wrote and spoke to me as friends and none seemed to evoke the authoritarian spectacle of my teacher. Rules were made to be understood and then discarded as needed, or locked away inside a private box until they learned to bend and behave to the will of the person giving them new life. Magic forever resided in the outlying edges of words.

For much of my life, my amateurish efforts have helped me overcome the grip of perfectionism which seems to haunt people who earn their living sharing words with strangers. I look at words like I might an expanse of piano keys, each key assigned a note but when played as a whole, an infinite stream of beauty. “Very” was one of those piano keys, easily substituted, but placed there with reason. Today’s melody might be one of majestic and operatic symmetry; tomorrow’s might be suited for an intimate dinner. I would not presume to tell the man clearing my sidewalks of snow that the roads were perilous. He’d rather know that they are risky.

Even as I sat on the bench, quiet and unmoving, an entire universe was swirling in my thoughts. I thought of my past, of my youth, and of the slow pop of the logs in the wood stove of the shotgun house in a field of cotton. That thing was both heat and community, a thing beyond its confines.

“How very beautiful, this thing of memory,” I whisper.

The thing that belied my simplicity of language was also somehow responsible for juxtaposing creativity and expression.

May your ‘very’ be forever at your lips, even if you’re told it shouldn’t be.


Mistaken Feline Identity

I was in the bathroom trying to shave, a doubtful enterprise at best, especially after being sick and deciding that my appearance was even less important for several days. My neck resembled a cheese left long-forgotten in the bottom drawer of the fridge.

My wife Dawn energetically opened the bathroom door, regardless of my current state, and breathlessly asked, “Why is Güino outside?” (Güino is our tuxedo cat and our current landlord.)

My mind began racing, attempting to imagine the scenario wherein the cat dematerialized and passed through a wall – or in a more sinister fashion, learned how to open the front door.

Dawn raced to the living room window facing the street and peered through the blinds. “He was looking at me through the office window!”

Just as I decided that I foolishly let him escape through some unimaginable series of events, Dawn exclaimed, “That’s not Güino!”

I almost regret that Dawn figured out the bewildering puzzle before cat-whispering the outside doppelganger strange cat into the house, only to be face-to-face with Güino.

What a strange tale we might have told, as our house morphed from a solo to a duet, cat fur flying in the background, one of the rarest cases of mistaken feline identity.

P.S. Dawn already wears glasses.

Living in a Glass Castle

This isn’t simply a review of the movie “The Glass Castle,” nor is it simply a biographical reflection. It is, however, an unsettling hybrid of a portion of myself and the movie. Like all things observed, our own peculiar perspective discolors the content of what we occupy ourselves with: our own face and temperament are reflected in the things we deceive ourselves into believing to be mere entertainment. While I was entertained by the movie, I was also stabbed in a way that few movies can achieve.

I knew the movie preview was slightly misleading and that it had artfully avoided showing the underbelly of what pervaded Jeannette Wall’s life. To be honest, I had forgotten the memoir, even though it was a book that I very much wanted to read a few years ago. After seeing the movie, I can appreciate just how much of the grime, horror, and shock was dropped from it. People love great stories but often recoil when the truth is laid bare. When a good writer is determined to be both honest and unflinching, some stories become too overwhelming. It’s quite the art to begin telling a story that people want to hear, but cringe as they lean in to hear the words they know will hurt them in a way that’s difficult to see.

Perversely, I was relieved to know that my instinct about the movie being sanitized was accurate. Much of the nuance was powerful and authentic; as a student of family violence, a couple of the scenes seemed disjointed to me. Perhaps it is madness to expect continuity in craziness but once you’ve filtered out the normalcy, even lunacy has its rules.

In the movie, Woody Harrelson as the dad is arguing with his daughter, insisting that she’s a revisionist to history. This pathos is one I’ve long held close to my own heart in my adult life. While I sometimes fail to steer away from revisionism, I at least know that I’m not impervious to the tendency. So many others, though, they cling to their idealized fantasies about people in our lives. They frequently take out their acquired masks and repaint them, all to tell themselves that the monsters in their past weren’t really monsters, just tormented and troubled people. People who do their best to tell their stories and to unmask their monsters are a threat to their self-identity. I want to see the monsters, both in my own life and in the lives of others. It does no one an injustice if you are sharing a piece of yourself. Each one of us owns our stories, even those pieces which darkly silhouette our lives.

I’ve written before that sometimes I observe the world and am amazed that most people seem to be unpoisoned by their own secret boxes, the ones some of us have managed to swallow, surpass, and mostly overcome. In my case, I judge most other people to be novices regarding human violence. Knowing the box is there at all robs me of a portion of my ability to live freely. It’s ridiculous to assert otherwise. If you don’t have such a box, feel glad, rather than doubtful that others had the necessity of constructing one to avoid fragmenting into incoherence.


After the movie and during the credits, the dad Rex was shown in grainy black and white, peering out of an abandoned building’s window, ranting about capitalism and property. It was clear that he was much angrier, unmoored, and detached than the movie would have us assume. My wife wouldn’t know it as she sat mesmerized beside me, but it was a visceral punch for me. The flash of recognition I experienced in seeing Rex as he really was versus Woody Harrelson’s impersonation of him almost untethered me. Seeing his as a ‘real’ person somehow unmasked the subtleness and veneer of the movie. Gone was the pretense of nobility or great acts. I could only see the residue of a base life, like the yellowish tint which permeates a smoker’s life. No matter what good Rex Hall might have done in his life, he was a part of what allowed children to be damaged. That any of them took this stew of disaster and emerged with great lives is a testament to our creativity and resolve.

So many of us had family members who would only marginally fit our definitions of what it means to be human. We individually adjust, trying to come to terms with the insanity of anger, knowing in our own hearts that some people are permanently damaged. We fight against the ignorance of others, the ones who insist that forgiveness and acceptance are on our plate and must be consumed. We know that anyone who hasn’t been in a room with a family member and suffered the inconvenience of knowing that our loved one truly might kill us in that moment cannot ever be reached on an emotional level. Until you’ve felt the metaphorical knife, the blade is just a vague unknowable threat.

One of my demons in life has been my aversion to a return to the crucible of anger and those who live there. I’ve been happiest when I’ve been able to reject such associations and cut the strings, and in some cases to stretch them. It’s always a fight, though, because those still melting in the crucible fight to keep you tethered to it as well. I no longer judge as harshly as I once did. Each of us decides for ourselves how our lives should proceed. Seeing the strings is all too often the first step to either severing them or ignoring them. I don’t take kindly to the angry insistence that I pay homage to the monstrous portions of my own past. I’m well aware that I have more than a few people who would gladly bash my head against a stone if it would mean they could resume believing the fantasy that my stories expose as untruths.

I know that intelligence forces us to do strange things with horror and mistreatment. Most of us buttress our sanity by converting these things into humor. It’s a skill I’ve honed for a few decades. As the credits rolled, I watched as Jeannette’s brother joked about his father’s memory, even as he sat at a table with his siblings who shared his past. I can’t speak for him. I do note, however, the brush of nostalgia in his words. Time is what grants us peace and the ability to laugh. Because life goes on, the fists and shattered bottles on the kitchen floor fade. We count our scars, both seen and unseen, and put one foot in front of another.

And sometimes, we watch a flawed movie that somehow reaches a talon inside our clenched hearts and ruptures a piece of what we’ve imprisoned away from the light. Because I know that the author of “The Glass Castle” had a life which was much worse than the movie revealed, my memory is slightly more forgiving. It makes me glad that the grandmother’s legacy has been forever stained and that some things were allowed to slither out from under the rocks to be viewed.

That a memoir such as “The Glass Castle” was written warms my heart. Jeannette Walls overcame and used her gift to sling arrows out into the world. Arrows are both weapon and tools, and she has done a great service to her own survival. The discomfort people might feel is an acknowledgment of how much suffering happens in the world. Next door, across town, wherever people live and breathe.








Family History is Literally What I Choose To Make It

This post has no point, no moral or objective. It’s just a fact.

My paternal grandmother had just turned 14 when she was married. When she married, my grandfather was much older than her. Grandmother had just turned 14 and although she needed a signatory to marry, even the marriage license states she was older than was true.

Even in Arkansas, it seems, people were always concerned about a scandal. When I was very young, I knew my dad wasn’t in Alaska, even though he told me this more as a drunken joke than an explanation. He was in prison in Indiana, for what amounted to a minor crime compared to a few things he had done, one of which resulted in someone’s premature demise. The amusing thing is that my Grandmother Terry was petrified of gossip about her and her family.

I’ve written from time to time about it and other family stories. Like so much of the family lore, I learned of the existence of hidden secrets via hushed silences, sideways glances, and anger when direct questions were asked.

As I grew older, I knew that one day research and DNA would ‘out’ much of the stories some family members didn’t to be revealed. Most of those family members have died, leaving a tantalizing list of questions that might never be answered.

But I do know this: much of what made them nervous under scrutiny were legitimately embarrassing stories and behavior. Their refusal to be honest is a much bigger problem than anything they tried to conceal.

Lately, I’ve seen so many stories which skirt the edges of my grandmother’s story. Some of the same people who seem shocked by the revelations in the public realm are the very same who worked so tirelessly to conceal the truth in my family’s foggy past. They “cluck” at others, all the while knowing their own past is littered with much worse.

Isn’t that the way it always seems to be?

The danger some of my departed family seems to not understand is that by failing to divulge some of the family secrets, they have left their legacy in the hands of someone like me.

If I don’t get answers, I’ll make it up, based on what most likely happened. Given the trajectory of what I do know, that gives me license to go in any direction, no matter how dire, without possible complaint from those who constantly shouted, “Hush!” at me.

Family history, it seems, is literally what I choose to make it.

Guest Post: Erika Saboe – A Musical Memory



When I was 15 I had a very emotional time. I was horribly sad. Enough so that I asked my parents to commit me. What I was going through seemed so insurmountable I could not fathom working through it. My parents did not ignore my plea. And for a month I was institutionalized.

It was almost like a twisted resort of sorts… I had a private room but a shared bathroom, I didn’t mind that. My days were scheduled for me. When meals occurred, when activities happened, etc.

When you arrived you were stripped of all boons. No music or pleasantries you were used to. This was before cellphones or internet. My makeup was taken away. One could break the mirror in a compact or the the glass a nail polish bottle was made of and use it as a weapon or device to cause pain. The bathroom mirror was a sheet of metal to allow us a way to see ourselves and ready for the day without being dangerous.

Walkmans were big then. Cassettes. We didn’t have cd’s at this point. They were a privilege. So any kid who checked in lost theirs until they earned it back. You did well you raised a level and got privileges.

For some odd reason…. they did not find mine when checking my luggage. They took everything else but… my Walkman was still there with one cassette in it.

What did I do when seeing so? I stood on my bed and lifted the ceiling tile. Put it above me. Every single night while I was there I would elevate, push my fingers and lift that tile. Pull that Walkman out and listen to Crosby Stills & Nash. I have no idea how they didn’t catch me but I am so thankful they didn’t.

This song, it played so much it has become a trigger for the memory.

I’m aware now, as an adult, that the world is a painful place even when usually comforting. Sadness… it is nothing more than an emotion we feel every day.

Nonetheless this song I wear close to my sleeve due to the memory shared.

Crosby, Stills & Nash – Helplessly Hoping

Guest Post: Erika Saboe – A Cigarette Memory

erika recess smoke.jpg



The following is a social media post by one of the best personal essay writers I’ve encountered. This one was written without any idea it would be retransmitted elsewhere. I can only imagine how vivid the words would be if she didn’t write casually. The pictures are ones I made to help her see humor in her struggle to stop smoking.

I’ve been a smoker the majority of my life. I grew up in an era of it being perfectly acceptable. I can remember being 11 or 12 and walking to the rinky-dink gas station across Old York Rd and buying a pack for about a dollar. Smoking on the porch of the lunch commons at my high school. I actually remember smoking on an airplane!!!

My father was diagnosed with stage IIIB lung cancer in 1999 or 2000. I was living in Memphis at the time and probably smoked about 2 or 3 packs a day. This was when you could smoke just about everywhere still without stigma. I didn’t know what IIIB meant, had to look it up on the interweb I had on my Sega Dreamcast (ha!). Then I really got it, like a cinderblock to the face.

My dad asked me to quit and it was a no brainer. I stopped that very day. Was there ever a better reason? NO. I also chose to end my relationship at the time and haul ass home to care for him while he was sick. I spent the next 6 or so months by his side until he passed. And after stayed smoke-free for a good long time. Years.

One day I saw an old friend I hadn’t had the pleasure of hanging with for a long time. He smoked. I threw an ashtray on my table and said, “I’ll have one with you for old time’s sake.” Stupidest idea ever. It started me smoking again for another 15 years. I tried many times to quit. It never took.

I always said, “How will I find a better reason than the first time when my dad was told he was going to die and asked me to quit?” And anytime I tried to quit it seemed impossible. Nothing was enough to make it stick more than one day.

I hated smoking but loved it. I rationalized that it was one of the few vices I had that gave me momentary peace and comfort, but what a line of bullshit that was to simply give me an out to not try. I thought about quitting again all the time. No day was ever right, no reason ever great enough.

I was at the tail end of a work week. Got a fabulous new job a month or so before. Told myself when THAT happened it was my sign to quit but even then I couldn’t. Not a big enough reason to my psyche I guess lol.

Anyway, I was running low on smokes and had this crazy idea to just not buy any more when they ran out. I was already contemplating heading to the convenience store to get another pack when I realized it was Mother’s Day. Thought to myself, “let’s give mom a gift she will really appreciate and stop.” I’ll admit I wasn’t 100% sold but figured I would give it a try.

And shortly after was about out the door to replenish after weakening when I saw what the date was on my watch. It hit like a prize fighter’s knockout punch. It was also my late father’s birthday. Wow. What a crazy coincidence… or was it? I kept looking for a big enough reason to stop again and never could, but it was Mother’s Day and my dad’s birthday all at once. Could the stars align any better to tell me it was the day without being as tragic as the first time? No.

It has been 4 months. 4 months after 15 years of smoking since the 1st quit. 30+ years of smoking total. I haven’t caved once and while at times walking by someone smoking smells delicious (while also repulsive) I have no desire aside from Pavlovian urges brought on by ingrained routines.

It was so hard to quit for so long. And then a day presented itself. That’s really all it takes. Finding the day or reason that flips the switch. When that occurs it becomes the easiest thing imaginable.

If you want to smoke I don’t judge you. It was a vice I loved for a long time. As I said there was an age where it was par for the course. I hope for the people I know who still do and want to stop that they keep their eyes open for the perfect day, and I really want it to be bittersweet like my most recent, rather than tragic and traumatic like the first.



organge yellow really big.jpg

A Snortee For Someone Encountered

aaa uncle buck scanned (88)

A few days ago, I was at the liquor store. (These are places which sell alcohol, for those who’ve never heard of such a thing.) I had heard an almost-familiar voice as I wandered the aisles, searching for the things which I already knew to be in their places. I looked to the side and saw an older gentleman, wallet out and open, fingering his money. He had a couple of tens and a few ones. He had a bottle of wine perched on one of the shelves. It was a nice one, a happy medium between cat urine and the kind one might drink at a million dollar wedding. Like men of his generation, he was carefully dressed, his white hair cut short and his shirt without a wrinkle.

Seeing him and hearing his voice reminded me so much of my Uncle Buck, who could be as jovial as a box of delighted kittens. To be frank, he also died from complications resulting from alcoholism. He and my aunt had decided a few years before his death to engage in a race to the bottom of their shared bottle. He won. But as troubled as his life was, he gifted me the word “snortee,” his humorous way of saying ‘a small drink.’ It was only after he retired that alcohol became his consuming passion. Yes, I recognize the incongruity of the word ‘snortee’ for someone who passed in this manner.

I told the cashier that I was going to pay for the elderly gentleman’s wine in addition to mine. Rarely do I question my impulses to pay it forward; so often they’ve rewarded me with reminders of the incredible overlapping of our lives.

“Are you friends or acquaintances?” she asked.

“No, I’ve never seen him before. But I bet he’s going to be tickled when he finds out someone bought his bottle for him.”

After ringing me up, the clerk toggled the conveyor and dragged the gentleman’s bottle forward and scanned his bottle.

“Hey, miss, that’s mine,” the man said.

“This man bought your bottle for you,” the clerk said and smiled, pointing at me.

The smile started at the older man’s chin and stretched halfway across the room. “Well, I’ll be. I never thought of getting a surprise at the liquor store, but I thank you and will most assuredly pay it forward!” He was beaming.

As I left, I turned to watch as the man strode with pride from the liquor store, as best as he could given his age. To my surprise, he opened the door to a minivan exactly like one my aunt and uncle had owned.

I’m not certain why I know it, but I am certain that the encounter pleased him and that he was contemplating it as he drove way, his life bifurcating away from mine.

Uncle Buck would have loved to share a laugh with that gentleman, in another life. In some small mundane yet wonderful way, we all saluted one another, even though one of us had long passed beyond this place.

The picture is of me on the left and Uncle Buck on the right.

A Lesson in “Taking Care”


Recently I briefly wrote about an English teacher who trusted me with his original novel. His name was Harold McDuffie, an unassuming-looking man with what I would call a policeman’s mustache. While his teacher style was dry, I could see that he appreciated literature. His love for words didn’t translate well, not in terms of enthusiasm or charisma. I think in part this might be because high school students weren’t his ideal audience. These opinions are all mine, of course. For all I know, he might have anticipated each day to interact with young people. Works by Melville or Faulkner, however, tended to be at the bottom of the playlist for the average high school student.

One day, without much fanfare, Mr. McDuffie stopped me and asked me if I would be interested in reading a novel he had written. He warned me that it had some mature content and that I needed to be careful with that aspect of it. I think he knew that my home life had exposed me to things beyond the contents of his novel but he was smart enough to know that it was a risk, one that I would not expose him to. I was flabbergasted and honored. Reading the words someone chooses to put on paper inevitably lets us get to know them better and connects the mechanics of translating ideas to words and content.

After I wrote a lengthy interpretation of a book, Mr. McDuffie had asked me why I had not shortened my homework. I told him that I thought writing was easy. All one has to do is to put pen to paper and not stop. (Later, Steve Martin stole my idea for the New Yorker and one of his books.)  “What about the mistakes?” Mr. McDuffie asked. “There aren’t any if you refuse to see them that way.” It turns out this is a common life theme for many of us.

Later, he brought in a printer’s box full of several hundred linen sheets of paper. I had never held an original unpublished work before and effect was mesmerizing. The title of the book was “Taking Care,” and the main character’s name was Budd Clevenger. The plot involved a drunk-driving death and the cycle of vengeance that followed. Drunk driving was a topic woven all through my childhood: my father had killed a cousin of mine while drunk, I had been in a few accidents involving alcohol, and my parents had each been rewarded with multiple DWIs. They were also involved in the DWI “fixing” scandal that sent a notable lawyer to prison.

As many things as I’ve forgotten, I will never forget the excitement of taking the novel home, opening the box, and starting on page one with the inside cover sheet. I had to carefully pick out sheet, read it, and lay it face down on the other side of the box. Despite the book’s length, I read it in one evening. One thing about the novel that caught me was that it was one which took place in Northwest Arkansas, traversing places I might have known.

Even as a work of fiction, Mr. McDuffie did as so many authors had done before him: he secreted away little slices of himself into his novel. While I had no way to know which pieces might be fiction and which might be truth, it opened my eyes to him as a real person struggling with the same life issues that everyone else had. He was a descriptive and gifted writer.

Over the years, I have done deep web searches to see if McDuffie’s novel ever made it to the shelves or to a screenplay adaptation. His novel deserved such a chance. While it was no work by Faulkner, it was worthy of being shared and read; because it wasn’t Faulkner, though, it would have appealed to a broader range of interested readers.

That I remember the title of the book and so much about it should indicate the level of attention I gave to the novel. While I read many books in Mr. McDuffie’s class, I read those with a casual indifference granted to schoolwork; as for his original unpublished novel, I gave it the reverence it deserved. It would have been sinful to have not shown appreciation for the gift of sharing that my English teacher granted me.

Beyond the act of sharing the book, he shared a moment with me. It turns out to be one which lingers. Thanks, Mr. McDuffie.

(PS: I also have some stories about good and strange times I had in his wife’s classes, too)