By 3:00 the pools of rain water have dried up and people are starting to come out into their yards and the streets again. I'm on my way home from walking my dogs. The smell of ribs grilling over apple wood drifts through the air to me. I pass a family gathered together for a picnic in the neighborhood park.
Dad's hanging back in the shade of a big Cottonwood tree, working the grill and sneaking sips from a sweating bottle?He's in the midst of taking a long pull of beer?when he sees me passing by. He makes a move to hide the bottle. I've disturbed him, intruded into that sacred space he's found in front of the grill. It's a space filled with wisps of smoke curling up to chase away the twin ghosts of work and worry. The disturbance is brief. Presently a wave of ease settles over his face. Everything about him returns to the way it was before I came by. He seems to be saying "Ahhh fuck it, it's Sunday afternoon and I'm here to enjoy myself" as he raises the bottle to his lips again.