He smiles. He smiles with his eyes. His hats don’t fit and he likes them that way. The more starched-feeling, the better. His red plaid always paired with Old Spice. His hair never a color before gray. He has always been this way. To me.

He drives a giant tractor toy. It smells like earth and gasoline. Bubblegum wrappers and hay are cemented onto the floorboard. He feeds the cows. He looks at them like he knows them. He does. The ground turns into a stream with frogs and other things I’m afraid of. Everything is new. Everything is everything.

He is a man of the land. A human not afraid of the outside. It is a great place to be. Just be and swing. And collect cool rocks that look like golden nuggets. The uniform, again. Flannel. Sweater. Trucker hat. The epitome, deacon, of style.

We read. We read the same book. It’s about bears in a forest. Bears with empathy and curiosity, if I remember. Red, plaid flannel. Red chair. Cherry wood married with cherry red leather. Every man has their chair. I think bears like cherries.

We craft. He has a studio. Full of things to twist, knock, clank, glue, measure, cut, sniff, sneeze, and not touch. A stool is optional, available upon request. We make things. He likes to make things. I like to watch him make things. By things, I mean furniture. By furniture, I mean art.

It’s been years. I can’t remember how many, and I like it that way. I long to have your spirit.