: : : : : Life Lessons : : : : :
back to Minneapolis—near my parents—to take a writing
job with a magazine.
e park near the courthouse. It’s not
quite nine o’clock, but the sun is hard
“There’s a coffee shop.” My father
points. “I’ve got cash,” he says again. We
start across the street, momentarily blinded by the glittering
sun. Then we step up onto the opposite curb.
My father turns and raises his glasses, squinting down at
me. “It will be all right,” he says.
This is, literally, half the man who raised me. The father of
my youth loomed with an Orson Wellesian bulk. Now I look
at the shrunken old guy standing at the counter—brushy
eyebrows drawn together as he studies the latte menu—and
see a glimmer of the person I once knew.
He has always been unpredictable in a way I could neither
understand nor explain. Not long after my failed attempt at
accounting, my father happened across an essay I’d written.
He called me at work, where I was stacking trays. “You’re
going to writing school,” he said, as if we were resuming