After the grapes were all in and the raisins were picked up, boxed, and hauled away, my father’s attention turned to fall cleanup and house-painting chores. Always busy, everything in its right time and season. Oil-based, lead-based work. Paint thinner. Fumes. Open windows. Worried flies. The kitchen walls, the washroom — they stand out, as does the hat rack his older brother built before he was killed in the war. The hat rack was painted each time the walls were. All through my growing up years, it was by our back door. We still use it. It’s in our washroom now, near the door that leads out to the garage. We also have my uncle’s photo albums. Here he is at the old home place on Road 66 on the farm outside Dinuba, California, posing with one of his hot rods.
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