Knowledge / by Cyle Talley

My father's father's father knew how to tend to the land, and goad it into bearing acres of produce. He knew how to shoe a horse, birth a calf, fix a wheel, stockpile for winter, raze a barn, and be married to the same woman for 61 of his 80 years. 

My father's father knew how to go to war. He knew how to storm a beach. He knew how to come back. He knew how to lose himself in school, and then medical school, and then a residence, and then his patients. He knew how to fight disease. He knew how to give people bad news, and how to set his hand on their shoulder, and he knew how to lose his wife to the only wound he couldn't fix: himself.  

My father knew how to throw a party. He knew how to be the sun in your universe, to smile and make you feel as though you were the only person that mattered. He knew how to mix a cocktail, pair wine with a meal, and how to wear a suit. He knew how to pick the most beautiful woman in the room and whisk her off of her feet and make her his wife and the mother of his two sons. He knew how to make that woman weep when she found him with another woman and then another and then another until she ran out of tears and decided to match him affair for affair and their bedposts became like scoreboards: 4-2, 4-5, 5-7, 7-7, 9-8, 10-10. The competition had to stop when he fell ill. She nursed him until he died, still a young man, at 43. She left after my younger brother graduated from high school. Neither of us knows how to find her, or if she wants to be found, or if we want to find her. 

My brother knows how to make money. You can thank him for the housing bubble. He lives on the coast, in Carmel. 

I know that I shouldn't miss anyone, but I know that I do.