A Practical Farmer

“What are you doing with all that money,”  JJ’s father asked.
“I’m buying a farm.”
“You’re becoming a farmer?”
“No.”
“Then why would you buy a farm?”
JJ sighed.  “I’m buying a farm and restoring the fields to native forest.  And I’ll live in the house.”
JJ’s father considered this, looking into the distance as if considering a mountain range, though there was only the dining room wall.  There were pictures of the young JJ with combed bangs and clip-on neck ties.  There were pictures of the family at the beach, his mother covered from head to toe against the sun.  She looked  most sickly out in nature, especially in the sunshine.  Not many smiles, JJ thought.  A grim intensity seemed to be the family vibe.  JJ knew the intensity was from the duty of posing and looking like a family without a dying mother.
“Are you doing drugs again?”
“Not yet.  Maybe starting today though.”
“Always so flippant.”
“Dad, things are good.  No drugs, no issues.”
“And no direction.”
JJ rose from the table.  “This has been nice.”  He hesitated but JJ’s father just looked at his hands clasped on the table cloth.  There was always an embroidered table cloth in this dining room, even now, without mom here.  “Y’know,” JJ said.  “Some would say you need to get moving too.”
They were both very still as the words hung there.  JJ expected a caustic remark, or at least a, “Please leave now”.  But JJ’s father was just quiet, looking at his hands.  His jaw was clenched and JJ noticed that his hands were not just clasped, they were gripping one another, fingertips flexing into the back of the opposite hand.  Then his father sighed and there was a loosening, a kind of deflation.  He looked up at JJ and his eyes were moist.
“Your Uncle Joe has been after me to come to Florida and live there.  There’s a condo.”  He looked away.
“I want to help,” said JJ.  “Whatever it takes.”
“It’s not too much.  Your mother always wanted to go where it’s warm.”
“Whatever it takes,” JJ said.  He welled up but would not let the tears come.  Instead, he sat down at the table with his father to talk about the logistics of moving on.

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