By Jennifer Brennock
- My father’s ashes
His remains came with me to the house with the first load. Houseplants, vacuum, bottle of whiskey, father. As I put the key in the lock for the first time, I am alone. This is the moment of a lifetime dream achieved. This is following the rules of social distancing; we experience alone the things that should be shared, the important moments that will never come again. I tell the box under my elbow, “I finally bought a house, Dad. Are you proud of me? I wish you were here.”
- The Convincer
The “convincer” is a foot-long section of broom handle with grooves carved into one end that is also painted red. My father gave me this to ostensibly to beat the shit out of anyone who messes with me. It is also good for propping open sticky windows of an old house.
- Seven bullets
I don’t know, but I was told that my dad kept the bullets inside the crucifix that hung on my parent’s bedroom wall. This seems the only character trait I would ever have to relay about him because it perfectly depicts his irreverence and reverence. He kept the gun in the closet. I remember leaning against his shotgun as a child while playing with his dress shoes. They were shiny and heavy and half my size. I loved the color—cordovan —and the smells of polish and leather. As I pushed them on the carpet, they were giant boats going to mysterious places. They took him to the places where he did not bring me along. Still today, the word “Tranz-ah-mer-ic-a” sounds like some kind of exotic locale in the sky. Unpacking, I put his bullets on my window sill in a jar with my sea glass. In the morning, the casings catch the light and reflect it on the ceiling. When I need a little courage, some kind of irreverence or reverence to make it all a little easier, I slide a bullet in my boot to keep it close.
Jennifer Brennock has enjoyed contributing to Voices of August for years, and she is grateful to George Rede for the open forum and this community of engaged readers and writers. George is listed in the Professional References section of her resume, which will be getting a lot of mileage in the next few months. A grantwriting consultant, Jennifer writes and teaches in Portland.
Tomorrow: “Living through history, then and now” | Eric Scharf