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  • Work on the farm filled our days, but at night we relaxed.

    Sometimes we visited aunts and uncles. While the adults droned on in the house, my cousins and brother and I explored the dangerous reaches of the night. Were there really monsters behind the bushes? We could scream and run and giggle (our way lighted by clouds of fireflies) without disturbing the neighbors, who lived far away across the fields.

    Sometimes Dad would pile the entire family in the car and we'd go to the Tastee Freez for ice cream. I couldn't see over the counter, and underneath it was a world of webs and insects. Lacewings and moths crowded the glass above, unearthly in the yellowish-green light. I'd watch while Dad ordered. Then we'd sit in the car and talk while we ate -- the darkness somehow made the ice cream taste better. One night I remember telling my mother I wanted to have 15 children. She talked me out of that ...

    In the summer, we got to ride in the back of the pickup -- as long as we sat on the truckbed -- the wind rushing by us, cool and strong.

    And when we drove home, I would kneel on the back seat and prop my chin on my arms so I could watch out the back window, where the smiling moon always followed us home.
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