Mitch stepped out of the truck and looked over toward the farmhouse. He saw his grandma there, sitting on the porch, swinging slowly back and forth. She had a sweet, gentle smile on her face as she enjoyed the summer breeze. Her dog, Flower, was there at her feet, sleeping lightly, and Mitch’s mama was visible in the window behind, in the kitchen – wiping her hands on a towel as she saw him for the first time.
She walked quickly round and through the screen door onto the porch.
“Mitchy,” she called out, drying her hands on her tea towel, “your father’s in the barn. Go give ‘im a hand before supper.”
He nodded. He’d dreaded this ever since their argument at breakfast, but he’d certainly known it was coming. He stepped away from the truck and headed toward the barn, his rough boots splashing up rain from the tall grass with every step.
He stepped up to the gate then and placed his hands on its cold steel pipes. As he wrapped his hands around them he hesitated, wondering how his father would be – cold and hard like these pipes, or protective like the job they did.
He shook his head as if to dispel the metaphor, then reached and took hold of the latch. He hesitated for just a moment then sprung the release, swung the gate open, and stepped through into the yard.