Father was disgruntled with the crops and with his children. It was fall, 1939, and dinner at the grange would not show his family well. It seemed they had been hungry for most of the year, and feasting with some of the richer families of the valley to celebrate the harvest, would expose them to the critical view of the community.
His first son, Donald, a quiet, kind, willow of a boy, took care of the small farm. But his second son, Kenneth, just seventeen, was a beautiful, skinny, wisp of will power who wanted to be a flyer. He wants to leave his folks and fly off into the clouds, the old man grumbled to himself as he looked at his five other children who followed him around as though hopeful of some morsel of food that might indicate better times were ahead. But the more they followed, the more his language became biting or off-putting, having hooks or knobs by which the younger children learned to keep a safe distance.
You'll never amount to much, he told Ken a few days before the grange dinner. Head always in the clouds, he muttered under his breath as the boy stiffened and walked off.
As his mother helped prepare the food with the other women in the kitchen at the grange hall, happy to be with her neighbors, Kenny came to her, hugged and kissed her on the cheek, then left to up in the Army-Aircorps.