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It is 6:59 in the morning on a nice fall day. The sun is out; the leaves have already begun falling and the temperature is in the mid 50s. It is Saturday and the weekend is already looking bright. A minute later there is an alarm clock blast and Richard quickly turns it off. His room is always cold but for some reason that’s the way he likes to sleep. It could be the middle of winter and he will have the fan on. He sits on the edge of his bed, puts his glasses on and stays there for a few minutes—patiently waiting for the cobwebs to leave his tired, aching head. Finally he gets up and gets dressed, putting on a pair of clean, faded jeans, a T-shirt and a zippered hooded sweater. Richard then proceeds to go downstairs to the kitchen, where his wife of 47 years, Vera, already has pot of coffee brewing. The strong, rich aroma has quickly enveloped the room. “Dick, did you sleep well last night?” Vera asks. As Richard reaches for the medicine cabinet, he replies, “No, all night long my allergies felt like a locomotive was running through my head.” Richard starts swallowing some pills, some for his allergies and some for his diabetes, slightly throwing his head back with each pill as if to insure it would go down quickly. Richard talks to Vera for a few more minutes, small talk, nothing much. He is a man of few words.

He walks outside to feed his horses. The air is crisp and as he strolls he can hear the crunching of leaves beneath his feet. In the barn, the sun is shining through the cracks in the roof. This makes him feel good and alive, knowing it is a great day to view the country on horseback. Richard comes back in the house, sits down at the kitchen counter and starts watching the news. “Hey Dick, do you want to wake Michael and ask him if he wants to go with us to Darrell’s for breakfast?” “Yeah, I’ll just finish my cup of coffee.” It is now close to 8 o’clock and Richard goes and wakes Michael and asks him. Michael replies, “No, Pop, I’m tired and I have a football game later.” As Michael is saying this, he reaches over to make sure his alarm clock is off, and as he does, his sleeve comes up on his arm, clearly showing a tattoo.

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