Part II: Journeys (Chapter 44)


I hide behind a Japanese Blood Maple, to observe without being observed.

My family mills around the pavilion, trying to find their places and figure out where to set up their buffets and plug in their crockpots.

Sal has organized the reunion to reflect the different branches of the family, while keeping in mind the feuding factions. Sal sometimes sells herself short, but she’s good at organizing people.

If nothing else, the nitty-gritty details of the day will run smoothly.

The adults segregate themselves even more decisively, according to minute family units: Mallorys with Mallorys, O’Flahertys with O’Flahertys, Bacons with Bacons, and O’Tooles with O’Tooles.

But the children don’t observe these adult conventions – they simply mingle among each other, playing games, holding hands, twirling around, and singing kid songs:

Ring around the rosie

A pocket full of posies,

Ashes, ashes!

We all fall down.


Ring-a-ring o’ roses,

A pocket full of posies

A-tishoo, a tishoo!

We all fall down.

Father Dan has just arrived, sweeping royally into the area, his red corkscrew curls contrasting with the black sheen of his priestly garb.

He hasn’t seen me yet, and I’ll keep it that way for as long as possible.

I was naive to expect he’d be a no-show.

He’s too much of a family celebrity for him not to make his grand entrance.

While I have completed my physical journey here to Winnehaha, my Siouxland Mecca, my real journey, my psychic journey to a place of midnight blue and nightmare, has just begun.

It will be a grueling one.

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