An excerpt from M. Randal O’Wain’s new essay collection Meander Belt.
He smiles when the lock clicks free. I know now the pleasures of pride; I can imagine the sense of accomplishment this sound must have provided my father, a thirty-year-old construction worker—keys mean trust, respect. Keys also mean home and so I follow his hand with suspicion.
The year before Paul MacLeod, the owner of Graceland Too, died of natural causes on his porch just two days after he shot and killed a local house painter, I drove my partner, Mesha, down South so that she could experience Paul’s museum firsthand.
The evening Jimmy died my father was late picking me up from a Webelos meeting. I sat under a Japanese maple and practiced the square knot, the last knot I needed to master before receiving my Arrow of Light badge. Then I could enter Boy Scouts at ten, instead of eleven. Useful for survival, the square knot works as a binding knot. Good for clamping a wound but not the best for carrying things or securing them.