Boj loved to walk down the white dirt road that bordered the family property. The gravel pathway was ground into the landscape by thirty years of farmer's trucks hauling seed to the field and crops to market. He knew almost everyone who passed him in their big old Ford trucks, their horse trailers rattling behind them, blowing up choking clouds of caliche dust.
Boj loved to walk down the roads in the light of the full moon. Few people drove that way after dark, so he always felt safe. In those days before fire ants fire flies lit the way, popping up in and out of the worthless hack-berry trees, the ones that volunteered their growth, usually wrapped up in your fence or entwined around a post you actually needed. You might have to restring the fence to get out the hack-berry trees, which did not even provide decent shade and only put out a sour berry sure to make your livestock turn up their noses.
Boj loved the century old oak trees best. The oaks seemed to him like the great-grandfathers of the woods. Their heavy trunks meant business. Drought could delay their growth but not stop it. Floods might damage their roots but they set themselves deep enough to wait out the crests. An oak seemed wise and good and indestructible.
Boj loved the way the road snaked around their homestead, curving gently so that it actually bordered their property on three sides, carved through the old farms of yesterday, obsequious to the rises and dips of the sandy loam that stretched out past their little town, west to the setting sun, out beyond Fort Worth, where the oak woods gave way to rolling hills and empty plains.
Boj loved the tucked in feeling he had walking down the white dirt road at dusk, when the evening moisture excited the salt deposits in the caliche and the dust settled down for a night's sleep. He stopped his sneezing then and followed the road around his homesite, in love with the earth, secure in the snugly arms of his childhood.
Boj loved the way he could see his home from three sides without ever leaving that one road.His family shared the poverty of most of his friends, so poor, in fact, extended families had to shelter together. Boj never felt poor. They ate and lived in a big house on great-grandfather's property. No one there had any more than their family, it did not seem and no one he remembered ever "put on airs."
Boj loved his mother. He knew she wanted a second child, perhaps a girl this time, for she sewed intricate hand-work dresses for her friends who had girls. Her work was delicate, all in pink and lace, soft and pretty, with an elastic hair-bow to match the trim on the little girl dresses and white socks to warm tiny feet. Boj knew his mother cried sometimes at night over children she had not delivered but he did not know for years, until long after he was grown, what that meant. Father did not talk to him about Mother's moods and he did not know how to ask her. He did not feel he should ask her, that his asking would only increase her sadness and she seemed sad enough about the little girl's lost to her. Boj often wondered who they were and how many of them Mother had lost. Mother would be gone, and Father, before he felt grown enough to ask them intimate questions about their life together. He would feel that loss more than their personal absence as he went through his own Great Hurt, when it seemed every hand was turned against him, when it appeared to him and his friends that someone had dared God to assault him, when even his Golda wanted him just to die so that he would not suffer more.
Boj loved Golda. After the road was closed to him and the homestead was gone and the children and all he had, he lived for Golda.