Several years ago, when my husband’s engineering firm was between jobs, a pipe fitter named Richard came to live in the small log cabin just down the hill from our house. He could have stayed in a motel until he shipped out to the next job, or spent some time with his family back in Arkansas, but he took one look at the rocking chair on the porch facing Yonah Mountain and said, “I believe I’ll stay here.”
He was 60 when he came to us, still healing from heart surgery earlier that year. He had given up smoking, drinking, and eating fried chicken. His only vice, so far as I know, was the chewing tobacco he kept tucked in his cheek, although he looked like someone with darker stories to tell. He was short, with bow legs and the strongest back I ever saw on a man his size.