It was a favorite line of his. More than him saying it, I was frustrated by the expectation that a nine-year-old should know how to thaw and cook red meat. I was forever failing at things I was never taught to do.
My fingers stop moving over the keyboard. I command myself to react, to interrupt, to at least make light of his comments in an offhand way, but I am shaking. I pull out my notebook, write his words down, and pretend this attempt at record-keeping equals doing something.
This summer, I let myself burn. Three decades of my life spent consciously, unconsciously hiding from the sun, spent hearing the voices of my mother my grandmother my aunts in my head, three decades of this and I’m tired. I let myself burn.
But they (we) also arrived in Maryland, a slave-holding state, and while Ruth Hedeman’s genealogical research is silent on the subject of what Henry Hedeman’s family got up to in the years leading up to the Civil War, I think I would have heard if they were abolitionists.