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Photograph of My Father in His Twenty-Second Year

 October.
Here in this dank, unfamiliar kitchen I study my father's embarrassed young man's face.
Sheepish grin, he holds in one hand a string of spiny yellow perch, in the other a bottle of Carlsbad Beer.
In jeans and denim shirt, he leans against the front fender of a 1934 Ford.
He would like to pose bluff and hearty for his posterity, Wear his old hat cocked over his ear.
All his life my father wanted to be bold.
But the eyes give him away, and the hands that limply offer the string of dead perch and the bottle of beer.
Father, I love you, yet how can I say thank you, I who can't hold my liquor either, and don't even know the places to fish?

by Raymond Carver
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