I remember those days when you used to walk with me, by the river, showing me how to catch crawfish so they couldn’t pinch me. Or making up stories about raccoons and hippos and ugly girls that wanted to kiss me. They made me laugh. When you carried me on your shoulders, I would have to duck to miss the branches that were on the way to places where the fish would jump out of the water and into our hands. They were so eager to be caught. I would settle down, ready to carry the string, heavy with trout. I would tag along behind you, enjoying the times when we could just be together.

And when you would drive us back, I would stick my head out of the sunroof and yell, faster, faster! Then you would tickle me and I would laugh and fall back down inside the truck. When we got home, you would carry me and the trout inside and you would put the trout down on the counter and you would tuck me, fish slime and all, into bed. You would sit on the bed for a long time and I would go to sleep, wondering what you were thinking.

David Putnam is an eighth-grade student at the Arthur Morgan school in Burnsville, North Carolina.

— Ed.