We climb over the levee and down into the hot shade near the river.
We walk single-file for 10 minutes through the Johnson grass to the levee, looking forward to a swim in the river.
The July day is getting hotter and we want to swim. But we are young to be by ourselves—me, eight, April, five. We can’t cross the levee to the river without Dad.He tells us to wait for him. He doesn’t want us where he can’t see us. He trusts us, though, even teaching me to drive the Korean War-vintage Willys Jeep truck on the farm.
He walks up and down rows of hundreds of walnut trees all morning long updating a map, noting which trees look parched. While we wait, April and I flatten the tall Johnson grass to make nests where no one can see us. We stand up every now and then and wave to Dad.
At last he comes over, a Panama hat shading a wide smile. Dad’s lean body is protected from the sun by ironed khaki pants and long-sleeved shirt. His initials on the inside of his shirt, “LH”, the same as mine, are inked there b…