David had been educated in all the social graces—
an Irish seed that had been planted in American soil
& replanted in the deep recesses
of the ultraconservative South.
Women found his politesse charming,
for he was a gentleman among men,
& I was proud to know him as I did.
David was “Katryn’s almost dad,”
he was “Brother Dalton,”
he was Mother’s “fiance” (in air quotes),
he was “just David,”
but to me,
in a way,
better than God,
for he was not only just
I was Heidi,
an old classic,
Leann was Scarlett O’Hara,
a modern classic,
& Kath was a generic cowgirl—
an American classic.
I, at 18, looked 12,
albeit dressed as Pippi Longstocking,
could pass for 17.
In those days,
my naiveté kept me young,
even as Caitlin’s lack thereof matured her.
Though Tony wasn’t a groper,
he was a “poker” when dancing,
which he blamed on a physiological response
rather than a premeditated one.
Leann was sure he would calm down once he married
to release all that pent-up testosterone,
& the fertile flowers of Green Haven Ward
would be less likely to be mass pollinated
if he were plucked from the garden
without the roots attached,
for he had told me several times
that he would never leave Green Haven.
He had no so much cleaved unto his mother
but his mother unto him.
An Irish-Catholic girl coming of age in the Deep South during the New Millennium finds her family splintered when two Mormon missionaries come to her door, their presence and promise unearthing long-buried family secrets, which lead to her excommunication and exile.