The Winston sons knew it was going to be a sad evening. They were getting things put away at the store before they went home for the night. The younger son was getting the boathouse locked and the fishing boats stored for the night down by the lake. He would look up occasionally and see his pop, Peabody Winston on the back porch. The older son was looking through the window at the back of his dad’s head. He could hear him mumbling. He was talking to their mom on the back porch of Peabody Winston and Sons Country Store and Bait Shop. They were wrapping up a day in Prescott, Arizona.
Peabody had poured himself a glass of Jack Daniels, and took the half bottle with him. It was time to drink and cry on the anniversary of his wife’s death. He had written his annual letter, and was looking at it through the smoke of a Marlboro Light.
He sipped the Tennessee whiskey, and his lips quivered when he took the glass away.
“Honey, it was a good year at the store. Both of the boys say they are doing good at home with the wives and family. . .”
He cried out loud, and his son came to the window and looked out. He cried too. His old man was the toughest SOB he had ever known. When he broke down this one day of the year, and you missed your mom that same day, it made grown men shed tears from the bottom of their souls. Little brother was done and walking up the hill. He heard his dad too.
“Oh honey, honey, Jesus Christ! I miss you so much!” He wiped his tears and looked around. Both the boys went out of their way to let dad have his moment with mom. One brother bent his head at the window, and the other stood with his arm on a pine tree and let his tears come too.
Peabody went back to the letter.
“The Wharton’s are doing great with the syrup. Jack Veenum has fallen in love with some Chinese gal from San Diego. She has a house in Hawaii too. I actually went to Hawaii. Can you believe it? You would have liked this gal. She’s tough and smart like you.”
He finished the glass and poured another. He took a drag and continued with his letter.
Looking in from the lake, mother saw her three men crying for her. She whispered on the wind, “I miss you too.”
The boys all had a drink on the back porch. They all had red eyes. The moon lit up the lake. They raised their glasses to the moon, which was a shining substitute for mother.
When they got home both of the wives asked their husbands, “How’s your dad doing?”