I asked him if he wanted to draw with me. He was still in his overalls, tired, needing to wash up before dinner. I open my Big Chief notebook wide. Folded the crease of the binding so it lay flat and spread before the two of us on the card table my grandma had set up for me. “I don’t know how to draw,” he said. “Yes, you do,” I said. “I couldn’t even draw a straight line,” he said. “But I don’t need a straight line,” I said, holding up my ruler. He laughed and picked up one of my crayons. I knew he was tired from a day of farming under the sun. I just needed to know he wasn’t too tired. For me. He wasn’t. Soon I told him it was ok, that he didn’t have to draw anymore. I would finish the picture. He smiled and went to wash for dinner.
I drew a picture of him on his tractor. I had watched him earlier in the day. Moving with precision up and down the seeded field. The rows were perfect. Straight. Beautiful. I replicated them with my ruler.
When he returned to the table I handed him the picture. “It’s you,” I said proudly. He smiled. “See,” I said, “you CAN draw a straight line, only you use a tractor.” He gently held the proof in his hand.
There is always a way to connect. A way to find a place at the table.