My father’s just 29 years old in this photograph, taken well before my time and stashed among my sister Coral’s belongings for a good many years.. The canvas cathedral’s been lifted into place, and preparations are underway for a Pentecostal revival meeting in Johnson City, Tennessee. Coral is sitting on my father’s lap, eyes keened on the family dog, Chow-Chow, who’s shaking my father’s hand. My brother Roger is lingering in the background, taking in the entire scene as it unfolds.
We lived like nomads when I was younger, so it’s no surprise that only a handful of family heirlooms survived. But when my father died, I found that very hat in his belongings. Or at least, one that’s remarkably similar. It rests on my bookcase, next to my own Rebecca-of-Sunnybrook-Farm straw hat.
Happy Birthday to my father, Clifford Suva, who would’ve been 98 years old yesterday.