February 20, 2020


October 1978.  Hopkins, Minnesota.

Today I’m going to do something dangerous. I’ll drive to Ridgedale. I’ll walk into Now and Then and ask to have my ear pierced.  First though, I’ll drive to my father’s office to alert him of my plan. I’m sure he won’t be happy. Ex marines hate earrings.

'That’s great Pete,” he says.  “Which ear are you gonna pierce?”

“Uhhh, my right ear I guess,” His expression catches me by surprise.

“Are you gonna get a hoop or a stud?”

What’s remarkable I think, is that my dad even knows the words hoop or stud. 

“I’ll probably start with a stud and then get a hoop as the ear heals.” 

“A hoop is nice,” my dad says. “How much is this whole deal gonna cost?”

“Twenty bucks.” I say.

My dad's smiling as he peels off three crisp ten-dollar bills and places them in my hand.
As I pull out of the parking lot I hear his big voice booming just outside the front door and I roll down my window.

“Pete, one more thing.  Don’t come home.”