Kent Haruf – The tie that binds

On the other hand, I don’t suppose Bud Sealy ever intended to become a son of a bitch at all.

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He looks at me like How can I be so dumb and live? Guys like him think they drive the 150 miles out here due east from Denver and when they get here we don’t know anything. They think they have to educate us poor dumb country bastards. They think we don’t know what the Denver Post is. We know all right. We just don’t give a damn.

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If she had stayed in Iowa, that dark lost look might never have taken root in her eyes.

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If Edith and Lyman had been city kids, things might have been different. City kids, even in 1915, had some opportunities to escape which farm kids didn’t have. City kids could take off and walk ten or fifteen blocks or jump on a trolley car going across town and end up as far away from home as if they were in another state entirely, another country even. Then they could make their mark, or not make it, and start their life over or end it, but whatever happened, at least the ties would have been cut, the limits of home would have been broken. 

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Well, some people claim pigs are smart, and maybe they are, but nobody I know has ever said that about cows.

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Needs a girl himself to go riding with. Even if she has to eat as much ice cream as you do. Chocolate and nuts all over it, like she wasn’t never going to have another chance at it. Just howdy, mister, and forget the napkins; I ain’t got time to be fancy.

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My mother, at that time, must have been one of those women that other women call poor brave dears and then sigh and say My goodness.

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Pearl Harbor was his ticket out, his open barn door.

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All the time, my dad and I listened to the radio. Between news bulletins we got out the world atlas and discovered the dots in the Pacific Ocean that meant Hawaii and with a ruler tried to figure the miles between Honolulu and Tokyo and between Tokyo and California.

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“But it’s not fair!” and he said “Course it’s not fair. There ain’t none of it that’s fair. Life ain’t. And all our thinking it should be don’t seem to make one single damn. You might as well know that now as later”.

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My dad had spent enough nights drinking and fighting to have a pretty good idea of what men could do to one another for no reason; and now with the war they had a reason.

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I began to learn those things that my years of college couldn’t teach me, hadn’t in fact even touched.

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It was less than two years that my dad had died. For me, my dad was still as clear and present everywhere about the place as if he had gone just the day before. He was still there for me wherever I was doing, working cattle or fixing fence, and it seemed to me that he should have been enough man for any woman to last a lifetime.

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It was too much of a good thing, a heedless, continuous, romping jig and party, when I could keep from thinking. Not thinking, refusing to think, got to be a steady habit for me.

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She was partial to Elvis Presley, they said, and likely to disappear.

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Well, that was their business, because whe you know people all your life you try to understand how it is for them. What you can’t understand you just accept. That’s how I felt about Edith.

Kent Haruf – The tie that binds

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