A Soft Spot of His Family (from the “Bizarro Ted Kooser” series)

His hands are rough from
working the farm, scraping
what he can out of the un-
forgiving soil. His face –
tanned dark from working
in the fields every day from
sunup to sunset, wrinkles
spreading across it like all
so many rivers of worn leather
leading up to the deep
crows feet around his eyes.
He has callouses on his feet,
his corns are terrible and he’s
due for bunion surgery at the
country hospital. With his
gruff countenance, which some
would even call “abrasive”, he’s
not the warm and fuzzy type, he
wouldn’t win any Miss Congeniality
contests. But he has a soft spot
for his wife and children. Every night,
after the table’s been cleared, the
dishes washed, dried and put away,
he shows it to them, sitting in the
old recliner of their modest living room,
once the children 2 daughters and
a son, along with his wife, have lined up
in order of height. He lifts up his shirt
to reveal a 3″x4″ region of hairless and
incredibly smooth skin just below the
end of the rib cage on his right side.
And one by one, they rub his soft spot
with a special handmade lotion they’ve
carefully made according to the recipe
on the sacred scrolls and apply it
according to the instructions given to them
by the aliens shortly before they left
in their spacecraft. They don’t talk
about this to others. This is Nebraska,
and, here in Nebraska, some things are
just family matters you don’t blab about.

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