He says Ginger was the same name of the dog who bit him, and gestures at scars around his mouth, on his cheek. He’s got a tattooed cross with his mom’s name, and the years she was alive, something about Love You Forever, surrounded by flame.
Her ashes are spread in a spot in the back, in the woods, with a cross made out of fallen timber, tied together but twisted where the deer run through. There are no pictures of her in the house, or the other brother who died. On the fridge is a quote that says, “Be kind to everyone you meet, for you don’t know the burden they carry.”
Behind her grave is the largest old-growth tree on the property, the one Brad calls the Grandfather Tree. The five of them held hands and made a ring around it, it’s that big.
Chris washes windows for a living, but dreams about being a rapper. He free styles around the camp fire, with a portable music player so he can play beats and record at the same time. His little brother Zach (the one with the dog bite and the tattoo) works at the Carls’ Jr. burger stand in town. His girlfriend’s name is Amanda but they all call her Monster for some reason. She has tattoos and piercings, with colored hair, but she’s good with the kids and helps in the kitchen.
Brad and his kids throw the watermelon rinds in the lake, which I don’t understand. I get away with DJ-ing all night, and only get interrupted once, as I’m mixing M.I.A. with the original, by The Clash.
The land is old and the soil, rich with memories of old times, early 1900s, Brad’s ancestors pushing down the grass and the brush with wagon wheels, preparing the oil lamps by day, for night. Her ashes are mixed here with her people, and the love that carved out this corner of the world, for them.