From the outside our house didn’t look all that horrifying. The cozy, two-story, ranch-style dwelling was quite charming. Like every other homestead in Patterson, it sat on a large plot, land passed on from one generation to the next, deepening familial roots in a place we’d live and die. Tractors and mowers, aged by time and weather, decorated the yard like pillars, proof that those who came before us not only existed, but worked hard, something we needed to be thankful for. Every year wildflowers grew in tangled masses; yellow, orange, lavender, and white blooms brought sweet smells we inhaled, filling our lungs with the newness of spring. And on the side of the house Mother planted a garden: perfect rows of greens, carrots, squash, turnips, tomatoes, peppers. These foods we learned as babies to enjoy. By the time we took our first steps our hands were already deep in the soil, pulling carrots up by their tops, picking tomatoes from their vines. We grew up loving the land, unafraid of its mysterious creatures. We felt comforted by its complexity, safe inside a world where the outside matched the inside. These were the good times.