. . . it was September in Catahoula. Luke was in the sugar cane fields photographing a large sycamore. He’d positioned a tall stool, nearly half as tall as the sycamore, in the shade of the tree, and I saw him at a distance, a tiny figure climbing up and down the stool, trying to get the perfect shot.
My mother was arranging bundles of sugar cane into decorations, tying them together with ribbon and hanging them from the roof of an outdoor pavilion. My father was walking the rows of cane with a jackknife, bending over every few steps to cut down a tall weed. The sky was baby blue. The cane rustled in the breeze. I examined a giant thistle at the end of a row of cane, then I went to the store for refreshments. It must have been 1970-something because when I opened the refrigerated case, the cans of Pepsi were oddly shaped, long and thin, and printed in a vintage font. I grabbed a Pepsi for my mother, a Coke for my brother, and a square plastic bottle of "non-alcoholic" water for my father. On my way back to the cane fields I met a stranger who said he'd just returned from Africa. "Yemen," he said. I didn't have the heart to tell him that my father, being a frequent visitor to Africa, would know that Yemen was in Asia, not Africa. I pointed toward the stop sign and told the stranger to take a left at the levee, knowing that would send him away from Catahoula. "September," I thought to myself, enjoying the sights and sounds of the day. Harvest was near, and the cane was as tall as it ever would be.