I turned eighteen and had joined this bogus martial arts school; one of those places where the instructor kicks cigarettes out of his student's mouths when any new prospect walks through the door. I'd been practicing this phony white crane form in the yard all that summer and one day had been coming out the back door when I see Dad standing there on the grass, twenty feet away, in boxer shorts and a t-shirt, holding the crane stance. He balanced on one leg for a full minute and I stayed by the door watching, understanding that he was trying to connect, which most of the time had been hard for him to do. You often don't know what those moments are about until much later, often after the people are gone.
"Thanks for the crane stance, Dad."