Skolnik Page 25
older boy had a girlfriend and they came around the house and he was civil. His real life was in the woods. Families emasculated you though he affirmed their worth and wouldn't hear of anyone knocking traditional values though he'd never been a churchgoer or a real family man, just someone who ruled a woman and four boys with an iron hand, but a patriot for sure. He had a flag raised outside his house and in the woods the men talked about how the country was going to the dogs. This was the real life, in the woods, logging and hunting and drinking beer and coming out for the barbecue on the Fourth of July and getting a little big in the belly and having arms like hams and not bothering about the fine print and the verbal sparring of pasty-faced little men in thousand dollar suits but cracking heads when the logs got jammed. Harry was bitter and disgruntled and tended to be short-tempered now. For a while his circumstances had seemed ideal, four sons and a pretty wife, and men had envied him, but

then it all seemed to fall apart, there was nowhere really for him to go, the boys breaking away from him, the wifely charms fading fast. He brooded and drank more than he should have but he stayed afloat like millions and tens of millions of men like himself and pulled himself along like those sea turtles making their way across the beach with their heavy shells to drop their eggs in the sand and disappear.
     Millions and millions of Americans waited for the results of the contest. So many dreams were on the line, more dreams than you could count. John waited. Charlie waited. Joe waited. Tom, Dick and Harry waited. Someone called Gus won. Everyone else lost.