July 30, 2019:
Newlyweds. Four days down, thirty-eight years to go.
She beams. Schoolmother glasses, long winter coat, strangely incongruous white go-go boots prefiguring Swinging London by two-and-a-half decades.
He's lanky, tentative, even defensive. Leather jacket, stylish '30s fedora, tie, creased trousers with cuffs-too-high, leather gloves against the cold. It's Montana in January, snow lies thick on the steps.
The snow. Conjuring future snow, in the Ardennes, where three years from this moment his regiment will be resting after recapturing Verdennes. He will almost certainly have killed Germans, at Menil-Favay if not earlier. He returns with a German pistol and a German camera taken from corpses. His defining experience, I think. Where he stopped speaking, stopped smiling, dedicated his life, in his practical rancher's way, to peace.
At this moment the daughter he abandoned is five years old.