Then everyone was cheered by the arrival of a different painter - one skilled in commercial art, and able to toss out a scene like this without worrying about whether it had the “honest” and “simple” virtues of the “people’s” art. Hey, you want honest and simple? My kid’ll draw you something that makes Grandma Moses look like . . . I dunno, Great-grandma Moses. You want a modern happy family? That I can do. But is this really so happy a scene?


If you ask me, Dad's had a few Old Fashioneds before he came to the table.

  Junior has the supplicating expression of someone who hopes he can get through dessert without Dad suddenly exploding in rage over something trivial, like dropping a crumb of cake on the carpet. Last week he went down the basement stairs for that offense.
  Sis isn't looking at anyone. Or anything, it seems. She's absolutely blind. But she enjoys hearing the gentle crackle and spit of the wick as it burns; it gives her a rare sense of peace no one else in the family would understand. She asked the grocer if he ever heard the sound of a wick burning . . . but he broke into tears.