My father has been dead a year and a half now, and memories of him continue to surface from time to time, startling me with their vividness. My father was a gifted wordsmith who wrote delightful letters to just about everyone he knew and some he didn’t—including editors of newspapers across the land. At the table he often scribbled in an expired pocket calendar. I always wondered what he was writing. One day I asked to see, and he handed over his journal to me: page after page of … what he ate at meals. When I asked him why, he shrugged. Peanut butter sandwich, tomato soup, frozen corn, lamb stew, chocolate ice cream—you get the drift. By the end of his life, my father didn’t have a whole lot of pleasures, and he had a lot of anxieties—about where he’d put the utility bill, what had he done to displease my mother, would his money stretch to cover—so recounting the contents of each meal may have given him a chance to reflect on the good things in his life. Peanut butter sandwiches, tomato soup, frozen corn, lamb stew, chocolate ice cream.