[...] that month we'd listened gravely to the report of the Munich crisis, Germany's entry to the Sudetenland interrupting The Hound of the Baskervilles, my mother bowing her head, my father murmuring darkly, "Didn't I say so?" (There's a comfort, I suppose, in our worst fears coming true - a sense of control amid the chaos; it's what we can't foresee that shocks most deeply.) Milty and I were allowed to listen to ball games - Milt still forbidden to touch the radio, while I handled the dial as gingerly as a safe-cracker listening to the tumblers in a lock - but it was understood that if my father needed to listen to something, no matter the score, no matter the inning, he could change the station. [...] it doesn't much matter. Never happened, and won't ever happen now, of course, since Hindenburg, but wouldn't it have been grand to see one of those huge ships glide in over the city, hang there alongside her? I stood there, for a long time after he was gone, gazing at that silvery turret - still beautiful, but made obsolete by disaster - picturing King Kong raging from the same peak, swatting at biplanes (I'd seen the movie with Milt that summer, his hand clutching mine in his tight knuckle-bailer's grip).
THAT FALL Peter Ho
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