the higher land of Wayland, dominated by the Pattersons' water tower
with its red tile roof. Often we would stop at the Pattersons on our way
past so that Bob, one of the sons, could join us on
About this time we had an Italian working for us named Peter. Peter
had a very limited vocabulary — everying was either a goddamn this or a
goddamn that, and one day when Bob was with us I got off my
horse and walked around pretending I was Peter, mimicking his actions
and making free use of his vocabu- lary. My mother was very upset. As
soon as we left Bob at his stable she informed me that I had done Mrs.
Patterson a great injustice in teaching her youngest son how to swear.
"Poor Bobby has no father," she went on, "and his mother is trying
to bring him up to be a nice boy — and now you've gone and ruined
everything for her."