Some Words with Wendell Berry
The Blessing of Homeplace Farm at St. Catharine College

Wendell Berry on "The Branch Way of Doing"

I don't know how long this story—published in The (excellent) Threepenny Review—has been available online, but I'm just seeing it now. Enjoy!

Danny Branch is older than Andy Catlett by about two years, which matter to them far less now than when they were young. They are growing old together with many of the same things in mind, many of the same memories. They often are at work together, just the two of them, taking a kind of solace and an ordinary happiness from their profound knowledge by now of each other’s ways and of how to do whatever they are doing. They don’t talk much. There is little to explain, they both are likely to know the same news, and Danny anyhow, unlike his father, rarely has anything extra to say.

Andy has always known Danny, but he knows that, to somebody who has not long known him, Danny might be something of a surprise. As if by nature, starting with the circumstances of his birth, as if by his birth he had been singled out and set aside, he has never been a conventional man. To Andy he has been not only a much-needed friend, but also, along with Lyda and their children, a subject of enduring interest and of study.

Danny is the son of Kate Helen Branch and Burley Coulter. His family situation was never formalized by a wedding between his parents, who for various and changing reasons lived apart, but were otherwise as loving and faithful until death as if bound by vows. And Danny was as freely owned and acknowledged, and about as attentively cared for and instructed, by Burley as by Kate Helen. “He’s my boy,” Burley would say to anybody who may have wondered. “He was caught in my trap.”

Read it all at The Threepenny Review


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