William Garland is from a wooden icebox. From Bo Jackson posters and stolen street signs that hang on the inside of closet doors. He is from Fox Hollow and clapboard barns built with Coors Lights and handsaws. He is from dogwood trees that toss their litter onto unkempt lawns. He is from legless action figures and recorded-over home videos. From Mallets and Turnipseeds, and from indeterminate eye colors and lawyers who are born from lawyers — from late-rising grandmothers sneaking off each night to smoke a single cigarette. He is from Volvos stuck on abandoned pulpwood trails — from cucumber mousse and a dog named Jack Daniels. From the crash that flung his Uncle Jim through a windshield. Scraped backs and wet diving boards. He is from the moments when we walk through the local Sunday beer stores with bare feet, and paddle down hydroelectric rivers with our Easter beers spilling over onto our sun-red thighs.
—Adapted from one of George Ella Lyon's poems and a writing assignment I share with my Creative Writing students.