When my great-uncle died, his white farmhouse remained unlocked. It was tucked back on a long gravel driveway up the road from my grandparents. In it, on a pool table in an unheated bedroom, my cousins and I were free to practice breaks, kiss shots, and bank shots—without adult supervision. Our breath blew frosty in the frigid room and the uneven floor caused the pool balls to roll askew, but we didn’t care. Enormous sepia-toned baby portraits watched from the walls as we wiled away the hours until our fingers grew numb and we were forced to walk home.
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