My father loved hunting, guns and police work, and he dreamed of living in the woods and building a log home. My mother loved my father; when they married, she withdrew from college just shy of graduating and took up his dream as her own.
Best Wishes for Your Future tells the story of a young, educated couple who in 1977 abandoned their inherited urban lifestyle – striving for social status and financial security – to live with their children in the shadow of the Cabinet Mountains Wilderness in northwest Montana, where they forged a life “wrapped in the land” (Scott Russell Sanders).
More than a story of a homesteading family on the fading modern frontier, Best Wishes for Your Future is the account of a daughter’s journey toward adulthood as she comes to terms with childhood sexual abuse and entrenched familial and cultural mores enforced by the myths of the West. A central thread is the silent tension between a sensitive daughter and her stoic police-officer father, who both turn to the land for solace, and how love unfolds as they find common ground.
Excerpt from Best Wishes for Your Future:
When I am in high school, my father returns from a course on interrogating suspects and repaints the narrow office he shares with three other detectives. They name the new color “Spill Your Guts Pink.” Studies show that this rose-gray tone slows hostile pulses, soothes guilty nerves, relaxes tense criminals, inclines them toward revelation.
The first time I enter the painted office no one is there; I sit and wait in a metal chair shoved against the wall between my father’s desk and the door. The visitor’s chair. The interrogation chair. Notes of velvet latex scent the air. The office does seem more inviting, more comforting than the previous drab white walls. Or is my perception skewed because I’m aware of the motive behind the paint job? No, this hue is definitely better.
A sigh-like exhale escapes my lungs. I sink into the chair and close my eyes, give myself over to the subtle sway of color. Career felons with crude tattoos pierced on their necks and the tender bellies of their forearms didn’t stand a chance in this chair. First-time offenders, their consciences quaking beneath mustered toughness, would spill every detail. Fledgling crooks questioned in this covert feminine room would drop their bravado and shed the pressing heft of secrets, offer my father their stashed stories in a rush of pent-up words released, relieved. They would tell him everything.
All he has to do is ask.