Melsh cautions himself repeatedly: be patient, be easy. “Son, learn this, you’ll have a trade.”
“Alright, Dad,” responds Lenny, with trepidation rooted in his father’s legendary edginess.
“Dump out some mortar into the hod,” the patriarch instructs.
The mortar mix splays over the edges, wasting a quarter.
The son recoils. The father bites his lip.
“It’s alright, son, you’ll get the hang of it,” says the father, proud of his forbearance.
The son hears the chastisement in the encouragement and hangs his head. “It flowed more’n I thought it would,” clawing an exculpatory explanation.
“Yeah,” the father accepts over his shoulder.