A childhood story from Bogota, Colombia circa 1964.

Smoke puffed out into crowded living room. My father in his three piece suit jimmied the fireplace flue. It took me a few minutes to realize why the smoke was filling the room where my father’s business associates, mostly accountants, lawyers, and their wives mingled before dinner.

I quietly went out to the backyard, maneuvered the heavy wood plank from where it sat balanced on a stone on a little bump in the grass. The plank was left over from a construction project then fashioned into a titter-toter by my father. I…