One thing I was sure of, that my uncle Leo was definitely the hero of my childhood.

The smell of his¬†“Old Spice”¬†cologne carried me back into that lost childhood more than the home movies did. My uncle didn’t know it, but It was the sweet, cheap smell of car dealers that took me back, and made me dissolve into a dream of the past. Leo was the last dinosaur that smelled of cheap cologne.

And he believed in the American dream.

I was crazy about him, because he believed in miracles. And Even though he lived inside of life and sold Cadillacs, he always looked like a ten-year-old boy whose sleeves were too long. When I was ten, Leo gave me this great movie camera. And My mother always hoped I’d become the next Milton Berle. But dreams of houses, and cars, and fresh-cut lawns aren’t dreams when they become real. And somehow I understood what my mother meant by “Good morning, Columbus.” And even if my mother didn’t like what I was doing with my life, I think she’d understand.

All in all, I had a very happy childhood.

My father was a border guard, who spent most of his life trying to keep people from crossing lines. Every night for 15 years, he’d go out and smooth down the road between Mexico and Arizona, and every morning he’d be out there looking for footprints in the dirt. But my father always said that work was like a hat you put on your head. And even if you didn’t have pants, you didn’t have to walk down the street ashamed of your ass, so long as you had a hat.