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By the summer of 1984, bankruptcy was so close we could taste it. It tasted like beans, which we ate with growing frequency, and it tasted like fear. It tasted like the cigarettes my mother lit one off the next. My father, meanwhile, fell into deep silences. He stood with his arms crossed, contemplating our many orange Herefords, once valuable enough to warrant his near-constant attention, now worth less than three dimes a pound. The cows looked back, chewing their cuds, oblivious to soaring feed prices, unacquainted with terms like “mortgaged” and “remortgaged.” Neighbors came by to look at the equipment, offering such trifling amounts that my father’s face reddened. He turned them down, but they called again, offering less.