Better Homes & Gardens

By Chad Hanson

Since he retired, Ben has been making toys. He gives them to the kids in the family. This year, when she turned four, he gave a dollhouse to his granddaughter. Furniture made to scale. Tiny shingles. She wept. She hugged her grandpa. Then she set a doll inside the house and she started to play. She played for two hours. Ben checked on her at intervals. She looked fulfilled. She didn’t wish the dollhouse came with a hot tub. She did not quibble about the size of the rooms. He couldn’t say anything out loud, but in his mind Ben urged the girl to savor the feeling of contentment. Then he slipped. He said, “It’s been years since anybody in this family felt satisfied.”

Chad Hanson serves as Chairman of the Department of Sociology & Social Work at Casper College. His creative nonfiction titles include Swimming with Trout (University of New Mexico Press, 2007) and Trout Streams of the Heart (Truman State University Press, 2013). His collection of poems, Patches of Light, won the Meadowhawk Prize (Red Dragonfly Press, 2014). For more information, visit: