We used to keep a big cow in our yard called Daphne. I liked that cow a lot and used talk to her until the sun went down. My relationship with my father was difficult. He was ...distant. He'd just kind of stare at you and when you looked back at him he'd turn his eyes away with something you might mistake for disdain.
Anyway, one day I was in the yard talking to Daphne about Star Wars and my father appears at the kitchen window. "Get to bed, you're going to need your energy for your birthday tomorrow" he says, so I hop to it. "Oh boy, my birthday." The next day I get home from school to find my dad making a big old barbecue. The biggest barbecue I ever saw. Everyone was there, my cousins and uncles and aunts, and everyone from the co-op, all wearing huge dirty napkins around their necks and eating up. "Keep eatin' you guys, plenty to go 'round" my father roared as he deposited great racks of meaty rib and greasy hamburger onto everyone's plate. We ate everything. We ate everything right up and then, belly full, I scampered off to talk to Daphne about Tron but she wasn't in her part of the yard. "Where's Daphne papa?" I ask my old man and he looked at me, with something that might've been a sneer, ...but it was hard to tell, it always was hard to tell with him. "That cow?" he says, "oh, ...she got hit by a train."
It was a few years later that I moved to the city and discovered The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand.