They were far from the typical nuclear family in their day. And frankly, they didn’t care. What they cared about was that little girl. The three old men had taken on the duty of father, mother, disciplinarian. Carried with honor, they bore it together. And despite the sad turn of fate that brought them to rally around the child, there was much joy among them.
Raised in the manner you would expect three men would. “No silly girl things.” Her words, not theirs. Ornery, perhaps crotchety to some, when it came to Jess, well, all bets were off. On that Christmas, when her small hand reached for the barn door to reveal her four hoofed present, I would be hard pressed to say who was more giddy, the little girl or three old, wise, men.