Dawn is the fastest kid in the neighborhood. She lives across the street and can do backflips all the way around the block. None of us can come close to catching her in a race. But our dad runs faster.

That’s what my sisters and I say when she beats us. “Well, our dad can beat you.”

And he did. There was a formal race with everyone watching. Melissa drew a starting line with pink chalk. Shawn stood at the corner and raised his arms, three, two, one, GO! and brought them down with a flourish. Dawn is a natural gymnast. But so is our dad. They sprinted to tag Shawn, turned and dashed back. Our dad stepped over the chalk line first.

He can also catch butterflies and hold them on the tip of his finger. All the kids ooh and aah. The first time he did it I worried because the butterfly didn’t move. I wondered if it was hurt or afraid, but after a minute Dad let it go and it flew away, unharmed. All summer the other kids ask him to do the butterfly trick whenever they see him.

I wonder if he catches the same butterfly each time. I wonder if that butterfly has children at home it tells stories to over dinner. I wonder if it flies faster than all the other butterflies in the neighborhood, if its kids watch it with longing, wishing they could fly like that, too.