I remember that rainy evening 17 years ago. Crickets pierced the wet air with their shrill harmony, as my mother struggled to bring to life her smoky stone stove, blowing on the dying embers, stirring them with dry twigs. She did not lift her face, despite the ashes stinging her eyes. I thought she was weeping, but why? Outside, my brother was plying paper boats, ferrying stranded ants in the puddles in the yard. My dad sat on a stool by the stove, his chin resting on his clenched fist; his thoughts seemed heavy. That night, a decision was made: I would become a toddy tapper, just like him.