19 March 12020 is Saint Joseph’s Day, celebrated in various ways in predominantly Christian nations around the world. Joseph is primarily famous for not being the father of Jesus of Nazareth, who was either the son of a Roman soldier named Pantera or the son of God, depending on whose scuttlebutt you choose to believe. If Joseph believed the Pantera story it might explain why he never bonded with his son Jesus, and why Jesus fantasized about a heavenly Father of pure love—or at least that’s how I imagined the holy family in my lost fantasy-novel Near the Fire. According to an old church narrative Joseph once screwed up an important order in his carpentry shop by sawing a board a couple feet too short. Fortunately Jesus was on hand fix things—the kid took one end of the board while his father held onto the other, and between them they stretched it out to the proper length. I don’t know if that made up for all the times the family had to leave town after Jesus struck a playmate dead or turned him into a goat or whatever, but it must have been some compensation. At least he didn’t send his neighbors into a cornfield—though of course there were no cornfields yet in first-century Judaea. It’s probably just as well.