My father was a diplomat, so most of my upbringing was outside the U.S. But every two years my family spent summers back home. When I was seven, we stayed on my grandparents' farm outside Springfield, Mo. My brothers, sister and I ran through the fields and swam in the creek. We competed to see who could dig up the biggest potato, who could pick the biggest peach. We built huge forts from bales of hay. We barbecued. Everyone was relaxed--even my father, which was unusual. One day, at summer's end, I sat on my father's lap, grabbed his collar and...

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