Richard Johnson was the patriarch of the Johnson family. He was small, somewhat effeminate, and a ring of red hair circled his balding scalp. He had deep lines on his face and an equally deep well of sarcastic humor to call upon when needed. He often smoked cigarettes, sitting cross-legged on a stool in the screened-in patio downstairs. “Just so you know,” he said when I first arrived, drawing in a puff of smoke. “We’re going to be bringing you in to the dentist. Those teeth are going to be taken care of.” My stomach dropped. I hated the dentist. The last one I’d gone to was the one my stepdad brought me to see about a year before. That dentist I had kicked…