Historical (at times hysterical) fiction at its finest. Something of everything: drama, romance, mystery, comedy, faith, and poetry.
Ken Rolheiser, teacher of English for 35 years, has published poems, short stories and more than 1,000 articles in his column Pause For Reflection in Western Canada and the U.S. He is author of Where Earth Meets Heaven (St Anthony Messenger Press), Running with God (Twenty Third Publications), and Born To Be Kings (Xlibris).
10 reasons you may want to read this book
1.Romance: I could have told her then that I loved her. But we hadn't really met... I was trembling, but it was her warm nearness and the innocent smell of wet poplar mingling with the scent of her hair in my face...
Soon we were lost in each others' kisses. We were hungry for more. Passion was igniting and filling the empty spot of longing that seemed endless. Within the perimeters of the situation we knew we were safe. We wouldn't go too far. Time was too short and I had to be heading home before long. Joan had commitments before supper as well. After a pause to catch our breaths we both started laughing.
2. Unrequited love: "Thanks! Oh, thanks!" And with that she was in my arms. We just stood there, firmly hanging on to what we knew we couldn't have, each other. We said nothing. We just knew. The night was ours, but it was an agony.
3.Comedy: Trafchuk...must have been trying to formulate a solution that would turn the tide of class control...Swiftly he moved to the door. Slowly he turned the knob and then, all the pent up emotion of days of tension uncoiling, he put his two hundred pounds into the door with the impact of an exploding piston.
And, as one board member put it, getting a quality teacher was like buying oats. You have to pay a good price. If you are willing to settle for oats that's gone through the horse, it's cheaper.
4.Drama: The explosion of a World War One luger in the confined space of a classroom, the simultaneous impact of lead with the plaster of the back wall, and the shell shocked silence that followed still stop my memory..."I could kill you like an ox! What difference would it make?"
5.Ecology: Naturalists tell us one square meter of sod contains eight or nine kilometers of root. That's probably the only reason this dry land hadn't turned into a desert in the past twenty years.
6.Political: Miss Lutz's contract, however, was not renewed for a second year. In retrospect this was scarcely surprising to me since a teacher's value as a commodity in 1939 was equal to that of a good milk cow, a radio, two hounds, or 50 cases of beer.
7.Mystic: I knew I had seen the Christ child. No amount of earthly bleaching, even with my mother's lye soap, could make a gown so white, so bright!
8.Ethnic: Perebendia! We are the spirit of our ancestors. They too had been a pilgrim people in Russia, as we now are on the Canadian prairies. I go on the same journey as my father before me.
9.Poetic: My parents' positive influence helped me through the dizzy springtime of my life, the bursting, laughing, hoping and languishing time of youth. I was ready for summer wine which was just around the corner on the rutted prairie trail pitted with rocks and gopher holes.
10. Dream: In my dream I saw many people in a procession of light walking toward me from the north. I was centered at a family and community gathering at the old stone church. To the east lay the farm where, through my parents, light first dawned on me. To the south lay the blue water knowledge of the schoolhouse and to the west lay the red and black of the sunset.