I have an announcement to make next week. Haven’t had a lot of time to think about a blog post. I am in the process of trying to get a publisher for my third novel. In the meantime, I started my fourth one. Here is the opening. It is rough so bare with me. It is the first novel I have done in first-person.
The first friend I can remember is Sidney Dykstra. We were best friends, and some days I would have given anything to be him. Other days I wouldn’t have wanted to be him even for his new Schwinn bike and his cool Zebco rod and reel. Sometimes his life overflowed with happiness, and sometimes I didn’t know how he kept from dissolving into tears.
In 1962 I was thirteen and Sidney was my next door neighbor. We lived in Bon Homme, South Dakota. As with most South Dakota towns it was small, but even the best major league ballplayer with the greatest arm in history of the game could not have thrown a rock from one end of town to the other–even if he got a tremendous bounce at the end. However, if he went and found the rock and threw it again, he would have come really close to throwing it outside the city limits. John F. Kennedy was the president, and most people couldn’t find Vietnam on a globe if you paid them real money.
People in the town grew up believing in God from the youngest age, and those who didn’t believe in him later on in life did it because they chose to quit believing and not because some missionary had never told them about God and Jesus.
People belonged to churches. To most people God and church were synonymous–to some people the church superseded God. The churches and the one bar were the social clubs in the town. Many people belonged to both clubs, even the Baptists, but seldom did they mention it.
The kids of Bon Homme believed in God in various degrees. We had not matured to the point where we thought of religion and political parties as sports teams you cheered for whether they were right or wrong. We had social clubs, too. The girls had the old bandstand in the Main Street Park where they played jacks and did whatever it is girls do. The boys had Hoch’s Creek. Hoch’s Creek flowed just outside of town, snaking through the flat prairie on its journey to the Missouri River. It provided a daytime gathering spot for the boys in town. We went there with the pretense of fishing, but it served as a sort of boy’s club. We played army, fished, hunted frogs and turtles and even camped out beside the creek on a few nights when our parents yielded to the begging. Most of the time you could find me at Hoch’s Creek, but this story starts at Dorost’s Field just after school had dismissed for the summer.