Troutbirder II

Troutbirder II
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Monday, March 20, 2023

North of Hope by John Hassler

 Regaining some hope in my new residence of senior living after initial week of no heat in my bedroom where I had to wear my winter coat to bed.  things finally got better and I have  improved my outlook on my apartment. I it now Although the food here i Okay sometimes &  not very edible at other times.In the midst of all of this had moved some books here as well as donated some to our short of cash  public library. in the    chaos I found  the book north of Hope . It was a gift to my son Ted from the author at St John's College In North Central Minnesota.St John's was a Benedictine Catholic School The Benedictines  are a gentle caring and loving order often focused on nature protecting animals and educationcc&  peace These were values that My son Ted honored And he made a good choice in choosing That college .  Famous novelist  hassler  was Ted's English teach and the book was a gift

looking back on it now I think the book was a golden oldie . Sometime in the late '50s   when many novels lurched into tackiness and obtuseness I migrated to historical fiction And later poetry. The New York Times said it best "when a writer good enough to restore your faith in fiction  established himself as a contemporary literary master it wrote "He's surpasses his own previous work both in scope & intensity. I would add high praise for any author indeed high praise for an  author  indeed.

Now on to judging the books merits and deficiencies of any. I must admit that anytime i read a book by a Minnesota author i'm bound toLike that for several reasons One is I immediately Know where the location of the story actually is as its identified Probably because I've  already been there. more than 20 years in the priesthood Father Frank Healy is going home emulating a 19th century missionary Named father zell, & is bringing Catholicism to the Ojibway  Indians living on the basswood reservation in the North woods. Naturally I have canoed down the boundary waters,Fished and Hunted those woods many times with    myt wo sons       We camped &canoed there Many many times.If the action in the book is in that area  I'v e seen  and  Remembered it 

libby the protagonist priests want to have girfriend  during their growing up years. but Frank  sees that Libby's life is unraveling as she slowly becomes dependent on him the dedicated priest now debating his next step  i n life libby has been pondering the happy family life she never had in her violent childhood home, and her search for love has born bitter fruit : again I have related to this story of faith failure and depression having lost my mother my wife and my son alzheimer's bipolar and my owncognitive impaimentand  Alzheimer's i can add a few samples of ups. A grizzly bear eating lunch in the high country of the old Stone Park bordering Montana the grizzly bear bluff charged me thinking I was about to steal his elk lunch. Of course you don't know if the male bear is going to bluff charge or notHad it been a female I would have been doomed if she was protecting her cubs. No bluffing for a female like thatThen there was thepillThat I took as an example for pain reliefOn myinjured  KneemThe consequence after I ate all the pills wasSomething called Stevens JohnsonsindromdromWhich at first look like alight case of sunburn and gradually grew into a monster of swelling body parts. Mayo Clinic said after a day and and part of an evening in the emergency roomWhere all myvital  systems were collapsingthat I had misseddeathby just a few minutes due to thte Bextra ally pill in a list of long examples On a rainy morningI drove into townvisit a friend who had recently lost his wifeWe talkd f0r a  lengthy period of timeAnd when I decided it was time to go homeI went out into his driveway to see my car had aboutseveral feet of snowcovering a bunch oficeI slept on the driveway fell and hit my headBut managed to get up from that and start my car upDriving through town there waslittle evidence of the width of thestreets but again I managed to make it through with my large SUV plowing through drifts here and there.Reaching the highwayOn the way to my homeThere was a little sign of traffic on the highway except for a few tracks heading into the town that were obviously largtrucksThe problem was immediately evident that I couldn't see theshoulder of the highway which means I couldn't see where the highwayended so I tried to stay in the middle since there walittle evidence of cars but there were some tracks that were obviously slow movingtrucks. Unfortunately I drifted too far to the rightAnd while I didn't go into the ditch I got stuckOn top of the shoulder where we're large driftSo now I'm stuck on the shoulder of the highway

Fortunately I'm right across fromMy neighbor's houseAnd  thought well I'll go in and see if I can call a tow truck to get me outSo looking to the left and seeing no cars coming east from Spring ValleyI decided I could safelycross the highwayThat was the mistake since in the middle I slipped and fell right in the middle of the highway Again checking to my left there were no cars going east and checking to the right I sawa semiComing around the curveProbably about 20 mi an houAnd I was laying on the ground falling from ice I am immediately went to stand up and fell a second and third timeIs he real closer and closer to meCome on manup I guess not it's lockeI'm coming, giving up i tried to roll over to the shoulder since I couldn't stand up androllijg lelftinj reaching the shoulder stop because I could feel the rocks and pebbles underneath me the semi had drifted also to the right and believing I was safe i lay thereAnd he missed me by about a footI would have been flatterer than a pancakeIf my arm hadn't pulled out of the way. In conclusion this is a great story which portrays human weakness and triumph no sentimental musings hereIt's about real peopleand human greatness as well as defeat and sorrow. I liked it a lot. Publishers perhaps in 1990 you may have to find a dust covered in your public library or as I did is a gift from the authorto my now deceased son who is now trout fishing in heaven with God. Ray in senior housing in Spring Valley

1 comment:

  1. Hi Ray, John Hassler taught English in Park Rapids and was a summertime swim instructor...I saw him in action one year probably about 1960 he saved two of my friends from drowning. I have not read his books, but my sister in law read them all as she had him for English:)