Jon's story is about a man named Jay who has come rather late to his midlife crisis. Nearing fifty, Jay finds himself dislocated by a divorce and by his only child's attempted suicide. Seeking stability, he has taken a temporary teaching position at his alma mater, St. Andrew's College. The story opens in the school's potting shed, which in earlier days had been a root cellar.
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"This is Jon's first short story published in 20 years. Readers will enjoy the classic Hassler style. It's not just for Christmas!"Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
"Despite our age difference, Charlie is the closest thing to a friend I've got on this campus. He's one the smiliest guys you'll ever meet. His smile is constant, like an idiot's. At first I thought he might actually be an idiot, but no, his mind has a very nice edge to it, and it used to bother me that he was wasting it on the study of theology. Medieval Studies or Canon Law okay, but Metaphysics, Moral Theology, Epistomology? -come on, why would anyone want to get into all that useless speculation? I was about to put this very question to him one day when he said something that shut me up before I got a word out. "You know, Jay," he said "in my four years in this seminary I have read exactly one hundred books I didn't understand." Wow! No worries here, I thought. With candor like that, Charlie's going to make one hell of a priest.
I'm not a seminarian, but I live in the seminary because that's where the empty rooms are these days. Last spring, divorcing my wife and desperate to leave the college in Rookery where she and I had offices side by side in the Literature and Languages Division, I accepted this one-year professorship at my alma mater. The day I arrived on this campus in the woods, Charlie was the first person I met. He helped me carry in my belongings -- two suitcases, a coffeemaker, and a lawn chair -- and he laughed and laughed when I told him this was all I was left with after the divorce settlement. My wife got the house, the cabin, the newer car, and the dog.
"Actually this belongs to her too," I said, holding up the flimsy lawn chair, "but she kindly let me take it." Charlie couldn't stand up he laughed so hard. He collapsed on the sunny grass and shook with laughter. From that moment on, I loved the guy. I'd tried everything to get over my anger, my despondency; I raged, I wept, I prayed, I tried Prozac -- I'd done everything but laugh. But I wasn't laughing yet on the day I moved in. I went on to describe for Charlie the courtroom scene last June, and how Judge Lawton Anderson -- said to be of the fairest judges in Minnesota -- awarded Susie everything but the coffeemaker (Susie doesn't drink coffee), the clothes in my closet, and the old Toyota with its broken hatchdoor, its wobbly steering, and its 160,000 miles. And all the while her boyfriend Scuyler was sitting at the back of the courtroom gloating over what he assumed would belong to him and her together, the poor sap. Charlie laughed so hard I thought he was going to hyperventilate.
"Hell," I raged, "by the time I left town she'd ditched him for another lover whose name is Sarah."
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Book Description Afton Historical Society Press, 1998. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Charles J. Johnston (illustrator). book. Bookseller Inventory # M1890434094
Book Description Afton Historical Society Press, 1998. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P111890434094
Book Description Afton Historical Society Press. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. 1890434094 New Condition. Bookseller Inventory # NEW7.1729474