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Where the Tree Falls

James Calvin Schaap Our friend Lawrence told us he thought it might be good for our souls and there would be a death, a deliverance — some friend of his daughter-in-law somewhere out on the reservation. Lawrence doesn't ask much; never did. So a couple of us left the cemetery…
January 1, 2014

The Unveiled

It should come as no surprise that death creates some unlikely bedfellows. Up here, up the hill, sworn enemies share a morning pot of coffee. The three Vande Gaard brothers, who fell into ten years of silence once their father's will was read, hang out here along the river as…
December 1, 2012

Searing Stemwinder

MAY 2012: AS WE SEE IT by James C. Schaap Our lindens are just about the tallest trees in town, I swear. And there he was, high up top, singing his heart out, that searing melody so perfectly "cardinal" that it couldn't be mistaken for anyone else's. Even with a…
May 1, 2012

Life, and Death: a memoir

The house where we lived at that time is long gone, as is the tiny kitchen where I stood, phone in hand, listening. The call had come in the middle of the day, in the middle of a lunch, our two kids were sitting beside us. It's now thirty-plus years…
August 1, 2011

A Dirge for My Mother’s Cousin

Oddly enough, it may be my earliest intense memory. We're at the village park for a family reunion, I think, and it's fun--that much I remember. Then, for no particular reason, my mother's first cousin and some other faceless relative pick up my mother, one by her arms, the other…
June 1, 2010

The Sorcerer’s Smile

Your great-grandma says I talk like an old preacher, which is to say, too much. Maybe she's right. She's right about a lot of things. Of course, she knows all the stories, too. We've been married for sixty-seven years. It wasn't the time to tell the one I could have…
December 1, 2009

Zuni Christian Reformed Church Zuni Pueblo, New Mexico

  Over the next several issues, Perspectives will be presenting "church reviews." These reviews are intended to give a glimpse into what is happening in Reformed churches across North America. We have selected a wide variety of congregations within the broader Reformed tradition to be reviewed. Some are "tall-steeples," others…
August 1, 2009

A Huge Step

In March, 1968, we drove all night long in order to get to Florida for Spring Break, Daytona Beach. When we got there--as I remember--it was late evening, and the beach was wild with college kids. We looked for some place to stay but didn't find a thing until we…
January 1, 2009

January Thaw

Here's how I imagine it. She knows he's there but she waits, time being of little consequence, after all. He died in the fall, when the leaves were drenched in reds and oranges, and to the north the sharp lines of shorn soybean rows looked like something cut into the…
January 1, 2008