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“The Shroud of Turin” by James C. Schaap

On the third episode of the holiday special by James C. Schaap, author and retired English professor, he reads the “Shroud of Turin.” Today, a holiday visit to her daughter’s family— far, far away— stresses a recently-widowed grandma who wants, more than anything, for her beloved family not to forget the child come to earth for those he loves.
December 10, 2023

“Testimony” by James C. Schaap

On the second episode of the holiday special by James C. Schaap, author and retired English professor, James shares “Testimony.” Today, an arrogant artist who proudly calls himself elitist agrees to narrate the simple holiday program at his church, and is startled to find himself on his knees on Christmas Eve.
December 3, 2023

“Forgetting Jesus” by James C. Schaap

This is the first episode of the holiday special by James C. Schaap, author and retired English professor. Today, an eighth grader, fed up with smarmy Sunday School Christmas programs, races home to find a baby Jesus doll, only to discover, slowly, something she had never pondered about the gift in the manger.
November 26, 2023

The Quality of Mercy

Mrs. Goehring—may she rest in peace--knew nothing of what that jock in the back of the class was discovering in words she’d assigned us from Portia’s courtroom speech; but that morning in sophomore English, the schoolmarm won a game she didn’t really know I was playing. The ball games are long gone, but the lines of that speech showed up on my screen and then in a haze of memory just a day or two ago.
November 8, 2021

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 and went with. His daughter-in-law, Magenta, is no longer a young woman. Lawrence himself is a decorated World War I vet, so his son (had he lived) and his son's…
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 if they were boys, just a mile downstream from the home place. But a cemetery is as democratic as a public school: we've got to take everybody, so just one…
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 horse of a lens, my camera couldn't have caught him way up there because cardinals seem almost always nervous and flighty, jumping from skinny branch to skinny branch as if…
May 1, 2012