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“I Love You”

William J. Vande Kopple It happened at the most startling—and often inappropriate—times. I was collaborating with colleagues Nancy Hull and Gary Schmidt during Calvin College's interim term to lead a group of students around significant literary sites in eastern Massachusetts. Often Gary, who insisted that he simply could not learn how to change his cell phone from ringing to vibrating, would get a call, examine the screen, press a tab, and say, "Hello, my dear." It would be a call,…

As a Father…

"Anything yet?" "Ha!--not a very good job of sneaking up on me this time, Dad. Stepping on that crusty plowed snow by the road gave you away." "I wasn't trying to sneak up on anybody. Just trying not to disturb the peace. I know you like sitting out here on the shoreline and meditating under this old white pine. But I wanted to check if you've had any flags." "One false alarm just after I got my two tip-ups set.…

Walking the Walk

"You're not going out in all that wind, are you?" Wanda was cropping pictures for a memory-book page. "Can't let a little wind keep me from my Sunday-afternoon walk." "Well, at least tell me where you're headed. And take the cell phone with you." "I'll drive to Palmer Park and do my loop in the woods. And I'll take the phone, but if a tree falls on me, I doubt that I'll be doing much dialing." Although I had acted…

Forever and Ever

The anesthesiologist, I thought, looked competent. He had introduced himself shortly after the nurse in pre-op had managed to pull my wedding ring off. "The biggest danger in removing an adrenal gland and an attached pheochromocytoma is a blood-pressure crisis. When the surgeon clamps off the blood vessel running from the adrenal, he will step back, and we will all watch what your blood pressure does. You have to know that Dr. Rodriguez is an excellent surgeon. And I see…
William J. Vande Kopple
January 16, 2006

Justice Rolling Down

If anyone ever deserved a little break, I thought as I drove to the Muskegon River after school that Friday afternoon in October, I was the one. In the past week, I had faced more work than I thought three skilled people, working feverishly, could ever complete. But I had managed to finish all the work up on my own. The effort, though, had left me so tense that the muscles along the back of my neck felt braided.At breakfast,…