May 9, 2013


This series is a little bit biographical and a little bit imaginary about my dad and a road trip he took in the summer of 1946, when he turned fifteen. He and a friend hitchhiked from Loring Park to Duluth, into Canada and back again. He was gone from home for a month. I was astonished and fascinated by the tale. So, I added some speculation about things I've always wondered about and this series is the result. To read earlier SHORT LONG JOURNEY NORTH, click on the label to the right. The FIRST entry is on the bottom.

“Where did all the lights come from?” Freddie Merrill exclaimed.

“Friends of mine,” said Edwina Olds, Lieutenant, WACS (ret.)

“You have friends up here in the middle of the woods?” said Tommy Hastings.

“I have friends everywhere, boys.”

Behind them, the Socialist’s truck stopped at the edge of the circle of lights. Ed opened the door of her truck. At the same time the doors of the other trucks opened as well. For a moment, Tommy thought they were going to back away. Light poured across the open field, like the sun was coming up.

The Socialists got out of their truck and started across the field. When they reached the center, there was the sound of a half-a-hundred guns being prepared for action. They stopped. One of the men called out, “All we want is the boy.”

There was a long silence, then Ed called back, “There are two boys here. Which one are you talking about?”

“The one whose mother’s last name was Lurvey.”

Tommy leaned closer to Ed and said, “My mom’s last name was Lurvey.”

Ed nodded and called out, “What do you want of him?”

“He has something we need to have back.”

“What can a fourteen-year-old-boy...”

He leaned closer to her again and whispered, “I’m fifteen now.”

“What can a fifteen-year-old-boy have that a bunch of Commies want?”

The Witch of Anoka charged from the Socialist mob and shouted, “We’re not Communists! We’re Socialists!”

“What’s the difference?” shouted a voice behind the lights.

One of the men, older, maybe as old as his dad, Tommy thought, walked up and put his hand on the Witch’s shoulder, patting it and leaned over to say something to her. She cursed, spun around and walked back to her place with the others. The old man said, “There’s a picture we want back from Naomi Lurvey.”

“My mom’s name is Hastings and her first name’s Naomi, but I didn’t never hear what her old last name was.”

“It was Lurvey. She worked at the mansion with me. I was the butler of the upper house where your mother worked.”

“Why do you want this picture back?” Ed called.

“It’s got two men in it shaking hands.”

Tommy said, “I seen it.”

The entire group of Socialists started to move forward. From behind the bank of headlights, a woman’s voice called out, “One more step and we blast the lot of ya!”

The Socialists didn’t stop walking. Ed turned and gathering Tommy and Freddie into her arms, ran to her truck. One of the Socialists shouted in Finnish, “Antaa meille kuvan tai tapan sinut!

“What did they say? What’d they say?” Freddie cried out as he climbed back into the cab. Ed shoved Tommy in after him.

“Not sure, but I know enough Finnish to recognize the word, ‘tapan’. Go! Go!” They’d barely slid across the bench before she was in the seat, starting the truck and slamming the door.

The door bounced open as the first bullet spanged off the cab.

“What does ‘tapan’ mean,” Tommy shouted.

“Lay on the floor of the cab!” She gunned the engine and roared across the field as she shouted, “ ‘tapan’ means ‘kill’!”

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