All Posts By

James C. Schaap

Essay

Witnesses

"What places do I really have to see when I'm here?" I asked the woman behind the desk at the Osage visitor's center. “You must see our church,” she said, smiling. Clearly, she was at least part Osage. I liked the…
February 26, 2021
Essay

The Story at Devil’s Gulch

If the place sounds cliche-ish, you can't blame Garretson, SD, because doggone it, not every Siouxland burg has a tourist trap built in. Seriously, Garretson's is big-time: Jesse James was there. He was. Not some lousy impersonator. The. Real. Jesse…
February 12, 2021
Essay

Just another word

On my mother's side, my Dutch-American ancestry has been here since before the American Civil War. My people were among the first immigrants from the Netherlands to put down roots on the western shore of Lake Michigan. I have a…
January 29, 2021
Essay

What to see at Little Big Horn

The hill where Custer died "When you get to the Visitor's Center, look for the blue dress--it belonged to Judy's grandma," she told me. “Judy” is her friend. I’d just met both at the mission school—middle-aged, Northern Cheyenne women. "Both…
January 15, 2021
Essay

Agency stories

Maybe it was the little chapel she’d insisted on showing me, a place she thought any visit to the Northern Cheyenne mission wouldn’t be complete without a peek inside. I was tired and had miles to go, but her resolution…
January 1, 2021
Essay

First Cry in a Stable

It's not a new story. I wrote it more than a decade ago, so it may well show its age. But I thought I'd try it, a father and daughter story, at Christmas. It's a bit longer than a normal…
December 18, 2020
Essay

Divisions

Once you find the road in—the place is very much out of the way--the signs tell the story. I’ve visited twice, often enough to guess the state of Kansas gives other historical sites first dibs on overall maintenance. Marais des…
December 4, 2020
Essay

Hog-Hunting and Tote Bags

Got it this morning. Had no idea mature human beings could or would hunt hogs from helicopters, but this Texas outfit thought I might just take a shot.Ten years ago, we stayed at a gorgeous South Dakota hunting lodge, way…
November 27, 2020
Essay

Gerald Bosch: A Life

It's all so understandable. From the vantage point of 75-plus years, the war seems ancient history. Besides, so many of those who fought had no desire to bundle up memories and lug them home in a service bag. Many wanted…
November 13, 2020
Essay

Revelation

"Some of them just got too big for their britches." People said that occasionally, that some farmers who went down during the Farm Crisis of the 1980s, went in too big too fast and got blown off the land by a…
October 30, 2020