All Posts By

James C. Schaap

Essay

What’s still there

https://youtu.be/17l2wM33ysE It was, I'd like to believe, at least something like this rendition--big choir, lots of folks on stage. I was a boy--kindergarten, first grade or second--and it seems to me that the woman who ran the whole pageant that…
Essay

John Henry Kok — 1948-2020

He was a colleague, my boss, my editor and, for a long, long time, our neighbor and good, good friend. From just across the street, we watched him grow up as a father with all those kids—six of them—some of…
Essay

Blowing in the wind

The land out back is vacant, all flood plain.  Nobody will build behind us, so we’ve got an acre of grass, native flowers, and Russian thistles, who get my daily attention. It’s wide open, the horizon yawning out for miles.…
Essay

Silas Soule and Fortitude

As much an adventurer as anyone else from out east, Silas Soule went west when what was back home wouldn't cut it any longer. He was just a kid, but he knew--his abolitionist father told him--that what was out there…
Essay

The “Indian problem”

Ft. Laramie Treaty In his statement, Chairman Frazier cites the 1868 Ft. Laramie Treaty that says “no white person or persons shall be permitted to settle upon or occupy any portion of the same; or without the consent of the…
Essay

Two Roads

I didn't know her well, just enough to tip my hat maybe, if I’d ever worn one. Probably said "hi" is all. She lived on the southwest corner of the block, a widow, her husband gone before we'd moved into…
Essay

Extraordinary Love

When Sven Johnson, his wife and two children, left their native Norway, they spent the next eight weeks crossing the choleric Atlantic in a sailboat. Impossible to imagine. A brother lived here in this new land, 100 miles from a…
Essay

Dear God

My granddaughter was, back then, just a little girl, third grade maybe, but one Sunday morning, I remember, she was already starting to wax nostalgic. Here's what she said. "You remember when we still lived in the old house, and…
Essay

Blessed Assurance

Years ago, when I was revising a novel, Romey's Place, I didn't know how it should end. What I knew when I'd started the major revision was that I was off in a new direction, writing a different story really because…
Essay

Prairie icon

Someday, I'm going to put this one on canvas. I know--it's no stunner, but I loved the image before I saw it through the screen on my phone. I wanted to get a shot of it from the minute I…