All Posts By

James C. Schaap

Essay

Remembrance

The only means of getting man and woman, beast and wagon across the rain-swollen Niobrara River was by rope, hand over hand. Dozens of oxen and as many as 500 horses had to get to the other side, as did…
Essay

Our small corners

"Why are they called Canada geese?" our third-grade grandson asked us last week. It seems no one really knows; after all, they show up in every state of the union and don't necessarily make pilgrimages up north to watch hockey.…
Essay

When nothing is something

We visited Stratford-upon-Avon, of course, toured Shakespeare's house and watched the Royal Shakespeare Company perform Julius Caesar in the Royal Shakespearean Theater. I vaguely remember the grave of Jane Austin, but, twenty years after our visit, Piccadilly Circus is gone completely from…
Essay

St. Boniface among the Frisians

Some heartfelt sympathy is in order for St. Boniface. After all, he lost his head to the Frisians when he decided to go back to their neighborhood to de-paganize them after once, years before, throwing in the towel on a…
Essay

Buffalo Soldiers in the Trenches

By the time American troops got to Europe in 1917, African-Americans had an established, but not celebrated history in military service of our country. In 1862, under the direction of Thomas Wentworth Higgenson, the sworn abolitionist and literary heartthrob of…
Essay

Voices in Lancaster County

"Sunday, October 15, we went to church. The wind was then blowing wildly, but this became worse further along in the day. When we got out of church, we saw smoke in the distance, because the prairie was on fire."…
Essay

The Blizzard of 1888

A January thaw is what all of us look forward to out here, a breath of warmth that reopens our hope that someday soon April will return. Two cold-of-winter days, then maybe three of forty degrees. No wind. Heaven comes…
Essay

Immigration

I snapped this shot at the Somalia exhibit at St. Paul's Minnesota History Center. I wanted a picture of the plow, that wooden contraption in the far corner, a venerable, ox-drawn ancestor of, well, this 21-bottom plow pulled along by…
Essay

Piata’

The story goes that Michelangelo used to come by St. Peter's Basilica at night to stand there before his sculpture, not because he was so proud of what he'd done but because he'd grown to love this woman, this Mary,…