All Posts By

James C. Schaap

Essay

Pig-headed in Hog Country

Let me tell you a story: Fifteen years ago, I was in line at a grocery store, behind two Hispanic men checking out. The clerk—a high school girl—got frustrated because her customers had trouble with the English language. That she…
Essay

Ghost Town Legacy

Buxton, Iowa Could be an early 20th century shot from a lot of places on the map. There's a hill up the street, but the place looks like any of a thousand small towns from almost any region of the…
Essay

Language and the Lummi

After just about forty years of teaching students from all over the continent, I came to believe, grudgingly, that no geographic group adored their "homeland" with more lovesick passion than kids from the Pacific Northwest. Hundreds, being away, brayed like…
Essay

All about D-day

I didn't know him--couldn't have. He was killed four years before I was born. For years I wouldn't have known his story any more fully than I might have known the stories of any other veteran who didn't return from…
Essay

Musical Bewonderment

Last night I couldn't help thinking of an old story told to me long, long ago by an organist--the organist, the very one who'd been asked to do a concert on a brand new pipe organ a country church had just…
Essay

Job in the Panhandle

Job's friends had his health in mind, but none of them, nor their arguments, could satisfy the emptiness in his soul. He'd lost everything, his family, his land, his enterprise, even his health in a tsunami of bad times unlike…
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…