Who are you?
I am just a farmer, a husband, father and grandfather. I’m a simple man how is content to work my land, care for and love my wife and children. In many ways I am just like everyone else, and in others I am completely unique.
Where do you live?
I live on my farmland in rural Pottawattamie County , outside of the city of Council Bluffs , which is across the Missouri river from Omaha , Nebraska .
Are you the hero of your own story?
Like Dickens wrote, as life unfolds we see if we are the hero or villain of our own lives. I believe, finally I did become the hero, though it took a long time to get there. In releasing the past, I was set free from it, and could finally consider myself a hero, even in some small way.
What is your problem in the story?
I have held a secret for many years about a body buried in an unused area on my land. The grave is in a stand of trees that stand guard over that piece of land. It was not something I could speak of for a long time, I could say nothing until I was sure certain people were dead. You see, they threatened my family. It was not a chance I was willing to take. So I held the secret until my grandchildren discovered the skeleton, quite by accident.
Do you embrace conflict?
I do not run to embrace conflict, but when it comes, I prefer to stand my ground and face it. If one runs away from conflict, it has a way of finding you and making you face the music at a most inconvenient time.
What, if anything, haunts you?
Events of my past, but you will need to read the book to understand them.
Has anyone ever failed you? Has anyone ever betrayed you? Have you ever failed anyone?
All three of these questions have the same answer, my older brother Erdman failed me, betrayed me and worst of all I believe I failed him in that I could not help him. To my shame, I made things worse when I supplied him the alcohol that helped destroy us all.
What was your childhood like?
I always lived in the shadow of my perfect, older brother, Erdman. He was the child my parents doted on. He could do no wrong. I was treated like a servant, a forgotten child, and even the whipping boy for my older brother. I never had any idea why my parents couldn’t love me, but to their dying day, they never did.
Who was your first love?
Ahhh, my first love. If I am honest, I would have to say Clara Lindgren was my first love. I was too young for her, but I spent time with her when my brother, who was dating her, would haul me along to keep her occupied while he lapped up the accolades of his followers. My brother knew how to milk a crowd of every ounce of love and praise. He so desperately needed their adulation. I came to love her in a way that has never left me, though I married and raised a family. One never really forgets a first love, do they?
What is your most closely guarded secret?
Who it is that’s buried on my land.
What is your favorite scent?
It is an elusive fragrance that comes to me in dreams now and then. Or even once in a while it is carried on the soft summer breeze like a memory. It is called Replique by Raphael. It is a perfume from Paris that was popular in the 1920’s. It was Clara’s favorite fragrance. It has an enticing sweetness to it, heady perfume that tickles my senses and makes me remember some things that are better forgotten.
What are the last three books you read?
I don’t really get as much time to read as I would like, the farm keeps me quite busy, but I do love to read. Recently, I read Charlotte ’s Web by E. B. White to the grandchildren. I am still chilled by a short story by Shirley Jackson titled “The Haunting of Hill House.” I was completely repulsed and fascinated by William Golding’s Lord of the Flies, and was fascinated by James Mitchener’s book Hawaii. I always wanted to go there, and the book was about as close as I will ever get. And a series by an English scholar, J. R. R. Tolkein’s books; the Lord of the Rings, the Fellowship of the Ring and even his Hobbit.
How do you envision your future?
Better now that I have finally been freed from the past that held me hostage as I guarded the secret I held for so long.