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Sievert Olafson wants to give up a sure thing—farming the rich soil of Minnesota—to go to college. His father forbids it, his brothers ridicule him, and his sweetheart refuses to join him. So what does a seventeen-year-old, first generation American do? Sievert leaves home for the goldfields of the Arizona Territory. What he finds is a world of contrasts; a mentor who is his father’s diametric opposite, a young woman who takes him to new emotional heights, and depths, a “do it to them before they do it to you” society that is anything but a sure thing. His success is stolen, his honesty betrayed, and with the pull of a trigger, his views of right and wrong are altered forever. But through his wild ride of victories and defeats, a dormant bulb flowers. It guides him to happiness. And a second chance at his dream.
Eden Prairie, Minnesota
Wednesday, June 7, 1876
Sievert was out of tomorrows, with no time left to delay his confrontation. The decision to turn away from the sure thing came easy—he sought a greater prize. But how could he justify it to his father?
His lips moved, forming words and sentences, but the sounds were directed inward. Seventeen was old enough to decide his own future. Most of the boys his age had dropped out of school as soon as they could control a team of horses. Now, they were all working their own farms, their futures set. The land provided a good living here. A sure thing.
His father couldn’t have it both ways—insist that his sons finish school and then expect them to give up the thrill of discovery to follow his path on the farm. Maybe it was good enough for his brothers, but not for him. But how could he say that to his father?
Sievert quickened his gait, and with the rush, the hitch in his left leg yanked his mind back to the sensations that rivaled his fear of the upcoming confrontation. The limp, the dulled perception in his left arm and his left side. They had driven him for all these years to prove that he could outwork his brothers. His right hand jerked upward to his temple where the rough braids of the crescent scar felt hot. His fingers slid backwards and ringed the slight depression in his skull. He had no recollection of the event that produced the injury, except that he was five years old. Only his father’s words resonated in his memories of that time, from a conversation not meant for his ears. “The boy will never be right. Never do a man’s work.”
Sievert picked up the pace and let his left leg drag the dirt with each stride. It was so easy to forget his millstone, as long as he took his time. But any ramp of activity and it shrieked like a two-year-old told no. Today, he didn’t care. He’d proved himself before. He could do it again. He’d ignore the dullness in his left side. Fortunately, it didn’t extend to his mind.
Sneaking off the college applications had been easy enough, but the incoming mail was impossible to intercept. Doing something that daring, without prior discussion, went against everything his father stood for as patriarch of this New World family.
Sievert turned up the double-rutted road that led to the farmhouse and a sense of family responsibility enveloped him. He always felt that more was expected of him than of his two older brothers, and not just because of his success in school. But why? Probably because he had been conceived in Norway and born in America, and the ether of expectation associated with everything American highlighted, even enhanced, his potential.
His mind snagged on the word. Potential. He had heard it all too often, always in some form of chastisement, or occasionally in an overheard parental boast. To him, it was a dirty word. A parent’s dream and a child’s nightmare. And it double-crossed him—his reach for the future rapidly exceeded his parents’ arm-lengths of understanding and control.
Sievert’s stride remained quick as he entered the house and clumped into the parlor, his father’s second stop after washing off the evidence of the hard work that supported the family. His timing was perfect—as he lowered himself onto the settee opposite his father’s smoking chair, he heard the door to the washroom slam, followed by the rhythmic metallic squeaking of the pump handle as it drew cold water up from the earth into the wash basin letting him know his father would soon join him.
"This riveting fast-moving tale is skillfully crafted. Very rarely does a story keep me awake at night--this one accomplished this feat, as I was curious to know how it would all end. This novel definitely deserves a sequel."_Norm Goldman, Editor, Bookpleasures
Book Publisher: Whiskey Creek Press
No. of Pages: 346
Paper Weight (lb): 14.6
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