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Was the experience of “community” in an Ohio town during Ervin’s lifetime fundamentally more compelling and authentic than has been possible after the post-war economic boom? Or should Ervin’s passion for organizing and social service be seen as an attempt to compensate for an actual fragility of communal life?
More interesting than the big-name hits and misses, though, are the everyday but often extraordinary people that she meets along the way. Some are firmly in the Trump camp; some are frustrated by their friends who are; and some are somewhere in the complicated middle.
I delivered a version of the following text as a lecture at Augustana College last Tuesday, April 28 (all errors of fact and interpretation...
He traveled the three miles to the mill 63 times during the 87th harvest of his life, his old International pulling the wagon my uncle filled with beans or corn. I don't know why he counted the trips; perhaps it helped pass the time and focus his wavering mind on something other than the pain. He said to my father that he wanted to bring in one last crop. He almost did, clearing the beans but only getting halfway through the corn before he swallowed hard and told my uncle that they had better hire another man.