The words that open this chapter, which sounded so startling to the author when he was 17 and riding on the bus to what he viewed as the ultimate Ontario-Vale game, now seem a bit common. I’m more familiar what might come from the mouth of a teenager whose angry that he’s not getting any playing time in football, soccer, basketball or baseball --- the sport the grandkids play. I hear the gossip about their teams. I know the way kids think from the perspective of a lifetime of getting used to the human condition. But in the fall of 1955 when I heard them from another player, not especially a close friend, they shocked me enough that I have never forgotten them. From the time my classmates and I attended junior high in Ontario we planned and plotted how we were going to win our football games against Vale. This chapter does not exaggerate the significance of that game to the town folks. And those kinds of high school football rivalries continue to this day in many small towns. For Ontario kids, the town that goes by the fictional name of Farewell Bend in the novel, the Vale game now means less. It’s not even a conference game. Actually that was changed not long after my class graduated.
At a more personal level, this chapter begins to develop the relationship between the narrator and his best friend, who is based on number of good friends from that time. But the thing I always tell readers when they ask about Peter Sanger is that he is more another side of me than any one friend from those years. The events the two characters get involved with may or may not have happened in real life, but the dialogue between the two is mostly a meditation with myself.
To read Chapter 3 go to the blog Farewell Bend the Novel using the link at the right.