You don’t have to like it, but you will

You don’t have to like it.

That’s the way it is with parental decisions. You may not agree with Mom and Dad and you can argue all you want. You don’t have to like it but, as in “Two Roads” by Joseph Bruchac, the path they set for you is in your best interests.

There was a certain code of ethics that “knights of the road” followed.

“I take care of you, you take care of me” was the one etched most firmly in Cal Black’s heart. Twelve-year-old Cal and his Pop followed that rule faithfully, after having lost their farm to the bank and Cal ’s mother to illness. It was 1932, they were riding the rails, and they didn’t have much but they had one another.

For Cal , that was key. Pop taught him everything there was to know: how to act, how to be respectful, how to find a safe place to sleep, how to track man or dinner. And in the middle of Kansas , Pop taught Cal something about himself.

Pop was a veteran of World War I, and Cal knew that his father’s service was a big point of pride. Cal had heard battle-stories, and they gave him nightmares but what he’d never known until that day on a boxcar heading north, was that Pop wasn’t the white man he’d led Cal to believe.

Pop was a “full-blood” Creek Indian, and that made Cal a half-blood.

Cal wasn’t sure what to think. There was no shame in being an Indian; while growing up, Pop told him stories of Indian bravery and wisdom and Cal knew history. But now it was his history and he’d have to adjust to thinking of himself in a whole new way.

There was little time for it, though. Pop needed to join his fellow soldiers on a Bonus Army march to Washington , to get President Hoover to release much-needed money. To do this, he had to leave Cal behind.

An Oklahoma “Indian School,” Pop figured, was the perfect place.

But would a half-blood, English-speaking boy ever fit in there?

In life, there are times when you pick a path, and there are times when a path is chosen for you. Same with books, and “Two Roads” is the way to go.

Based gently on actual historical events and a few real people, this is one of those books that can yank a kid back nearly a hundred years in time, to a reality they might only know from schoolbooks. To do that, author Joseph Bruchac lends no romance to anything in his book: people die in “Two Roads,” racism is harsh, poverty happens, and folks go hungry. That won’t scare kids, so much as it’ll put Depression-era life into a perspective they can understand while they’re reading an absolutely fine coming-of-age story.

Don’t be surprised if you find yourself reading over the shoulder of your 10-to-14-year-old because this is a book neither of you should miss. You don’t have to like “Two Roads”… but you will.

More in Life

‘Talk to Me’ draws from real life

The view from above was stunning. The cliché says that people look… Continue reading

Kent schools to receive donated musical instruments

Part of Music4Life program; booster club formed

Destination Moon: The Apollo 11 Mission exhibition

Tickets on sale for Museum of Flight’s major exhibition that celebrates the first lunar landing 50 years ago

You’ll want to hang tight when reading ‘The New Iberia Blues’

Your hand is deep in a bucket of crunchy goodness. Without popcorn,… Continue reading

Youth Movement

Chamber Concert with Auburn Symphony Musicians set for Jan. 20

Woman’s large nativity scene collection on display

Margaret Luke, Auburn resident and a member of First Christian Church of… Continue reading

You don’t have to like it, but you will

You don’t have to like it. That’s the way it is with… Continue reading

Our Very Own Nutcracker On Ice

Kent Valley Figure Skating Club performs holiday program Jan. 5

The Apollo 11 Descent Module and astronaut foot trails are visible in the center of this LRO photo. NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University
New photo exhibit exposes alien tracks on the moon

Opening Dec. 20, Lunar Focus offers recent images of Apollo landing sites from the observations of NASA Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter

Prepare to dive into the inner workings of a library

The possibilities seem endless. Row upon row of books awaits you, each… Continue reading

Hillsong United coming to Kent’s ShoWare Center May 30

Christian worship band from Australia