Huckleberry Finn and Steve

Steve Shoemaker, my poet colleague on Views from the Edge, is at Mayo Clinic here in Rochester getting a second opinion on newly diagnosed pancreatic cancer and silent heart attack. He recently shared the news with his friends, many of whom had applauded his recent advocacy for welcoming Syrian refugees.

Here’s what Steve wrote:

In Mark Twain’s “Huckleberry Finn,” the young rascal lets his family, and the whole small Missouri town, think he was drowned in the Mississippi River & his dead body carried down stream… And then Huck snuck back into town in disguise and attended his own funeral.

The frequent truant was amazed at all the nice things said about him–even by his school teachers.

This has been my experience the last few days as my serious cancer diagnosis became known, along with a surprisingly positive article in our partisan Republican News-Gazette about Democrat me being critical of Illinois’ Republican Governor refusing State aid, public or private, to vetted Syrian refugees.

As I spoke & wrote about welcoming Syrians, the outpouring of support & personal praise has been amazing…some of the positive words coming even from my grown children (who seeing me up close for years could have written very differently.)

Of course I know after bad news, and at a funeral, critics are silent or absent. I am grateful for both the good words, and the silence!

Illness, diagnoses, prognoses and treatments are personal. Some keep them not only from others but from themselves. Not so with Steve. This is typical Steve. What’s not to love about a humble rascal?

  • Gordon C. Stewart, Chaska, MN, Nov. 28, 2015

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