Caleb’s Story by Patricia MacLachlan
Anna has gone into town to finish up school and work for the local doctor. Before she leaves, she gives Caleb her journals and tells him that it is his job now to write about life on the farm with Sarah, Papa, and Cassie, their little sister. Caleb knows he isn’t as good at writing as Anna, but he is going to try.
Cassie tells Caleb she sees an old man one day, but Caleb assumes he’s imaginary as their farm is out in the country. She even draws a picture of the old man. At one point Caleb goes into the barn and knows he’s not alone. There he does find a man, which Sarah promptly invites inside. Papa isn’t home yet, but they make the man welcome. He’s not a robber, that much they know.
When Papa comes home, it’s apparent that the two know each other, better than anyone thought. The man is actually John, Papa’s father. He’s been gone for many years and he hasn’t once contacted Papa. Papa thought he was dead. The two do not get along very well and there’s even a fight, in which Papa breaks his leg.
Sarah tells Papa that it is best to forgive his family and the entire time Caleb and Grandfather have been working on something special.
What I liked
It’s really nice when family members who have fallen out for some reason can get back together and get alone.
I have an uncle, who is disagreeable, as all my uncles are at times, but this one is more disagreeable than the others. Every so often, he’ll get really mad at someone in the family and yell at them and say awful things to them. Then he won’t speak to anybody for a while and then he’ll start speaking to people again, then we’ll all be friends again. He never really says he’s sorry; it’s more the rest of the family forgiving and forgetting what he’s done in the past. We take this uncle with a grain of salt because that’s how he is and we know he has his issues and problems. We love him anyway.
I think sometimes you have to love a person anyway, despite what they may or may not have done in your past. This story is an example of a son loving his father anyway, despite the fact that his father was gone for many years out of his life. Will things ever be perfect between the two? No, they will not, but they will get the satisfaction of having one another in each other’s lives, even with the bad stuff happens.
What I didn’t like
Part of me thinks this whole thing is silly. I understand Papa’s hurt. He grew up without a father because his father left. Growing up without a father sucks, I know. At the same time though, if somehow my father could be back in my life, I would let him, because he’s my father. My father being back in my life is impossible unless someone invents resurrection and then a cure for cancer. If he was just off somewhere, instead of being dead, I would be like, “You know what, I know you weren’t there for me when I was growing up, but I would like it if you were in my life now.”
I think Papa is silly to hold this grudge, but I understand.
This sets a good example to Caleb of learning how to forgive other people.
Do you have a family member who was gone from your life and then came back into it?
If so, did the good things about the reunion outweigh the bad things about it?