Oct 21, 1998
I am a storyteller whose themes are informed by faith, but I do not preach it. In fact, one reader mailed back one of my novels complaining that it was filthy; with a magic marker she had blacked out everything she found offensive. When I saw that the first casualty was the mere mention of Jack Daniels bourbon, I knew there was no need to look any further. I mailed her a refund check.
I was doing 60 and thinking about my boss, who's been on my ass lately, when the doe bounded out of the cedars and onto the highway. The red Jeep ahead of me caught her rear end just as she was about to jump clear of our lane and she tumbled, legs every which way, across the other lane and into a wide ditch. I'm a salesman on commission and when I'm on the road, I don't stop for anything except a gas gauge on E, a customer, or a motel at the end of the day. But something told me to stop now.
I have often been compared to my father. Though I neither look nor sound like him, I seem to have his temperament, some of his intellectual gifts and some of his vices. We have also followed a similar trajectory in our vocations.
These comparisons and references have increased over the past year, since he is one of my predecessors as dean of Duke Divinity School. He had served as dean for only 18 months when, in July 1982, he died suddenly of a heart attack.