Harold Vinnoir. He came from Minnesota. He is a Minnesot, not 
   a Native American, just someone from Minnesota. Rural Minnesota, very
   rural. 
        He was a slight child who never seemed to really fit into whatever 
   clothes he put on. This unmendable glitch always served to accentuate 
   the unique way he moved. While his arms hung loosely, his hands would
   sort of wag like the streamers from the handlebars of your first new bike. 
       This signature gait would be most visible on the long solitary walks 
   Harold would take on the dusty roads that stretched to the horizons
   and served as divisions between fields of corn, wheat, sunflower, hay, or
   maybe cow pasture. 
       But whatever uninhabited sort of expanse it was, Harold walked those
   pathways mostly by himself, and as he walked and hummed, the
   meadowlarks on the utility wires above him would fly up, calling into the
   wind, and then assume the same position on the same utility wires, a half 
   a chorus down the road. Breezes would blow and the crop would shimmy
   and dip as the hot wind directed and then the sun would go down in a 
   great hymn of red and gold and then the magical spirit fireflies and the
   music of brother cricket would commence.
       Folks figured out that Harold had music in him. He could sing in church
   and had the patience to teach the songs to the other kids. 
       Shirley Bannister, the spinster choir lady, always with flowers on her
  dress and minty breath, once asked him,
        “My Harold, where do you find the patience to do anything with these
   children, let alone teaching them hymns?”
        “Meadowlarks Miss Bannister, umhmm, you betcha, meadowlarks.”
       In the small county school, Harold could learn to play the instruments
   other folks had forgotten the names of. There was this music closet way
   back in the band room and it was full of weird horns and things with 
  strings that someone in the town was in the habit of collecting and storing,
  for now, in the forgotten closet. Come the little band concerts in town, into
  which Harold was quickly and happily drafted, folks would remark,
        “What the hell is that kid playin now?”
      Harold did well in school. He was an absorbent hard-working student. 
        He played with his sisters when they were all of an age to play but was
   marginalized when their more mature agendas required other kinds of 
   stimulation. Though he loved butterflies, he himself was no butterfly. He
   was not beautiful or very social. But, he was very, very likeable.
       He had his music and books and golden sunsets and the attention he
    received in church and school, but he feared this existence was somehow
    temporary, like a good pair of shoes that might be outgrown or worn
    through.
      As the smart kids were supposed to, Harold went to college, resolved 
   that his college career would function to build a mighty fortress for the
   moments in splendor and glory which he cherished so very much. Folks
   would say things like “aim high”, so Harold aimed high. After a successful
   undergraduate career at a large state university, divinity school seemed a
   perfect fit for Harold and Harvard saw his potential. 
       True, once there, he was no longer the strongest player in the room, but
   he gained a great deal from the company he found.
      He was now surrounded by powerful, insatiable intellects and a lively 
   city full of distractions and invitations, of which Harold partook.
      He saw class divisions in Boston and Cambridge the likes of which he
   had barely even read about back home. Sometimes there was a color line, 
   not an issue in rural Minnesota in the 40’s & 50's. Urban poverty smelled
   bad, nothing like a field of alfalfa, and Harold came to feel a kind of guilty
   displeasure for having had such a blissfull and untroubled childhood.
      He was constantly in the company of very attractive women who seemed
   to love his company (and he their’s), though never with any notion of
   romance. If a female student  showed some possibly tender interest in
   Harold, he would see it coming and fly to the next telephone pole.
      Harold came to realize in these years that his emerging sexual appetites
   were whetted by the men he met, not the women, and Cambridge provided
   an ample supply of men who felt the same way.
      This development was not expressed in any of the letters home. Visits
   back to rural Minnesota just got weird. His sisters loved him and kinda
   knew… but their high school sweet heart husbands were their bread and 
  butter so they were happy and somewhat relieved when vacations ended
   without crisis and Harold returned to Boston. 
      And he had become worldly. He didn’t really fit in their town anymore
   but, “the Lord works in strange ways and Harold works for the Lord, 
  hahahaha”.
    Harold graduated from Harvard with honors, a Methodist minister now
   and ready for a career in the Army of the Lord, with a love for mankind 
   and a kind of man love, empty pockets, and the fire lit in the bellies of so
   many Americans by the words of John F. Kennedy.  But the big kahunas in
   the American Methodist church didn’t send their new ministers off to some
   wretched, impoverished dessert village in Africa. The Peace Corps did 
   that, and anyway, there were wretched impoverished villages in Arizona 
   and New Mexico and South Dakota and most of the other Western states.
        So with high spirits, strong spirits and the spirit of the Lord in him
   Harold went forth upon the prairie to kindle religion in a house where
   dignity and spirit did once abide. 
        Didn’t work, no sir. Harold couldn’t pitch the product when the truth
   about the rubes was they were not rubes at all, just tired run over victims
   that the Lord would help  no more then they could help themselves which
   was not at all. At all.
        Harold could love them but his love put no food on their tables nor
   whiskey in their bottles, and hope and joy began to writhe like a run over
   snake with just enough life to feel pain but no more. 
    Then there was an incident involving a young man on the reservation.
   The facts about what happens in these matters of the heart may evaporate
   but there remains a stain, indelible and scarlet. Was he banished from a 
   hell of another’s creation or did he repent? Oh, bother. Harold was not
   marching any more in the army of the Lord. No sir, you betcha!
    So where does a  fallen angel go to rise again? New Yalk! When 
   Harold told the tale of his time in the wilderness to the blind and lame at
   Columbia, they found the means to see him through a PhD in philosophy
   and another in New Yorkology. Harold did not just live in New York, 
   he bathed in it; he slept with it and dreamed it and he rose and twirled with
   it and moved through it like a passion breeze through the heart. As luck
   would have it, all of Harold’s talents, patience and intensity along with his
   degrees qualified him to make and excellent bureaucrat, and so he again set
   forth to do right, as he saw it, in the offices of the New York State Welfare
   to Work Administration. A most civil servant. 
    And here is where we met Harold, in NYC, working for the state, trying to help someone, playing in community orchestras, fortifying a few hobbled church choruses, amassing a huge little library and a large circle of friends who had known instantly upon meeting him that Harold had a light that glowed bright and real over the unnavigable expanses of our wine dark sea. This was who Celia knew, her best friend Harold. Celia saw his light. 

Harlod

cHAPTER 31

  "Fourscore and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field as a final resting-place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this. But, in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate — we cannot consecrate — we cannot hallow — this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation shall have a new birth of freedom and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."