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

Highline student finds her voice

Umoja Black Scholars Program enhances the cultural and educational experiences of African-American students.

Multi-Service Center raises $156,000 at annual Crab Feed

Federal Way’s Multi-Service Center raised funds to support its programs at its annual Crab Feed on June 1.

Rosebud Children’s Theatre Conservatory celebrates 10th season

Jack the Giant runs July 19-21; Little Women coming Aug. 2-11.

The Federal Way Vet Center is located at 32020 32nd Ave. S. Courtesy photo
Federal Way Vet Center barbecue to honor female veterans

This year’s event will also honor the 40th anniversary of vet centers around the country.

Sharon Boyle, June’s Citizen of the Month, has loved every moment of her work with the Special Olympics here in Federal Way. Mirror file photo
Mirror’s June 2019 Citizen of the Month

Sharon Boyle has spent the last four decades working for the Federal Way community.

Runners cross the finish line during the annual Miles for Meso 5k on July 4 in years past. File photo
                                Runners cross the finish line during the annual Miles for Meso 5k on July 4 in years past. File photo
Miles for Meso 5k Run/Walk is July 4 in Federal Way

The 8th annual Miles for Meso 5k Run/Walk is at 9 a.m.… Continue reading

World War II and roller rinks: 95-year-old Federal Way resident shares his story

Del Carlino is known as the unofficial “Mayor of Lake Dolloff.”

Make Music Federal Way set for June 21

The Federal Way Lions Club is excited to help host this event for the first time ever in Federal Way.

Super Diamond: Tribute to Neil Diamond coming to Federal Way June 21

Super Diamond delivers a glittering performance of Neil’s power ballads and up-tempo hits with unrestrained enthusiasm.

Music4Life brings instruments to school districts

The program takes gently used instruments and repairs them for classroom use in different school districts in King County.

Grammy winner Shenandoah to perform in Federal Way Sept. 26

Country band reunites to launch new chapter in their storied career.

‘Bye Bye Birdie’ coming to Centerstage Theatre

Production takes place in 1960s rural Ohio, featuring a fan club and the hottest rock star in the country.