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By William J. Buchanan

"This isn't really your traditional account of a tender man's demise of melanoma, yet a full of life and unprecedented tale of John Baker's choice to go away scholars with newfound talents and self-confidence. . . . a striking, uplifting tale of wish and resolution which isn't missed."--Bookwatch

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At the end of the week Jack took John aside. " "It sure has," John agreed. " The next morning John called his friends to come over and bring rakes, hoes and shovels. When they arrived he assembled them at the rear of his house where the mesa lay in open range. Just behind his back fence he and his friends spent the day scraping away tumbleweeds, cacti and sagebrush, until they had cleared an area suitable for a ball diamond. That evening, in a rousing game of softball, umpired by his father, John began to train himself to run faster.

That evening, in a rousing game of softball, umpired by his father, John began to train himself to run faster. In September the Baker children entered nearby Mark Twain Elementary School. John was in the fifth grade. Unlike Robert, who approached his studies indifferently but still made high marks, John had to struggle for good grades. But determination was already one of his traits. At the first PTA meeting that year his teacher took Polly aside. "Mrs. Baker," she asked, a bit apprehensively, "do you and your husband .

He decided to press the issue. "All right," Haaland said, trying to keep things light Page 19 "let's see if I can guess. You just got a 'dear John' from Mary Ann. " Baker shot Haaland a reproachful glance. " Haaland said. With a half-smile Baker nodded. They had reached a favorite drive-in restaurant near the University of New Mexico campus. Baker pulled in and parked. They ordered Cokes. Baker sipped his silently. Haaland tried again. " Baker nodded. "I fell today . . on the mesa," he said quietly, keeping his eyes on his drink.

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