The Novels

Economics 101, a Novel (Rough Draft) -- My first sustained attempt at a novel, two-thirds finished in rough draft, and heading a little too far south.
What would you do if you and your study partner, with whom you had been seriously discussing marriage, suddenly found yourselves all alone together on a desert island? Study economics?
Sociology 500, a Romance (Second Draft) -- The first book in the Economics 101 Trilogy.(On hold.)
Karel and Dan, former American football teammates and now graduate students, meet fellow graduate students Kristie and Bobbie, and the four form a steady study group.

Featured Post

Sociology 500, a Romance, ch 1 pt 1 -- Introducing Bobbie

TOC Well, let's meet Roberta Whitmer. Bobbie entered the anthropology department office and looked around. Near the receptionis...

Friday, August 19, 2016

Economics 101, a Novel, -- What's happening

I think that I shall never see a blog as lovely as a novel.

Wait. Disengage from channeling e e cummings.

I'm a little worn out from writing, I need to prepare for the next semester.

I need to reconstruct my resume and start taking it around to new schools because this is my third year at the school where I am and the stupid law about temporary staffing requires the school to offer me a permanent job if they don't fire me.

Which means it requires them to fire me if they don't offer me a permanent job.

Seriously twisted law.

But they don't have any true tenured teachers, near as I can tell. All the certified teachers are under the umbrella of a teacher's union/cooperative, so they have job stability. And that means the school can cycle them as it sees fit.

And I am not certified, so I can only work as temporary staff. And I can't get on the cooperative's job security program, because of rules about how many hours they can give me or something.

And I am too old, they say, to certify.

Nickel and dime me to death.

I'm not sure I want to certify, since certified teachers work 80+ hours a week, not just teaching, but being parent surrogates. This is what socialism does to education, guys.

It's also what unbounded capitalism does to education, guys.

To the whole market. Socialism and communism send you in the general direction of the bottom, but unbounded capitalism also eventually locks everyone into a race to the bottom.

Look up "race to the bottom" in your handiest economics textbook.

(Simply stated, it's the threat of unbounded competition pushing every seller's asking price in the marketplace down to the absolute minimum, which ends up not enough to maintain market presence. Why it inherently infects communistic and socialistic economies requires a longer explanation, and you should be able to find that explanation in a good text on the basics of economics. Maybe I'll get a chance to write a novel for Economics 102 and touch on that there.)


Here's what's happening with Economics 101, a Novel:

I have decided my initial plans for a re-write sanitized the story too much. Took out the sense I had of writing it to see where it led. Made it feel too planned. All of which does not fit the plot, at all. (Not to mention the allegories getting turned inside out.) So those plans are on (probably permanent) hold.

So my plans for the second draft are to move the initial draft here, mostly keeping the structure and story intact, as it is. I just want to fix some glaring grammar, spelling, and logic errors.

I may borrow bits of the re-write that were especially good. (There were a few of those. The biggest bogie in the re-write was the structure.)

I'm not sure when I'll get started, but it should be any day soon now. In the meantime, the rough draft is still fun.

[Backup] Table of Contents for Economics 101, a Novel

[JMR201801052155: Backup of]

Are you looking for the table of contents for the rough/initial draft of Economics 101, a Novel?

Here it is:

Why it's in that blog instead of this is just a little hard to explain:

I felt this was a freedom related novel, so I got started here, and then I realized it would be easier to work on over there, so I made that blog, but there was too much over here, ...

Just a little hard, and maybe not all that hard to understand.

Why the table of contents is called index is also pretty straightforward:

Living in Japan, it's easy to forget words, their meanings, and their usual uses.

(And language moves on, but that's a separate issue. Wish the people who are willing to let me teach English would be willing to help me keep it up. But they're not even willing to give me a steady job. Seems like it's a race to the bottom in every field. Oh, that complaint would seem to be an economic complaint. :)

I'm going to halt my initial efforts on an almost final draft over there, but I think I will move the second draft over there and leave this as backup, etc.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

[Backup] Economics 101, a Novel, ch_09 -- In the Islands

[JMR20180106: backup of Unused text for this chapter can be found here:]

(The framing story starts is here: If you haven't read that, you might want to. Otherwise, the rest of this may not make much sense.

Introductions and characterizations begin here:

In the the last chapter, Karel and Bobbie get ready to go to do their fieldwork in the Islands:

If you don't care about characterization, you might want to jump ahead:

Of course, we're almost done telling you how they ended up still not openly committed to each other when they were finished with their research projects, so why don't you just go ahead and read this chapter?)

Orson Hyde University campus is nestled against the foothills of a very long mountain range. It is a part of small city that sits between a lake and the mountains.

There is a large city about an hour to the north, which has a major airport. It was this airport at which they said goodbye to their families and left in the company of the MacVitties, after completing their preparations at the university.

During the flight, Bobbie did not pay much attention to the men giving her the eye. She noticed some of them, but she didn't pay much attention.

While waiting at a layover, she said, "Karel?"


"Have you noticed the guys looking at me?"

Karel replied, "Have you noticed me noticing some of the women? Sometimes a guy gets distracted."

"Are you trying to make me jealous?"

"Maybe, but I was really just thinking that beauty draws the eye."

"Telling me I'm beautiful again."

"Just telling it like it is."

"Heh. Well, anyway, guys used to hit on me."

"You've mentioned that before."

"Now it seems like I can ignore them before they get that far."


"I'm sure part of that is because I'm with you. And I've gotten into the habit of dressing down."

"When you doll yourself up, you're just gilding the lily."

"Give me a break."

Sister MacVittie leaned across her husband's lap and said, "He's just telling you the truth."

Bobbie looked at the back of the seat in front of her. "I know I am cursed with good looks. Hmm. But that's actually kind of what I'm trying to talk with Karel about."

"I'll keep my nose out of things."

Professor MacVittie thought it was the better part of valor to stay out of things, too.

"Something's changed inside me. I used to be like a deer caught in headlights when guys looked at me. Now it doesn't mean much to me. And that means guys mostly don't hit on me."

Karel said, "Mostly. But I've warned a few off, so far."

"And you've missed a couple."

"Yeah. but I'm trying."

"It's okay. I was able to warn those guys off, myself. And I don't feel upset about it any more."

Professor MacVittie finally spoke up here. "That's an important thing. I hadn't realized you were struggling so much with that."

"Guys are generally more civilized at the Orson Hyde University."

"Not all that civilized. I think I have said some things I have to apologize for."

"No, you've never offended me."

"I'm glad of that."

[JMR201608161652 -- woops second => first:

At the last layover before they reached the main island, they met the second first counselor to the President of the District of the Church which nominally included the islands to which they were going. He confirmed the information they had received at the university concerning their church activities.


He also gave them contact information for a family from the closest branch who were assigned as their home/visiting teachers.

Visiting teachers are sent from the Relief Society, and home teachers are sent from the priesthood quorums. In the less fully organized branches and wards, sometimes they have couples assigned to do both at once. It wasn't official policy at the time of this story, but it is sort of official now.

He hoped they wouldn't mind if no one was able to actually come to the islands to visit them. They had promised to try, but it would be rather a sacrifice to do so.

Karel and Bobbie said they understood, and appreciated having people nearby who would be praying for them, whom they could at least contact in times of emergency.

[JMR201608161652 -- woops second => first:

He mentioned in passing that he was also the second first counselor in the temple presidency. He told them they would be happy to have them come to the temple any time they could get out that way. He refrained from mentioning anything specific.


Then he repeated the encouragement that they had been given before to be good examples as members of the Church. And he sent them on their way.

And they flew on to the main island near where they would be doing their research.

Their charter pilots, Wycliffe and Zedidiah, met them on arrival at the main island.

Professor MacVittie introduced himself and gave them contact information for the university and requested to be contacted immediately if anything untoward happened while carrying Karel and Bobbie from island to island.

Then Wycliffe and Zedidiah introduced them to Officer Paalo, who stamped their visas as a representative of the government and gave their luggage a cursory check, and took care of other such necessary paperwork.

And Karel and Bobbie went over their schedules with Wycliffe and Zedidiah.

The MacVitties spent a couple of days vacationing while Karel and Bobbie made contacts, learned a little more about the islands, and reviewed their preparations.

Then Zedidiah flew the five of them to their first island, which was close by. Zedidiah and Wycliffe generally flew without co-pilot, saving the weight for cargo.

On the first island, Zedidiah introduced them to Nazoru and his daughter Hanaka, who were fairly comfortable with foreigners and with English, and could serve as intermediaries if necessary.

Nazoru and Hanaka offered to let them both stay in their hut. They were surprised and somewhat amused that they wanted to stay separately.

Ultimately, it was decided that Bobbie would stay with Hanaka and Nazoru, and they found another family for Karel to stay with.

And they found a family for the MacVitties to stay with, as well.

Nazoru and Hanaka introduced them to many of the people on the island, and Karel and Bobbie got to work and met more. At first, they just let the islanders teach them how they lived. Then they started helping out when they could see ways they could help.

They compiled their notes in the evenings, being careful to change names and otherwise keep the private information private. They found it worked best to go over their data with the families they stayed with, for accuracy, and also to assure that the private information was kept anonymous and private.

Again, the MacVitties stayed out of the way, leaving the work to the students. Their job was simply to be there if they needed help. On the other hand, they were also interested in the island life, and spent most of their time learning how the islanders lived. Professor MacVittie took some notes of his own, but refrained from recording details that might be private.

Towards the end of the week, they got together to compare notes. Other than that, they spent as much time working separately as together.

Sometime during the first week, one of the islanders came to Karel looking for medical help. One of the children had cut her leg. They were surprised when he deferred to Bobbie, insisting that he be there even though Bobbie did the actual cleaning and bandaging up.

They asked about the usual procedure, and the islanders explained that the village elders had already prayed over the wound. But they knew that foreigners did some other useful things, so they had asked.

The next time, Bobbie and Karel had the parents come, and let the parents perform their traditional first aid. Bobbie showed them a few more small things they could still do when she and Karel were gone.

[JMR201608161421 -- Forgot this, too:

Nazoru and Hanaka joined their first Sunday services, watching with interest. Afterwards, they asked Bobbie and Karel about their beliefs. They continued to join the services for the whole month, and continued to ask questions.

Other islanders also visited during the later Sunday services.


After two weeks, Zedidiah came to pick the MacVitties up. They were sad to go. (And the family they had been staying with was sad to see them go so soon.) Professor MacVittie took Bobbie and Karel's initial reports back to the university with him, with some letters home, and to Dan and Kristie and other friends.

During the month on the first island, Bobbie and Karel participated in the birthing of two babies. Again, they let the islanders teach them what they usually did, trying to avoid teaching them things they would not be able to continue after they left.

And then Zedidiah picked them up and flew them to their next island, introducing them to islanders who would help them get started before he left.

And Zedidiah took their reports and other mail with him to send on.

And that was pretty much the way it went on each island.

Except that on the third and fourth islands Wycliffe picked them up. The distances were longer, and Wycliffe had more experience with long distances.

While they were on the second island, they wrote letters to professors they were talking with at Harvard and Berkeley, detailing their work to that point and adjustments they were making to their approaches.

A plane came in after about two weeks, and they sent those letters with the pilot.

On the third island, they got enthusiastic responses from their respective schools, both hinting at the possibility of assistant professorship positions.

On the last island, having become accustomed to their work, they had a little time, maybe once a week, to spend together walking on the beach and talking. Not wanting to tempt each other, they focused on their work and refrained from even holding hands.

[JMR201608161355 -- Of course I'd forget one little thing:

"Got everything?"

"Double and triple checked."

Bobbie and Karel were pushing their luggage out of the hut that served as the airport building on the last island, to the plane waiting on the airstrip.

"I'm gonna miss these islands."

"Me too. In some ways it seems like I've been back on my mission."

"Sans companion?"

"No, not really."

Karel and Bobbie looked at each other. Wycliffe must have missed the meaning that passed without words between them in that look.

"I've been silly."

"No you haven't."

"I wish I could just ask Wycliffe to let us fly back by ourselves. I really want to talk with you all by ourselves."

"Would you be okay navigating over ocean?"

"True. The weather's different, and you have to depend more on instruments."

"And, of course, it's their plane, not ours."

"Do you think those two joke about us?"

"Listening to their chatter on the radio, yeah. Does it matter?"

"Guess not."

"Let's get our luggage on the plane."

"Hi, Wycliffe! Good to see you again."


And now we know enough to continue with the story. Once again, here is the link to chapter 10, where our two co-protagonists begin adjusting to the uninhabited island where Wycliffe took them:

(The chapter index is here:

[Backup] Economics 101 pasteboard departure

[Pasteboard buffer for Original would be at, if published.]

Our co-protagonists and their parents met with Professor MacVittie and other university personnel to make sure all the necessary preparations were complete. Then they said goodbye to their parents, and left campus for the airport with Professor and Sister MacVittie and their youngest son.

Their flight took off without incident, and they made a connecting flight or two to the coast. (I am not saying which coast.)

From the coast, they had several more connecting flights. Not much happened, but Bobbie noticed two things on route.

At the coast, she said, "Karel, have you noticed the guys hitting on me?"

"I've noticed a few doing double-takes."

"Double-takes don't really bother me."

"I have noticed a few guys deliberately ignoring me and the professor and trying to get your attention."

"That's what I'm talking about."

"How should I react?"

"I don't particular want attention from the kind of guy that would do that."

"I can run interference?"

"I'd appreciate it, if things get out of hand."

"Should we ask the professor and Sister MacVittie to help?"

"That would be too unnatural."

"Pardon me for listening in, Bobbie, but Brother MacVittie and I will be happy to help."

"I'll say something if anything goes that far."

What she didn't say was that she was noticing that she seemed to be able to turn most of the probing looks away with hardly any overt reaction at all. It felt good.

At one layover, they were seated at an airport concessions cafeteria. Karel and Bobbie were sitting together, and the MacVitties were at a neighboring table.

Karel had gone to the counter to pick up their food.

A rugged looking fellow sat down across from Bobbie.

"Hello beautiful."

"Do you make a habit of talking to yourself?"

The man reached out and caught Bobbie by the wrist. She moved her arm in a way that only a dancer would know and the man's hand closed on air.

The MacVitties were watching without watching. Their son stood up and went to the counter where Karel was picking up the food.

Karel was also watching out of the corner of his eye.

"Nice moves."

"The seat you are sitting in wasn't really open."

The MacVittie's son said, "I'll get the food."

"Thanks. I think I'd better go rescue that guy." Karel said, loud enough for the man to hear.

"Some girls know what they want. I think you are a little confused."

"I think not."

"That runt you were with isn't worth the trouble he's caused you."

"Far more than the trouble he's caused me, not that it's any of your business."

This time the man reached with both hands and was too quick. Bobbie was cool as ice.

Karel, standing behind the man, said, "So, Should I do the honors, or should I leave him to you?"

Bobbie smoothly extracted her wrists and slapped the man. and said, "I


Sheldon MacVittie
Dean Hayworth
Professor White
Bobbie has two younger brothers, Rick (and Lupe) and Gary.
Karel has sisters, Charlotte, Sheryl
Bobbie's part time job
Dan's little sister, Sheliah, older sister Deborah, brother Timothy

5, 6, 7, 8, 9

ch. 9

sixth semester/fieldwork

Starting the fieldwork with the MacVitties

Before leaving for islands:

acknowledging mutual interest
reasons for postponing

at main island (is main island first?)

Wye and Zed and their charter service

the four islands

Hanaka and father on first island

 In the days before returning,
(pushing luggage on cart!)
some sort of strong commitment,
hesitation to be demonstrative around islanders --
don't want to be misunderstood

Saturday, August 13, 2016

[Backup] Economics 101, a Novel, ch_08 -- Getting Ready for the Islands in the Fifth Semester

[JMR20180106: backup of]

(The framing story starts is here: If you haven't read that, you might want to. Otherwise, the rest of this may not make much sense.

Introductions and characterizations begin here:

In the three parts of the last chapter, we watch them work through their second year:

If you don't care about characterization, you might want to jump ahead:

But there isn't really much left to tell, I suppose.

With Dan and Kristie gone, and as the walls between Bobbie and Karel came crumbling down in slow motion, the energy dynamic changed.

The only real question is why the walls didn't come tumbling down fast enough, and I can't answer that.

Let's see what I can tell you.

Karel and Bobbie got together in the cafeteria to compare their schedules. They hadn't even tried to coordinate their classes, but they would be together in at least one class every day, which was most of their classes.

By the numbers, graduate class loads often look light. The classes themselves are that much harder.

"Do we really want to be on the folk dance team this semester?"

"No time?"

"Well, I really want you to take modern dance with me some time."

"Do we want to tell the team they need to look for people to replace us now rather than in winter semester?"

"Guess not. And we'd miss dancing with our friends, too."

"Do you mind me helping you TA the quantitative analysis class?"

"Of course not. Do you mind me helping you with the medicine and physiology overview?"

Karel reached out and took Bobbie's hand.

She squeezed it and said, "Of course not. How are we going to do the study groups this semester?"

"We'll just see how it goes."

"Can we really handle the marriage and religion class together?"

"Why not?"

"I mean the rumors, not the pressure."

"With all the rumors we've successfully ignored so far, I don't think we'll have a problem."

"But things have changed between us."

Karel looked up and searched Bobbie's eyes for an answer to an unvoiced question. "Doesn't matter. If we can ignore rumors one way, we'll have to ignore rumors another. Have they really changed?"

Bobbie was searching Karel's eyes. "You could kiss me."

Karel leaned across the table and kissed Bobbie gently, full on the lips. It was not a long kiss, but when they separated, Bobbie's eyes were closed.

"I could imagine doing that every morning." Then she opened her eyes. "But not at Berkeley and not at Harvard."


"You're talking with Berkeley."


"I'm talking with Harvard."

"Talk is talk. I could deal with doing some kind of grunt work while you work as a professor at Harvard. I might even go back to engineering."

"I couldn't deal with it."

Karel wanted to complain that things apparently hadn't really changed that much, but he let it go.

"Let's look at the fieldwork."

They dug around in their backpacks and spread out some letters that they had received from various sources.

"Our travel agents say that the best charter service in the Islands is a couple of guys named Wycliffe and Zedidiah."


"They say they're a little crazy at times, too."

"They still recommend them. We can meet them at the main island and make our minds up there?"


"How much time do we spend on the main island?"

"I need about two weeks. How about you?"

"I think I can do my stuff in one, but two would be a bit easier."

"We don't want to push our schedules on the people we're going to study, I think."

"Good point."

And they worked through an initial schedule to discuss with Professor MacVittie.

"Get a letter from Kristie?"

"Yeah. How about Dan?"

"Here it is."

And they read the letters together. Summer classes were going well, and they were having fun with the students. And they planned to get together at the end of summer, just the two of them, to hike in the canyons behind Dan's house.

And they wrote back, together, that they were getting ready for the new semester, and were looking at a lot of time together every day. Maybe too much.

("Should we go hiking up in the canyons here? Maybe up to the waterfalls?"


But maybe they'd have some time for a hike together here before school started.

Joel asked if he could consult with the two of them, together.

"You guys seem to know how to deal with being just friends."

Bobbie laughed and Karel looked up at the clouds over their heads. It was threatening rain and none of them had an umbrella with them.

"That sounds so upside down. Being friends is just what you do."

Bobbie tilted her head to the right. "We sure didn't know that three years ago."

"Maybe not as well as we know now. So, what is this big question?"

"Kelly says I shouldn't be waiting for her."

"Are you?"

"I don't know."

"Are you dating others?"

"Sure. We both agreed when she left that I should."

"She knows?"

"Sometimes I mention it if there was something especially interesting about a date."

"Do you know how she takes it when you do?"

"No. I gave up trying to read her reactions."

"That's good."

"Are you giving the others an honest chance?"

"That's what I don't know. Do you think there is something wrong with waiting?"

Bobbie and Karel looked at each other and asked the same question with their eyes.


"What do you think you should tell her?"

"I think I should tell her to just trust God. If I'm still single when she gets back, we can figure out what that might mean then."

"Sounds good to me."

"Me too."

And Joel felt a little better about it and said thanks, and left.

Melissa was quite visibly pregnant.

"I'm afraid they're going to have to hire a replacement for me before you guys leave."

"Substitute." Professor MacVittie said as came in the door. Your job will be waiting for you if you want it."

"It's nice the school has a nursery staffed by early childhood development students and their teachers."

"You wouldn't worry about leaving you child with students?" Karel asked.

"Not so much here. There are a lot of reliable students here."

"Any idea which it is?" Bobbie asked. My mother says if the baby stands, it's a boy, but if it lies sideways, it's a girl."

"Near as I can tell, this baby does a little of both. It'll be fun to find out."

And Karel asked, "Is Winn going to be there? Will the hospital allow it?"

"They said, if there aren't any complications, they're okay with it. Bobbie, do you think you could be there, too?"

"I am still on call, anyway. I'll talk to my boss there."

"Ahem. I think you two wanted to talk about schedules?"

Bobbie pulled her copy out, because it was cleaner and easier to read.

"Here's what we came up with the other day."

"Two weeks on each island," the professor said to himself.

"For a total of two months. Do you think it's too long?"

"Noooo, not too long at all."

"Two months seems like such a long time."

Melissa said, "It would make a nice honeymoon."

Suddenly, Bobbie and Karel were looking anywhere but at the schedule or each other.

"Theoretical honeymoon. Someone else's. I mean, I think I would enjoy two months on those islands as a second honeymoon."

Professor MacVittie was just grinning.

"Sorry, I shouldn't have said that."

Bobbie laughed. "No problem."

Karel nodded and said, half to himself, "I would never have thought of that."

And Bobbie giggled.

Professor MacVittie cleared his throat again. "Have you discussed this with the travel agent?"

"We were going to write them today or tomorrow."

"Good. Where are your tentative research plans?"


"Mine, too."

"I'll look these over and we'll talk next week. I'm glad you are talking more often than once a week now."

"Well, you know, ..."

Bobbie just laughed. Then she said, "I've got to go study."

"Me, too."

And they left.

Professor MacVittie said, "I couldn't have timed that better myself, Sister Burns."

"It was okay?"

"It was perfect. I don't know if it will be enough, but I think you are helping them overcome whatever it is that's in the way.

"Are they going to be okay if they aren't married before they go?"

"They are about as dependable as you get, but, yeah, that's an important question. I've been talking about it with Dean Hayworth, and I may have to go with them. Not that my wife would mind."

"I'm jealous. Just a little."

As they walked to the library, Karel said, "Could we try kissing again?"

"I need to keep my mind clear."

"Funny, I'm not sure I want to keep my mind clear."

Bobbie gave him a shove. A gentle shove, but he overreacted and tumbled into the grass.

Bobbie sat down beside him and tickled him. And then they just sat for a few minutes, until Bobbie said,

"You know what the real reason I'm holding back is?"

"Give me a clue."

Bobbie took Karel's hand.

"I still emotionally shy away from it."


"What married couples are supposed to do on their wedding night."

"Making babies."

"Yeah, that."

"And I'm scared of losing this image I have of you as the perfect man."

"Platonic or Plutonic?"

Bobbie slapped his stomach. Somewhat gently.


"You wish."

"Do I?" He grinned. "Never mind. You do know that the medieval concept of a Platonic relationship isn't exactly what Plato taught?"

"Yes. It doesn't matter. I can't ..."

Karel waited, but she couldn't continue.

And Bobbie remained sitting there, with her hand on his hand on his stomach.

After some thought and a silent prayer, Karel said, "Have you thought about the society in which Plato taught?"

"Am I asking for too much, for a society in which people respect each other?"

"Strangers in a strange land, wanderers in the wilderness, seekers of a better world. We seek for it, but I don't know if we can have it. Sometimes I worry about raising my kids in this less-than-perfect world, but God said we needed a place to grow."

"Sometimes I don't like God."

"I wanted to say, 'our kids'."

"I wanted you to. Sort of. I can't. Karel, why do I keep hurting you?"

Bobbie covered her face with her hands, and Karel swung himself up to sit beside her and just hold her while she sobbed.

"I'm sorry, too. But that image of me as some sort of pseudo-Platonic saint sure isn't necessary."

"What?" Bobbie asked between sobs.

"Never mind. Bishop South asked me once whether I love you. I told him I want you to be happy, and I want to be part of your happiness. I think he understood."

"I love you, too, Karel."

After a little while, they stood up. Karel offered Bobbie his handkerchief, and they went to the library together.

"You know, Kristie's experiment didn't really fail."


"I'd never been able to kiss you before that at all. I don't know why I could kiss Dan or other guys."

And Karel just squeezed Bobbie's hand. And mumbled something like, "Thank you, Dan."

"And Kristie." Bobbie had heard his mumbling.

Some time later, they were reading a letter from Trisha and Charles sitting on the grass on the quad, when Joel caught up with them.

"Look at this letter from Kelly!"

And he really meant he wanted them to read it. Bobbie took it, and Karel read over her shoulder while Joel sat beside them looking really worried.

Karel said, "Core dump of the heart."

Bobbie and Joel both turned puzzled faces toward him.

"When a computer gets in certain error states that it can't recover from, an engineer dumps the core. Prints it out without decoding it. Only an engineer trained to program that particular computer can make sense of it."


Bobbie interpreted. "I think what our genius just said is that God is the engineer who told Kelly to pour her heart out to you. And God is the one you're going to have to ask what it means."

[JMR201608132047: Karel said, ] "Thanks for interpreting that for me."

"I'm a little scared."

"Read it, pray about it, talk with your bishop, and write to her mission president what God tells you to write, ..." Karel started.

Bobbie finished, "... and then write her a long letter and don't hold anything back. She needs you."

"I'd say take it easy on the mushy stuff, but, no, like Bobbie says, don't hold back. Let God speak through you, even if it's mushy."

"That's kind of what I was thinking. But I wasn't sure whether I should tell her, well, everything I feel. Thanks." And he left.

Bobbie said, as they watched him leave, "That was profound."

And they shared a hug.

"Professor MacVittie, Bobbie and I are both feeling like two weeks is not enough."


"We think we need time to do volunteer kinds of things. Service projects, I guess."

"What a wonderful idea!"


"Is a full month at each island going to be too much time?"

"Maybe not."


Bobbie helped deliver Melissa's baby. She was called to the hospital before classes, and Karel's car was the closest to campus, so he drove her to the hospital and went back to take notes. Then he drove back to pick her up and see the baby and the proud parents. It was a girl, since some people will wonder.

[JMR201608132053 I'm sure I'm forgetting lots of little stuff like this:

"What are we going to do on Sundays?" Bobbie asked.

"Uhm. Oh, wow. The Church has no branches or wards on those islands. We need to ask our bishops."

"You need to ask your bishop."



"Ask anyway. And I'll ask, too."

Bishop Graystoke explained to Bobbie that, yes, Karel would be the one ultimately responsible for their church services on the islands, but she would need to help him.

And he made arrangements for her to get manuals on Church organization, policy, and operation for her to study.

Of course she knew she would need to help Karel, but she hadn't realized she would need to learn so much.

Bishop South talked to the stake president, and they got the manuals he'd need.

They also made arrangements for authorization for him to hold meetings with Bobbie and any other interested people.

Professor MacVittie helped Karel and Bobbie look up the laws about religion on the Islands, so they could work out how to legally hold their meetings.

There would be no direct proselyting, no advertising, no invitations. But they wouldn't need to turn away people who asked out of their own interest.

They also gave Karel and Bobbie contact information for the nearest units of the Church and the nearest church leaders for the islands.

Somehow, even with all of this, and all the classwork and study groups and teaching and service in the temple and hikes in the canyon or up the mountain near campus, they couldn't get the walls down before winter break.

But they did complete their studies and the arrangements for the fieldwork.

And Professor MacVittie and his wife and son made their preparations.


During December, they were both (individually) called in for temple recommend interviews. The recommends they were given were marked valid for all live ordinances not yet received.

Just in case they traveled close to a temple and decided to receive a certain live ordinance.

Or they could even receive that ordinance before they left, if they were so minded, but of course they weren't instructing them to do so and shouldn't feel any pressure about it.

Bobbie and Karel both thanked their bishops.

When they met later in the ground floor lounge of Bobbie's dorm, they laughed about it.

But Karel did ask Bobbie if she thought she could. She said she still just wasn't quite ready for it, and apologized, and Karel just hugged her and said it was okay.

Karel and his parents drove up to the Whitmers to pick Bobbie up after Christmas.

"Strange thing happened to me over the holidays."

"Tell me about it."

"I passed a kind of run-down looking place that had a sign that said, 'Church of the Morning of Jesus'."

"That's a strange name."

"I needed gas, and there was a gas station next door, so I stopped."

"Uh, huh."

"I recognized the guy at the counter. It was the bishop's son who couldn't keep his hands off me."

"I guess that was a shock?"

"He recognized me. He apologized, and he called his Dad over from the church."

"Was that a little scary?"

"A little, but God told me to wait. They both apologized. So I forgave them."

"That's cool."

"I asked them about their church. They explained the 'morning' thing. It's code for A. M."



"You're kidding. Or they're kidding."

"They said, any publicity is good publicity."


"They didn't feel like they could come back to church, so they've basically set up an outreach for the real outcasts, the men and women who can't get help anywhere else."

Bobbie's dad came in about then. "Telling them about our old friends, I hear. I've known about it for some time. Stop by there to get gas regularly. They've been one of the reasons I started coming back to Church. Wasn't sure how Bobbie would feel about it, so I never mentioned it. And the Anti-Mormon stuff is basically a ruse. It seems to help a lot of people who don't trust anyone any more to relax a little and get their feet on the ground."

"God moves in a mysterious way." Karel chuckled, then turned serious. "But are they going to be okay?"

"They say they figure as long as they keep helping people get back on their feet, they're where God wants them to be."

"There is some point to that."

Instead of going straight back to school, they drove down to the Claymounts' to spend time with Dan and Kristie and the Persons, who were visiting. The Whitmers came with, and the four families spent some good time together.

Sheliah kept saying, "Go Dan!" and "Go Karel." Our four friends appreciated it.

And then the Pratts and Whitmers took Bobbie and Karel to the university.

The link to the last of the characterization chapters will be here when it's ready is here:

(The chapter index is here:

Friday, August 12, 2016

[Backup] Economics 101, a Novel, ch_07 pt3 -- Stormy Fourth Semester, Summer Calm

[JMR20180106: backup of]

(The framing story starts is here: If you haven't read that, you might want to. Otherwise, the rest of this may not make much sense.

Introductions and characterizations begin here:

In the five parts of the last chapter, we get to watch them get serious about life in their second semester as graduate students:

In this chapter, we watch them work through their second year.

If you don't care about characterization, you might want to jump ahead:

The fourth semester had a rather awkward start.

Other than that, there was much that was the same.

Karel had a new bishop, and the new bishop invited him in for an interview.

"Bishop South?"

"Ah. Brother Pratt, right?"

"Karel Pratt."

"Well, come on in and have a chair. Oh, close the door, will you?"

Karel closed the door and sat down.

"I suppose you're wondering why I asked you to come in."

"Not really. I assume you're getting to know the members of the ward."

"Well, yes, but I have a specific favor to ask of you."

"What's that?"

"I feel I have been inspired to call you as my first counselor."

"Bishop's counselors are usually married."

"And that's the favor I have to ask. As I understand it, you have a pretty steady relationship with a very good woman which has been continuing for some time."

"I assume you mean Bobbie Whitmer."

"Would there be any others?"

"It's not that simple." Karel thought over how things had been over Christmas, so close, and then suddenly so far. And he was regretting the impulse kiss on the plane.

"What isn't simple?" Bishop South was about to continue, but checked himself.

Karel closed his eyes and thought, and prayed a little. He wanted some direction, but, just as when he was on his way home after meeting Bobbie for the first time, what he seemed to be getting was an open line. A light came on in his mind and finally he understood. He didn't need any more guidance than what he was getting, he just needed to sail the course which God had given him.

And keep that line open.

Bishop South was a busy man. You'd have thought that he'd have had a bit more patience for the man he was asking to be his counselor, but, then again, we really shouldn't judge a man who is starting out with a new and heavy responsibility.

Being a bishop isn't easy.

"Is there some worthiness issue?"

"Not that I know of."

"May I review the temple interview questions?"


And they did so. Bishop South was impressed that Karel was sincere and honest in his answers, and there was nothing that he seemed to need to focus on.

"Okay, may I ask more about Bobbie?"

"I'm not sure I can answer, but if you feel inspired to do so, go ahead."

"You love her?"

"I want her to be happy."

"Do you want to be part of her happiness?"

"Well, yeah. But I already am. Sometimes."

"How do you mean?"

Karel relaxed and told him about how they worked together, and about going to visit all their families, and kissing Bobbie on the plane, and about her avoiding being alone with him all the rest of the break.

"Women sometimes don't know what they want."

"You don't know Bobbie."

Bishop South thought for a minute or so.

"Would she be inclined to accept a proposal if you told her you were being called as my counselor?"

"How is that different from you telling her who she should marry?"

Bishop South had to think about that.

"You have asked her?"

"She stops me."


Karel thought about that, and realized he was not at liberty to speculate for the bishop's benefit.

"I couldn't say."

"Are you sure she knows what she is stopping?"


After more thought, Bishop South asked, "We're not getting anywhere today. Can I meet with you tomorrow?"

"Please don't ask me to do something God has stopped me from doing."

"You're sure it was God?"


"Then why was I inspired to call you to be me counselor?"

"That's not a question I can answer."

"You do want her to marry you, don't you?"

"Well, yes. But not if she thinks I'm pushing her into it."

"Could you ask her if she knows that you want to ask her to marry you? And we could meet later to talk about this again?"

Karel really didn't want to start out so at odds with his new bishop. "I'll see."

"Can you call me?"

"Uhm, okay."

Bobbie and Dan and Kristie had already finished eating, and were talking in the cafeteria, when Karel arrived the next evening. He had barely been able to concentrate on his first day of classes. Luckily, it had all been syllabus and business. Even so, he had had to spend some extra hours trying to get information he had missed.

And he walked entirely around the campus twice before he went to dinner just before the cafeteria closed. He saw his friends and thought about avoiding them, but they waved. He couldn't just ignore them. He waved back, got in line, got his dinner, and brought it over to where they were sitting.

Dan asked, "What's wrong? I haven't seen you look this confused since the day coach called you in to let you go."

"Bobbie." Kristie looked at Bobbie and Bobbie nodded.

"We're gone." Dan didn't wait for any further word. He stood up and patted Karel on the shoulder.

Kristie squeezed Bobbie's hand and left with Dan.

Karel ate in silence for a few minutes.

"What happened?"

"New bishop."

Bobbie waited, but he didn't seem to know how to continue. She prayed in her heart for her friend.

Finally Karel looked up. He couldn't look her in the eye, so he looked back down. "Bishop asked me why I am still single."

Alarms went off in her head, and she had to pray, to calm herself. "He didn't."

"He did. He's putting pressure on me to ask you to marry me."

Suddenly, Bobbie felt calm. "Tell him to stay within his stewardship."

"I promised him I'd ask you if you know that I want to ask you to marry me."

"Tell him that I told you plainly that I know, and I don't want to turn you down. And I can't say yes yet."

"Thanks." There eyes finally met, and the honesty was good. Not hard to bear at all.

"I'm sorry I keep asking you to wait."

"I'm sorry to let my bishop push me to ask you when I know you're not ready."

"It's okay. He's a new bishop. You yourself would tell me to give him a break."

"I've got a feeling he's not going to let me alone."

"Talk to your stake president ahead of time?"

"Maybe I should."

He didn't have a chance. Bishop South visited him at the dorm that night. Karel let him in his room and shut the door, and they sat down.

"Is this the chair where students on your floor sit to talk with you?" the bishop asked with a grin.

"It's hardly ever used. Somehow, I haven't had to call students in here very often."

"Did you ask her?"

"Just an hour ago. She knows. I knew she knows, and I let you push me to ask her if she knows. But she was okay with my asking her about it."

"She said yes?"

"She said she still isn't ready. That's the best I can do. You'll need to look for something else to ask me to do."

"Could I meet with the two of you together?"

"I'm not going to ask her to do that. If you think she needs to talk with a bishop, contact her bishop. She's got a good relationship with him."

"Well, I know why I want you to be my counselor. You answered that just now. You have a good rapport with the students."

"If I were married, I couldn't live here. I would no longer be with them every day. I'd lose the basis for that rapport."

"I guess I've got to rethink things."

"Let me introduce you to the guys on my floor."

After introducing the bishop to the students who were there, he took him to the other floors and introduced him to the two other RAs for the floors in the ward, and the bishop met more of the students.

The next day, he met the bishop again and took him to meet the dorm Mom, and the RAs for the three women's dorm floors that were in the ward.

For the first week, Karel acted as a sort of bishop's liaison. Bishop South suggested calling him as an "acting counselor", but the stake president agreed with Karel that it was not a good idea. It would be an unusual calling, not part of Church policy, and it would put pressure on Bobbie that she didn't need.

Ultimately, Bishop South called Karel to be his secretary, which made the liaison status more-or-less official.

Coincidentally or not, Dan was also soon called to be the bishop's secretary in his ward.

And Bobbie and Kristie were called as secretaries to the Relief society presidents in their wards.

"Relief Society" might seem an odd name for the women's organization in the Church, I suppose. But it points to the idea that some use when explaining the Priesthood.

It's not about authority. It's about service.

Jesus himself said He was here to serve, not be served.

And men seem to need more obvious excuses to get involved in service activities than women do.

(If there comes a time when woman need to be ordained to the priesthood, I think we will know without a doubt that the world is in a dire situation.)

Just to keep us up to date, Melissa's pregnancy was progressing well, and Winn's job had no more trouble for a while. When Bobbie and Karel met Melissa in the department office, she would tell them about things like the temple preparation class and the visits to the doctor. And it was fun to talk.

The folk dance team was also on track, and our four friends toured with them once so they could provide proper backup. They even performed at one venue.

Joel's new partner was a good dancer, but no romantic sparks flew. It wasn't that Joel discouraged her. They worked well together, but they weren't interested in each other romantically. And that really isn't all that unusual.

Kelly wrote about a man who had followed her to church one day, who was studying with the elders. (Mormon men who are missionaries are called elders. Young elders. There is a reason, but I won't go into it here.)

He was apparently more interested in her than in the gospel.

Joel and Kelly's mother helped her figure out a way to help the man divert his attention to the gospel. Later, he got baptized. When Kelly left the area, he had begun courting one of the local members of the church there.

In fact, that happened four more times over the course of her mission, and Kelly was able to believe Joel when he told her that she needn't any more worry about her looks. But that's another story.

Trisha and Charles were happy together, and joined one of our four friends' study groups again. This one was another religion class, I forget which.

There was another gliding day at the airport, and Karel went ahead and got a student certificate beforehand so he could start logging his flight experience.

Mike and Ruth were also expecting their first by this time. Ruth stayed on the ground, because she was right at the time when morning sickness is hard to deal with.

Karel started talking with people at Berkeley and some other schools in the west about the possibility of an assistant professorship there.

Bobbie focused more on Harvard and schools back east.

Bobbie and Karel also began making arrangements for the fieldwork.

Dan and Kristie had already made arrangements for teaching summer school again in their hometowns. Connections through the summer school led to arrangements for their first year student teaching in their hometowns, as well.

Our four friends went to the temple each week, at least at first.

And the young students in the dorm kept our friends pretty busy when they weren't busy with other things.

About two months into the semester, our four friends were in the cafeteria again. Karel was looking a little confused again.

"Now what?" Dan asked Karel.

"Bishop South seems to have thought up a new idea to motivate me to get married."

Kristie shook her head and Bobbie laughed.

"I'm laughing 'cause it hurts." Bobbie said. "What's the new scheme?"

"I should refrain from temple attendance and pray every night for a miracle to occur."

Now Bobbie was shaking her head.

"Isn't that sort of inside-out?" Kristie asked.

"He means well. I don't think he understands that some things just can't be pushed."

Bobbie thought for a moment. "Well, maybe I do need a miracle."

Kristie had an odd suggestion.

"Maybe we should re-think things. When we first met, I had a terrible crush on Karel. Dan idolized Bobbie. Maybe we should try that again."


All four of them were flabbergasted. Yes, flabbergasted. Even Kristie had to admit that the idea was crazy. Even Kristie was flabbergasted that she should propose such an idea.

After their study group, and back in their dorms that night, each of them prayed for a miracle.
Back in their dorms that night after study groups and finishing their own studies, each of them prayed for a miracle.

Back in the cafeteria at breakfast, the four of them agreed to try Kristie's crazy scheme.
In the cafeteria again at breakfast, the four of them agreed to try Kristie's crazy scheme.

Kristie and Dan threw themselves into it wholeheartedly, kissing, hand holding, hugs, dating every day, everything that was on the safe side of heavy necking and petting. Kristie and Dan threw themselves into it wholeheartedly, dates every day, kissing on any excuse, holding hands and hugging all the time, everything they could think of short of necking and petting and other unsafe behavior. Bobbie and Karel just tried to keep up.

When Karel quit attending the temple with them, they assumed it was because of the Bishop's odd instructions.
When Karel quit attending the temple with them, the other three assumed it was because of the Bishop's unusual instructions.


And they prayed for a miracle every night.



But after a couple of weeks, Dan admitted that it wasn't making Bobbie happy, so he cooled it a bit. Even so, Bobbie found she was relaxing a bit about kissing.

Kristie also figured out that she was being a little too physical with Karel, and she cooled it a bit, too.

It was sometime during this experiment that Karel and Bobbie met with Professor MacVittie and he questioned whether they were cooperating sufficiently. (Remember that from the framing story chapter?)

Still, after more than a month, nothing obvious was changing.

Dan and Kristie weren't really mad at Karel and Bobbie, just frustrated, when they had a meeting in the cafeteria and decided the experiment no longer served any purpose.

And then it was time for Dan and Kristie to get ready to graduate.

All four sets of parents came, and some of their siblings came as well, to the graduation exercises. Before Kristie and Dan left, they had a picnic in the canyons together.

Sheliah was bored by Commencement, but she had a good time plotting and playing with Kristie and Bobbie and sometimes Dan and Karel. She seemed more sure of her new sisters than they were, themselves. Her enthusiasm helped them forget the frustrations of the experiment.

And then Dan and Kristie and all their families were gone, and Bobbie and Karel were left to try to untangle the threads they were left with.

They were both attending summer courses this time. Bobbie took on some weekend hours at the hospital again, and Karel had his dad's company send some theoretical work which he returned with solutions and billed for time.

But their focus was preparing for the fieldwork.

They met in the cafeteria after seeing their friends and family off.

"Can I ask a question?"


"Why haven't you been attending the temple?"

Karel looked down.

"Stress got to me."

Bobbie's lower lip slipped between her teeth and she bit, trying to read Karel's mind. It sure was not easy like it used to be.

"Should I ask what that means?"


When she had a chance, she met with her bishop and asked him some questions. Bishop Graystoke sympathized, but he wasn't Karel's bishop. But he did encourage her to keep encouraging Karel.

Karel discussed things frankly with Bishop South. Bishop South was not sure that Karel should be so hard on himself, but he didn't want to make things worse. So he mostly quit giving advice and started just listening.

For much of the summer, they avoided each other. Too much pain, too many expectations. When they did meet, they kept the conversation safe, and Bobbie focused on trying to help Karel think positively.

Letters from Dan and Kristie helped. So did the folk dance club. This time, Bobbie and Karel were brought in to replace a couple of graduating students, and several weeks were taken up in touring.

Then, one day late in summer, at the temple.


"Hi, Bobbie."

"I'm so glad to see you here." She said in a whisper that held a lot of heat for a whisper.

"I've gotten back on keel, I guess. And the bishop asked me if I hadn't been staying away from the temple too long. I'm glad you're here, too."

The link to the next of the characterization chapters will be here when it's ready is here:

(The chapter index is here:

[Backup] Economics 101, a Novel, ch_07 pt2 -- Getting through Winter in the Second Year

[JMR20180106: backup of Unused text for this chapter can be found here:]

(The framing story starts is here: If you haven't read that, you might want to. Otherwise, the rest of this may not make much sense.

Introductions and characterizations begin here:

In the five parts of the last chapter, we get to watch them get serious about life in their second semester as graduate students:

In this chapter, we watch them work through their second year.

If you don't care about characterization, you might want to jump ahead:

And the third semester continued as more of the same.

Sort of.

The study groups were different this year, of course, with new students coming in, old students graduating and moving on, and continuing students taking different classes. New study groups formed, some of the forming around students who had been members of our four friends' study groups the previous year.

Trisha and Charles were among those who decided to join them in taking a class about traditions and laws on marriage and family in various cultures around the world, hosted by the anthropology department.

One evening around the middle of the semester, Trisha noticed a box in Charles's open rucksack as she put her books on the table and sat down beside him.

"Is that a box of Cracker Jacks?"

"Well, yeah. Do you like Cracker Jacks?"

"I'm not sure. Maybe it depends on the toy surprise inside."

The other students studying at the table were politely pretending to ignore them.

"I guess I buy them for the caramel popcorn and peanuts."

"You're not supposed to have them in the library."

"The box isn't open."

"The smell could still attract pests."

"Mmphh!" Meg couldn't quite suppress her laughter.

"No way. Do you think the smell is that strong?"

"I think we should go outside to eat those."

"I was thinking of going to the International Cinema after we're done here."

There was muffled giggling and laughter among the group.

"Oh. Okay."

"Where are Karel and Bobbie?" Janet asked, perhaps intending to distract everyone.

"Good question." Piers said, relieved to be able to say something innocuous. "If we don't get started soon," he continued without thinking, "I'm going to lose my motivation to study."

"I do not believe I said that," he backpedaled as most of the group broke out laughing, then quickly smothered their laughter.

"Sshhhhh!" said Bobbie as she came up to the table. What's happening?"

"Charles has a box of Cracker Jacks." said Pete, as if that explained everything.

"Well, of course he does, ... unless he ate the whole box in the twenty minutes since I saw him buy them at the school store."

There was a chorus of disappointed ohs and aws. The fact that it was so recently purchased turned their expectations upside down.

"Charles, ..." Trisha got up, stood behind him, and started kneading his neck and shoulders. "Can we go somewhere and talk?"

"Don't be long." Bobbie said. "Dan and Kristie can't come tonight, and Karel said we should get started without him."

"Okay. Somebody loan us your notes when we get back." Charles stood up and followed Trisha towards the stacks. As soon as they were out of sight of the study group, he took her hand, and they walked together down the stairs and out the front door.

"Sorry. I guess I wasn't really thinking. I just like Cracker Jacks, and it's been a while since I bought a box."


I guess I should explain here, for those not familiar with this meme, that some college men used to think it a great and imaginative way to propose, hiding an engagement ring in a resealed box of Cracker Jacks.

But it was already a meme then, and many university students had heard of it.

They walked out on the quad and sat down on a bench together, holding hands and not saying much.

After a few minutes, Karel came by.

Charles called out, "Karel!"

Karel turned and saw them. "Oh! You're not in the study group."

"Hard to concentrate."

"This should help." Karel grinned and handed him a small package. "Heir... uhhm," he stopped himself before he finished the word. "They don't always come perfectly clean, even in ultrasound. I did what I could with these."


"See ya inside. Or not, as the case may be." And he left, still grinning, not quite in a hurry, but also not sticking around.

"What's that?"

"Oh, it's something my aunt left me when she died several years ago."

"Really? Can I see it?"

"Well, I'm kind of shy about this."

"It's okay. It's not like I'm going to judge your family or you by it."

"Okay." And he undid the package, revealing a small, faded old-fashioned jewelry box that had been carefully cleaned. "The box itself was also a bit hard to clean. I think it needs to be re-dyed."

"It's beautiful. It has character." Trisha took the box and opened it. Inside the box was a platinum braid necklace with a heart locket. As Karel had indicated, the necklace showed small signs of having been worn, but it was clean, and shown brightly. "So does the necklace. This is really beautiful. May I?"

Charles nodded, yes, so she took it out and looked at it. She opened the locket to reveal an old wedding picture of a young man and woman.

"I guess Karel put the picture back after cleaning."

"They are truly beautiful. What were their names?"

"Josephine and Joseph Merlin. He died during the Spanish American war, and she never re-married. Said being sealed to him was good enough. Devoted herself to teaching other people's children instead of raising her own. She kind of adopted me as her favorite nephew."

"How long did you know her?"

"Either she would visit us every summer, or we would visit her. She died when I was fifteen. Before she died, she told me to find someone who would appreciate them."


"Try it on."

"May I?"

Again, he nodded.

She lifted the necklace out of the case, and he stood behind her, taking the clasps from her hands and joining them around her neck. Then he put the box in his pocket and took her to the library doors, where she could look at her reflection in the glass.

"Would you like them?"

"Uhm, on loan?"

"Well, if that's what you'd prefer, ..."

"But I couldn't just take it."

"Okay, then on loan."

"How long?"

"Until you decide to give them back."

She turned around and faced him. "That kind of sounds like, ..."

"It is kind of like, and altogether what I'm saying. Asking, I mean. We've waited long enough to talk about it."

"I've got to think about this." But she didn't give the necklace back. "Should we go study?"

"Sure." And he gave her the jewelry box. "So you have a place to put the necklace," he explained.

And they went back inside, holding hands as they climbed the stairs together.

"I don't have much money, so I can't buy you your own ring yet."

"That's okay. Let me just get used to the fact that you've asked me."

When they came back to the table, they sat down without saying much. The rest of the group were busy talking about family traditions in Asian cultures, and didn't seem to notice them return. They joined the discussion without ceremony or comment.

When the group finished their studies for the night and students were leaving, Bobbie saw the necklace. "That's beautiful."

"Charles is lending it to me."

"For as long as she wants."

"Oh." Bobbie said.

And Trisha turned to Charles and said, "Forever?"

And he nodded.

Bobbie smiled a little wistfully, and didn't say anything, just watched them walk away to talk about what they needed to talk about together.

Karel stood behind her. "Some women would not appreciate being given a dead aunt's jewelry. But that necklace and the ring that goes with it are beautiful. You probably couldn't buy anything like that for less than a couple of thousand dollars."

A thousand dollars back then was enough for a man to live on easily for a year. A couple of thousand could feed and house a family of four for a year.

"I didn't see a ring."

"I shouldn't have mentioned it."

In her room in the dorms, after her roommate was asleep, Trisha took out the jewelry case and put the necklace in it. Looking twice at the box, she was suddenly puzzled by its dimensions. The engineer in her measured the inner dimensions against the outer dimensions, and soon she had the hidden compartment open.

And her heart skipped a beat as she immediately closed it again.

"Charles!" Trisha caught up with him in the hall outside the student union cafeteria.

"Oh, Trish. I've been wanting to see you all day." He looked at her bare fingers and neck and felt a sudden feeling of qualm.

"I've been a little impatient myself. Here. You forgot something last night." And she gave him back the jewelry box.

"Huh?" He looked crestfallen. Absently, he opened the box and saw that it was empty.

"Around campus, I'm not wearing the necklace where everyone can see it. It would distract people."

He looked at her again, and saw that she was wearing the necklace under her blouse, where it wouldn't draw unnecessary attention.

"Oh." And suddenly he was happy again.

"The ring is also a little much for campus, but I'm definitely not going to wear it until you give it to me properly."

"You found it."

"Did you expect me not to?"

And he just grinned, and, standing close to her and turning so that the people around them could not see what he was doing, he removed the engagement ring from the hidden compartment. Then he pretended to produce the ring from his pocket. He held his hand out for hers and, taking her hand, slipped the engagement ring on her finger.

And then they kind of hugged and giggled and maybe they kissed, and they went inside the cafeteria for lunch.

And, basically, everyone around them ignored them as if it were nothing out of the ordinary.

Come to think of it, he was by no means the first man to give his fiancée an engagement ring there in that hall outside the cafeteria.

The next evening, in the library, the study group made appropriate fuss about their engagement.

And after the study session was over, Bobbie, Kristie, Dan, and Karel watched as Trisha and Charles left together.


Dan and Kristie were listening.

"Not now, Karel. Not yet. I need space.

"Well, okay, but I'm not superhuman. No promises."

"Your friendship is what I need most right now."

"Understood. But if we can talk about something, I'm all ears."

"It would be too much for me."

So Karel gave Bobbie a hug. She stiffened, but then relaxed and hugged him back.


And they sat down again to study more anthropology.

And Dan and Kristie exchanged some silent words of their own with their eyes.

I really have to be careful what I tell you, here, but I think it's okay to explain (again?) a little about the temple.

The ordinances, or ceremonies, consist, in part, of instruction in symbolic and literal form. Part of the instruction is in the form of something which some religions and philosophies might call a morality play.

At the time I write this, most of the ordinances are presented in a recorded format, part of that in film format. At the time in which this story is placed, however, it was all performed live.

Live means performing from memory.

At first, Bobbie was a little too dramatic. Blame it on her dance background, maybe. But she quickly got used to her parts.

The others got used to their parts, too.

Sometime before the semester was over, Karel and Dan were informed by the temple president, that, if they were themselves sealed to their wives, they could be invited to perform proxy sealings. (This part does not involve anything like a morality play.) Bobbie and Kristie were present, and Bobbie burst into uncharacteristic tears.

The temple president talked privately with Bobbie, and she was partially consoled. But she decided to refrain from temple service for a couple of weeks while she thought things out.

Have I properly explained sealings yet?

Family relationships in this world tend to be until death. The bonds we form here do partially extend into the next world, but we often misunderstand what those bonds are and how they could extend beyond death.

The temple ceremonies are designed to teach us how to develop true, eternal bonds, without the coercive elements that are so prevalent in this world. And we believe that we are given special authority to perform those sealing ordinances which establish those eternal bonds, if the individuals receiving the ordinances will obey the instruction they receive in the Gospel and in those ordinances.

Some unprepared members who participate fail to hear all the words and misunderstand things. But there is no coercion involved, if you understand them correctly.

This issue of coercion does have tangential relationship to Bobbie's distress, but it was not because she felt she was being pushed to marry Karel.

Not that at all. What it was will take some time to explain, if I can work it out correctly for you.

About the rest of the semester, we don't have enough time to give a play-by-play on everything. So I won't go into details.

Joel and Kelly continued to correspond. Kelly picked up the local dialect much more quickly than she expected. Her Portuguese improved dramatically and they started writing their letters in Portuguese.

(You were expecting, maybe, Spanish? Well, she later learned and used that, as well. And Joel helped her with that in his letters, too. He had used both on his mission, too.)

Trisha and Charles set their wedding date after winter break, to make it a little easier to move in together, and to be able to give each other more direct support during their final semester. Their families had met over the summer and were very supportive. And of course all their friends were supportive.

About ten months total is not too fast, really, from meeting to marrying.

There was another students' Saturday at the airfield, with Mike and Ruth and their friends treating interested students to experience behind the controls of gliders. Our four friends attended, and, after practicing, and some instruction, Bobbie and Karel piloted some towing runs to give the more experienced pilots a break.

Melissa and Winn's situation became a bit worse before it got better. The boss had announced his plan to the employees, and everyone had agreed to scrape by somehow for a month. But when Melissa and Winn had prayed several times about it, Winn was inspired to take a day off to visit the county offices and do a little investigation.

When he returned to work the next day, the new investors had disappeared in a puff of smoke. The information Winn brought back did not make his boss happy, but, with the new investors gone, he started to change his mind.

And, with the source of certain rumors gone, the customers came back, and the company started making payroll again.

The boss gave the police certain information, and they passed it on to the FBI. Where it went from there is not part of this novel.


Bobbie was called in to the hospital several times on weekends, delivering or helping in nine births. A few of those were pretty dramatic, but, again, we don't need to know the details. Just that this was part of what she is.

And so forth. I'll let you fill in the blanks.

Around the beginning of December, our four friends were together in the dorm cafeteria, and Bobbie said, "Say guys, I want some more flight time. You want me to fly you all back for winter holidays?"

"That's quite a lot of practice time," Karel observed.

"I haven't logged any real flying time for almost two years. Just the trip out to meet Kelly's parents."

"Isn't it cool that Kelly's mom has actually written her twice now?" Kristie said.

"Yeah, letters home do quite a lot of good," Dan commented. "I think the way Joel is supporting her is cool, too."

"Uhm." Bobbie looked at the table. "Not that I don't want to talk about Kelly and Joel, but I was kind of hoping to talk about Christmas and New Years."

"Wear and tear on the plane aside, how much would it cost in gas?" Karel asked.

"The fuel won't cost much more than the gas for all of us to go home and come back in our own cars. Maybe less."

They all thought for a moment.

"I'd rather fly someplace meaningful to log my flight time." Bobbie thought she was fighting a losing battle at this point.

Dan said, "Well, if you let us split the cost of the gas four ways, ..."

"I think it would be fun." Kristie said.

Karel wanted to say something like, "I'll fly anywhere with you anyway." But he knew Bobbie didn't need that kind of pressure, so he just grinned. "Sounds good to me." 

Then he thought a moment more and pointed out, "We'll have to have family pick us up at the airport, but I don't think they'll mind."

So early in the morning several days before Christmas, Bobbie's little brother Rick flew in with his wife, Lupe. Bobbie, Rick, and Karel checked the plane out while the others watched. Then Rick and Karel got started fueling it. Karel took a lot of notes, both mental and real.

Bobbie showed the other three how to read the weather forecast for the prevailing winds and set up the flight plan. Just for fun, Karel showed them how to use calculus instead of the flight computer. But they all agreed that took too long.

You are thinking that a flight computer is an anachronism. I know you are. So look up "E-6B flight computer" on your favorite search engine.

Oh, you knew about that already. Maybe I shouldn't pretend to know so much about airplanes, after all.

When they were finished with the flight plan, Bobbie, Rick, and Karel took it to the airport office to file it.

Then they all walked through the pre-flight checklist. Bobbie explained things to the others to refresh her own memory, and Karel took more notes.

Bobbie took the pilot's seat, and she insisted on Karel taking the co-pilot's position. Rick was happy to get to relax and talk with Lupe and Dan and Kristie.

After they had been flying for a few minutes, Lupe said, "Rick and I have been reading Lectures on Faith. We heard you guys studied it last spring, so we thought we'd take a look."

Kristie asked, "What do you think?"

"I'm not sure it's very important any more. Most of it seems to be available in the Church class manuals."

Rick agreed. "It seems to me that the primary idea in it for us is the Abrahamic sacrifice. It seems pretty extreme, if all of us have to go that far."

Karel was taking a turn at the controls at the moment, so he just listened.

Bobbie said, "Does everyone really have to face something that hard? I can't imagine how Sarah felt. I mean, even if Isaac might have been, you know, a bit backward because of her being so old when he was born, no mom is going to just say, yeah, go ahead and kill my baby."

Dan said, "I don't think we have the whole story."

Kristie asked, "What do you think really happened?"

Lupe said, "I'm sure we shouldn't assume that we all have to be willing to sacrifice our own children."

In a pause in the conversation, Karel put some thoughts together, and said, "For some, sending a child on a mission is a huge sacrifice."

Bobbie picked that up immediately. "Kelly!"

And they explained about Kelly and her family.

Lupe said, "I can handle that kind of sacrifice."

The plane was flying into clouds. Karel said, "The air feels a little rough, Bobbie, should you take over?"

"Ride it out. The big thing is not to panic."

"Be ready to take over."

"Have some faith in yourself. I'll grab the controls if you do something stupid, but you won't."

Dan asked, "What other kinds of sacrifice can we think of?"

Bobbie pointed out, "Karel is sacrificing his sense of security."

Karel suppressed an urge to turn and kiss Bobbie.

Kristie laughed a little nervously.

Dan said, "Say things like that and we all sacrifice our sense of security."

But Lupe said, "She knows what she's doing. Every student pilot has to learn how to ride out bad weather. Rick had to coach me, too."

And Rick laughed and said, "But not with a plane full of friends. Still, Bobbie and Lupe and I are keeping an eye on things. This isn't really dangerous."

"Lupe knows how to fly, too?"

"Rick taught me. He even made me fly once while I was pregnant."

"That was stupid of me. I won't do it again."

"I threw up all over the controls."

Bobbie and Lupe laughed.

"And I did the first cleanup. And then I paid to get it cleaned right and checked out and fixed. Had to replace certain parts that weren't designed for stomach acids. I think I learned that lesson."

Dan and Kristie eyes went wide.

Karel chuckled. "Sounds like you and Bobbie are related."

Bobbie laughed again, and then Lupe and Rick joined in, followed by Dan and Kristie. But Dan and Kristie looked at each other with another mutual flash of understanding as they laughed.

As the air smoothed out, Bobbie said, "Need a rest?"

"Sure. Thanks." They switched control back to the pilot's position, and Karel leaned back.

Then he said, "The Abrahamic sacrifice is a test of whether or not we are ultimately willing to trust God. Each one of us has his or her own, and we are tested more than once. Kelly and Joel both faced such tests last spring, and Kelly's mother found such a test in Kelly's mission call. And they'll have more."

Rick said, "So it's not a one-shot."

"God trains us as He sees fit, as He decides we are able to handle things."

Bobbie was glad she was at the controls, because she was more than a little inclined to hit Karel. "How you can be so entirely blasé never fails to amaze me."

That did it. Karel leaned over and, self-control partially reasserting itself mid-flight, kissed Bobbie on the cheek instead of the lips.

Everyone but Bobbie and Karel grinned.

"Maybe I'm not so blasé as I sound."

"Well, that was nice," Bobbie said, without even the slightest irony.

Which was all well and good, but Bobbie made sure she was never alone with Karel the rest of the winter vacation.

While they were visiting the Whitmers, Bobbie found herself alone with her mother.

"So, how are things coming?"

"School's great, Mom."

"That's not what I'm asking. Karel is a real jewel. One in a million. Well, Dan's another one in a million. Lightening struck twice, and you know which bolt is yours. What are you going to do about it?"

"I'm scared Mom. You know why."

"Someday, you have to give that up."

"Abraham, Isaac, and Sarah."


"Maybe this is one of my tests, but I'm just not ready."

After Christmas, the four of them flew on alone to visit Kristie's family for a day or two, then down to visit Karel's family, and back to Dan's family for New Year's.

Sheliah was really glad to see them all, teasing them unmercifully when she had the chance.

Then they flew back to the Whitmers', and Rick and Lupe flew them back to school.

The link to the next of the characterization chapters will be here when it's ready is here:

(The chapter index is here:

Thursday, August 11, 2016

[Backup] Economics 101 pasteboard flight

[This is material that didn't make it into Getting through Winter in the Second Year:, (produced during the work backed up here: Originally at, which was never published.)]

Then Bobbie said, "Say guys, I have something I need a little help with."

Karel said, "We're all ears."

"I told you guys I have a pilot's certificate, didn't I?"


"Oh, yeah."

"So what's up?"

"It's been a while since I've flown, and I need a little time in the air."

Dan suggested, "How about flying us all down to St. George and taking a hike in Zion's Canyon?"

"That's kind of what I was thinking."

"I'm in."

"Count me in, too."

"How do we get from the park to the Canyon?"

"Karel, you are such a wet blanket."

"If you have friends with big farms, you don't have to put down in the public airport."


"Now how am I supposed to do the wet blanket thing about that?"

And they all laughed, quietly, so as not to disturb other students.

"When ya got in mind?"

"This weekend?"

"What about studying for the tests?"

"We can study in the air."

"If you guys spell my at the controls, I can do some studying, too."

"How does that work out as practice?"

"What I need most is getting in the air and getting back down. The rest is mostly practice staying awake, and keeping an eye on the weather and the instruments, which I can do while I study."

"Well let's get as much study as we can out of the way. "

Early Saturday morning at the airport, Bobbie's little brother Rick flew in with his wife, Lupe. Bobbie and Rick checked the plane out while the others watched, and Rick got started fueling it.

Bobbie showed the other three how to read the weather forecast for the prevailing winds and set up the flight plan. Just for fun, Karel showed them how to use calculus instead of the flight computer. But they all agreed that took too long.

You are thinking that a flight computer is an anachronism. I know you are. So look up "E-6B flight computer" on your favorite search engine.

Oh, you knew about that already. Maybe I shouldn't pretend to know so much about airplanes, after all.

When they were finished with the flight plan, Bobbie and Rick took it to the airport office to file it.

Then she had her friends walk through the pre-flight checklist with her and explained the various procedures to them, to refresh her own memory.

And then they made a phone call to the friends who owned the land where they would be setting down, so they could have an idea when to expect them. And they boarded the plane with Bobbie at the controls and Rick in the co-pilot's seat, taxied out, got final clearance, and took off.

Karel, Dan, and Kristie each took a turn at the controls, with Rick coaching them, while the rest studied and watched the scenery below. They didn't get as much studying done as they might have, but they had fun with it.

Rick and Lupe got involved with their discussions of Lectures on Faith.

Lupe said, "Rick and I have been reading it, and I'm not sure it is very important any more."

Rick agreed. "It seems to me that the primary ideas in it that don't seem to be as clearly made somewhere else are faith as the power of God and the generality of the Abrahamic sacrifice."