On The Rainy River

On The Rainy River
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  • It was some time during the June of 1968. I received a letter, informing me that I'd been drafted into the Vietnam war.
  • I was young and politically naive, but I knew i didn't support the war.
  • That summer, I worked at meat processing plant. I used a water gun to remove blood clots from slaughtered pigs.
  • One morning, something snapped, almost physical; a leaking sensation in my chest. I went straight home, packed a suitcase, and left.
  • I drove and I drove. North. I was driving on adrenaline. Attempting an escape from the draft. I drove all the way to the Rainy River: The border between the US and Canada.
  • Then I drove west. I followed the rainy river, until i eventually stopped at an old Motel.
  • I stayed there with the old man who owned the place; Elroy Berdahl. He was quiet, but my own guilt imbedded a sense of judgement in his gaze.
  • I helped him out to keep myself busy. He payed me for my service, after the cost of the motel.
  • On the last day, the sixth day, He took me out fishing on the rainy river. I think he knew what I was struggling with. He gave me the ultimate choice.
  • He stopped the boat not but 20 yards from the Canadian border. I could've jumped; run; avoided the draft. But I couldn't do it.
  • I simply couldn't force myself to do it. The next day, I drove home. I would go to the war. I would kill, and I would see people killed around me. All because I couldn't do it. I coudn't jump.
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