After graduating from Macalester College, Time O'Brien received his draft letter for the Vietnam War on June 17, 1968.
Only 20 yards to freedom
What about my family?
My chest hurts
Tim was consumed by a million thoughts at once. He wasn't for this war, yet if he didn't go he would be a disgrace to his family and country.
Thank you kind sir.
TIP TOP LODGE
The word Canada burned in his mind. He drove aimlessly north. Needing a place to rest he found the Tip Top Lodge where a man Elroy Berdahl greeted and took him in.
The two men spent 6 days together not saying much. Elroy was no hick, he understood it was 1968 and guys were burning their draft cards. On the last day Elroy took Tim fishing, at some point Tim noticed they had crossed into Canadian waters with the shore line merely 20 yards away.
Tim felt too much guilt to take those last 20 yards to freedom. He understood what he had to do. Before he could get a chance to thank Elroy, he was gone. Tim cleaned up and drove back home.
Tim returned home, then left for Vietnam. Luckily he returned but, he did not feel like a hero rather a coward.