Book Discussions and Speaking

Earlier this summer I enrolled for a Psychology class at Bemidji State University (BSU). Suddenly autumn is here and I’m sitting in a lecture hall. This past few months seemed to fast-track past. My wife, Patti, and I had a booth first at Clearwater County Fair and then at Beltrami County Fair. (Thank you Jim Bishop, Vietnam Veteran and friend, for helping.) We sold quite a few books but more important, were the many people I met and the many who came up and discussed Muddy Jungle Rivers and shared their memories of the Vietnam era—at home and in Vietnam. Listening to them reinforced what I have come to realize: Everybody has a story.
Many years ago I managed the butcher shop at Luekens Village Foods in Bemidji, MN. In the 1990s World War II veterans started stopping by the shop to visit me. They knew I had been in Vietnam because I had been VFW commander of the local post. Over time, several of those men began telling me their stories of trauma from their war. More often than not they walked away, choked up, tears in their eyes, silent, story unfinished. I have come to realize that it was probably the anniversary date of their trauma and they needed to share it. Now, those stories have gone to the grave with them. But I credit those old vets with inspiring me to tell my story before I join them.
September is again a busy month. Tonight, September 6, I speak at the Bemidji Library book discussion group. The 15th I attend the Jackpine Writers’ Bloc Book Release Party and Writers Workshop. The 19th I speak at an American Legion Dinner.
October I am scheduled to speak at Adventures in Lifelong Learning. Middle of the month Patti and I go to the Twin Cities Book Festival; that should be an interesting weekend. Late October I speak to two BSU history classes who have read Muddy Jungle Rivers.
Yesterday, Eugene Stillday, a Korean War veteran and an elder, asked me to be guest speaker at the Red Lake Nation Veterans Day ceremony on November 11, 2012. I am honored and humbled.
If your group is interested in having me visit, please email:


  1. It was my pleasure sitting with you at the Clearwater county fair Wendell. I too enjoyed the many stories that were shared at the booth by Veterans and familes of veterans. For that i thank you.

  2. Tom Dempsey says:

    Tom Dempsey T112- Flat top port side of T112-7


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