In Memoriam Jim Harrison
Uit: The Great Leader
“On the way to work he was drowsy so he drove down to the harbor and stood out in the cold north wind that was pushing waves over to the top of the break wall. He felt forlornly on the wrong track with the Great Leader. His colleagues and captain in the state police teased him with, “Where’s the evidence of a crime?” Everyone knew there wasn’t a provable one and it was certainly an ironic way to end a fine career. His uncle John Shannon who was a commercial fisherman liked to say, “Every boat is looking for a place to sink.” There were far more rumors of sexual abuse these days than day-old bread and in this case the mother and daughter were unwilling to testify.
He turned and looked at the huge Catholic church on the hill and received a modest jolt in his frontal lobe, not really a clue. The year before the divorce they had taken a vacation in northern Italy and his wife had been in a serene trance over religious art and architecture while he as an historian mostly saw the parasitical nature of the Catholic Church. This was what truly goaded him about Dwight who had managed to get seventy people to give up their lives and money. By living in primitive conditions in the “past before the past” as Dwight called it they would have a wonderful future. Was this any more cockamamie than the Mormons, or the Catholics for that matter? The idea that something so obviously stupid worked with people irked him. They beat on their drums, chanted in tongues, danced, and hunted and fished. As the members spiritually matured their pasts would reshape themselves. Dwight seemed to utterly believe in what he was doing and then one day he didn’t and would move on. The little information Roxie had gathered on the Great Leader’s activities seemed to center on the Mayan calendar, the nature of which Sunderson didn’t yet understand. He suspected that it was true Dwight had had sexual relations with the twelve-year-old daughter of a cult member but there was nowhere to go with this. Sunderson was concerned that when you looked into the history of religion those in power generally devised a way to get at the young stuff, which seemed also to be a biological premise in other mammals. This was scarcely a new idea as Marion had noted. Just as Sunderson’s hobby was history Marion, as a mixed blood, was obsessive about anthropology.”
Jim Harrison (11 december 1937 – 26 maart 2016)