The tumor in my father's pancreas was removed last week in an operation that lasted five hours and was more difficult than his surgeons had expected. Afterward, they delivered the grim news that most people in his condition could not expect to live for more than ninety days. Since I knew nothing of the surgery, or the tumor, I was not there when he was given his death sentence. Communication is not a priority with my father. Ten years ago he divorced one wife and had found another before word filtered down to me.
His current wife—she's either number five or number six-eventually called and, after reintroducing herself, passed along the barest of details about the tumor and its related issues. Agnes explained that my father was not feeling well and didn't want to talk. I replied that he had never wanted to talk, regardless of how he felt. She asked me to spread the news to the rest of the family. I almost asked "Why?" but didn’t want to bicker with this poor woman.
The rest of the family consists of my younger sister, Jill, and my mother. Jill lives in Seattle and, as far as I know, has not spoken to our father in at least ten years. She has two small children who have never met him, and never will. My mother, after surviving twelve years of marriage, got lucky and got out, taking Jill and me with her, and I have a hunch that the news of his impending death will have zero impact on her.
Needless to say, we do not get together at Christmas and exchange gifts by the fire.
After the phone call from Agnes, I sit at my desk and ponder life without Warren, my father. I started calling him Warren when I was in college because he was more of a person, a stranger, than a father. He did not object. He has never cared what I call him, and I have always assumed he prefers that I don’t call him at all. At least I make the occasional effort; he never has.
After a few minutes, I admit the truth-life without Warren will be the same as life with him.
I call Jill and break the news. Her first question is whether I plan to attend the funeral, which is somewhat premature. She wants to know if she should try to visit him, to say hello and good-bye and go through the phony motions of acting as though she cares, when in fact she does not. Nor do I, and we both admit this. We have no love for Warren because he never cared for us. He abandoned the family when we were kids and has spent the past thirty years acting as though we do not exist. Jill and I are both parents now, and we find it inconceivable that a father can have no use for his own children.
"I’m not going," she finally declares. "Now, or later. How about you?"
"I don’t know," I reply. "I’ll have to think about it."
CALICO JOE by John Grisham.
Copyright © 2012 by Belfry Holdings, Inc.
Published by arrangement with Doubleday, an imprint of The Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, a division of Random House, Inc.
A surprising and moving novel of fathers and sons, forgiveness and redemption, set in the world of Major League Baseball….
Whatever happened to Calico Joe?
In the summer of 1973 Joe Castle was the boy wonder of baseball, the greatest rookie anyone had ever seen. The kid from Calico Rock, Arkansas dazzled Cub fans as he hit home run after home run, politely tipping his hat to the crowd as he shattered all rookie records.
Calico Joe quickly became the idol of every baseball fan in America, including Paul Tracey, the young son of a hard-partying and hard-throwing Mets pitcher. On the day that Warren Tracey finally faced Calico Joe, Paul was in the stands, rooting for his idol but also for his Dad. Then Warren threw a fastball that would change their lives forever….
In John Grisham’s new novel the baseball is thrilling, but it’s what happens off the field that makes Calico Joe a classic.
Hardcover Book : 208 pages
Publisher: Doubleday Broadway Pub. ( April 10, 2012 )
Item #: 13-549433
Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 8.25 x 0.47inches
Product Weight: 9.0 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
GOOD BOOK! KEEPS YOU READING TILL THE END:) I REALLY ENJOYED THIS BOOK
Bought this book because I've read all his others except Playing For Pizza, and honestly didn't know what to expect from this one, being a baseball story but I absolutely loved it!! Great characters...great story...all in the John Grisham style of writing...cant ask for more then that!!.
Reviewer: Mr G
Loved "Calico Joe"!!A great book about baseball and life!
Yes, I cried at the end!
Reviewer: Mary H
As a grandmother who enjoys baseball, this book really hit home with me. The characters are well described, credible and true. The references to "real" people and events were well researched and blended into the story of Joe. I recommend this book to anyone who shares a hope of creating lifelong readers by reading with younger folk!
Reviewer: Bj S