Windy McPherson's Son HTML version
Sam McPherson is a living American. He is a rich man, but his money, that he spent so
many years and so much of his energy acquiring, does not mean much to him. What is
true of him is true of more wealthy Americans than is commonly believed. Something
has happened to him that has happened to the others also, to how many of the others?
Men of courage, with strong bodies and quick brains, men who have come of a strong
race, have taken up what they had thought to be the banner of life and carried it forward.
Growing weary they have stopped in a road that climbs a long hill and have leaned the
banner against a tree. Tight brains have loosened a little. Strong convictions have become
weak. Old gods are dying.
"It is only when you are torn from your mooring and drift like a rudderless ship I am
able to come near to you."
The banner has been carried forward by a strong daring man filled with determination.
What is inscribed on it?
It would perhaps be dangerous to inquire too closely. We Americans have believed that
life must have point and purpose. We have called ourselves Christians, but the sweet
Christian philosophy of failure has been unknown among us. To say of one of us that he
has failed is to take life and courage away. For so long we have had to push blindly
forward. Roads had to be cut through our forests, great towns must be built. What in
Europe has been slowly building itself out of the fibre of the generations we must build
now, in a lifetime.
In our father's day, at night in the forests of Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, and on the wide
prairies, wolves howled. There was fear in our fathers and mothers, pushing their way
forward, making the new land. When the land was conquered fear remained, the fear of
failure. Deep in our American souls the wolves still howl.
* * * * *
There were moments after Sam came back to Sue, bringing the three children, when he
thought he had snatched success out of the very jaws of failure.
But the thing from which he had all his life been fleeing was still there. It hid itself in the
branches of the trees that lined the New England roads where he went to walk with the
two boys. At night it looked down at him from the stars.
Perhaps life wanted acceptance from him, but he could not accept. Perhaps his story and
his life ended with the home-coming, perhaps it began then.