Two Places at Once

Angelo’s aunt shook him awake on the couch. He could smell the alcohol on her breath. She asked him for a ride into town to meet his uncle. He agreed and wasn’t surprised when the destination was a bar in Walthill, Neb. “Alcoholism has been a part of my family for 250 years,” he said. “People ask me why I don’t drink. I say because I learn from other people’s mistakes.” Learning from others’ mistakes is what history majors do.

At the bar, fellow Omaha Indians bought incredible amounts of alcohol. He spoke with his uncle at a pool table. “He had a stick in his hand, and he told me, ‘Angelo, you’re a rare commodity.’” He wanted Angelo to move to the reservation and make a difference there.

“The reservation needs me,” Stabler said. “Lincoln needs me, too.” How could Stabler pursue the liberal arts education he promised his grandfather, learn the Omaha ways so dear to his grandmother, and continue looking out for the kids in his youth club?

“How can I be two places at once?”