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Crosswinds Paperback – August 28, 2014
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Crosswinds is a story about two men stranded in an airport because of circumstances beyond their control. The time together generates enough thoughtful energy that they eventually turn inward and recognize the only thing that they could ever control - their reaction to the events and people in their lives. And that shift in perspective makes all the difference.
There are stories within stories that will leave you wondering about life. There are many anecdotes that seem as if they were written just for you. And there is a message of hope that will leave you smiling long after you have turned the last page.
As a side note - this book makes a great gift to anyone who has ever served in the military. They will resonate with the stories, the images and the descriptions of military life. And they may just peek behind a door to self-awareness at the same time.
I regret that these two sailors cuss like sailors, so I can't give it 5 stars. I guess it wouldn't be realistic enough if the particular word I'm complaining about weren't in there (it seems like) hundreds of times. Because of the language, I think parents would find it objectionable, which is a shame since it would make a great novel for high school classes.
That being said, I look forward to the sequel, wondering whether it will be based on the idea of "crosswinds"-(serendipitous meetings) again or if it will be based on one or both of these characters. Either way, I am sure it will be filled with interesting characters and a thought provoking storyline.
What do you think of when you go people watching? Do you idly stare at them while they walk by or do you observe how they are? Make up stories about them in your head, dissect their fashion choices or social manners, or make active observations based on what they have with them?
Jack would make up the latter person. Stuck in the airport because Of delays, he strikes up a conversation with a nervous sailor who asks him for a smoke. He could have easily handed over a cigarette and a light then turned away, but something about the young man sparked his interest and compassion which prompted him to offer an act of kindness along with the nicotine hit. A simple meal then turned into something of more sustenance.
Bobby didn't know it, but he was running away and Jack sensed that about him. That chance encounter sparked one of the longest and most meaningful conversations in his life.
With the fast-food syndrome that is so prevalent today, it's almost unheard of to just sit and chat for hours on end. Yet, that's what Jack and Bobby do, and the younger absorbs and digests all of the wisdom the elder has to offer him.
Think of it as having a talk with a grandparent or a mentor who is willing to share the good and bad of what they experienced in life, as well as what they learned from research, history, and good old hard knocks. It's a crash course, a dissertation, as it were, of how somebody that's been through so much looks at how the past dictates or influences the present.
While there's a lot of talk about God, it's not a Christian lecture per se. There is (and I agree) a differentiation of religion versus spirituality and how it's perceived by society. I know people who are pious in church yet are inhumane at home or at work. Therein to me lies the difference. Spirituality should pour over into real life and it doesn't matter where, what, or when, or what your background is.
That spirituality then guides you to good and better choices in life. Is it the work or God or of nature? I have my opinions on this and I'm sure every other reader has theirs. But if you know how to look, and accept, gifts are in front of you. It's simply up to you to accept them. At least, that's what the book says and also what I think.
On an aside. I do have a suspicion that Jack owns or is a partner in the airport cafe, NASCAR. Why else would he be so familiar with the menu or talk so fondly about racing? Then there is that large tidbit about his best friend Rubin to factor in. The clues are just overwhelmingly obvious, to me at least.
Crosswinds is open-ended in a way. You're never sure what Bobby does with the advice Jack has given him but you're sure of one thing. Jack has planted the seeds of wisdom in someone he views as his younger self, perhaps for him to live a happier, more fulfilling life. But is N.R. White done, for now at least, in imparting wisdom to you? I will surely be on the lookout for succeeding books to answer that question.