A Short Story on the Website of
the Red Dirt Writers Society

Ole's Step to Freedom
by Melissa Neely (Sep 2007)


Ole Leeson looked across the harbor toward land. America! The land of opportunity, the land of freedom and fresh starts. Ole wanted to start over, to be free - no one to hold his dreams back, no one to tell him no, no one to marry. Getting on the ship had been the first step in his fresh start. Time to figure out step two.  

A tall, red-headed Norwegian didnít exactly blend into the background, not at home, not on the ship, maybe not in America.  America was big, very big. Perhaps he could disappear if his name never reached land. He couldnít risk his family tracking him down.

He spent a moment fantasizing about all the different places America had to offer.  There was Minnesota; the Hansonís and Jorgensonís had moved there. ďA land so much like home,Ē Minnie had said.  Oklahoma, where they are giving the rich, fertile land away.  Or California with all that sunshine and gold.

 Where to live in America was a decision for another day. Todayís dilemma was how to reach land a new man. There was only one thing to do.  Ole stood on the rail of the ship watching the heavy waves.  It was a long way down. Ole looked around, looked down, closed his eyes Ö and jumped.

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