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  • Writer's pictureRobert P. Fitton

How Patch and Shari begin the Journey to the Kennedy Assassination

Lake Itasca, Minnesota: The beginning of the Mississippi River

When you think of the Mississippi River, I’ll bet you imagine the gargantuan water flow and steamboats traversing the wide stretches of water separating the riverbanks. Like anything with a beginning and an end the Mississippi begins rather inauspiciously in Lake Itasca, Minnesota.

President John F. Kennedy and Patch’s creepng anxiety

So why the geography lesson, Mr. Fitton? In chapters 2 and 3 of Return to Dallas, although the building of the relationship between Patch and Shari may move like a slight trickle over the rocks up at Lake Itasca, I wanted the story to make sense. Shari is fascinated by Patch because of the mystery surrounding his arrival. While Patch understands he is in another time, he does not know how he got to Spokane. But we do get a hint of where this river is going. Patch is filled with great anxiety when President Kennedy is mentioned. The song Sukiyaki brings a tear to Shari’s eye as they cruise through Spokane on a July night. Somebody hurt her.

The Kennedys at St. Francis Xavier Church, Hyannis, MA

Patch is bothered a radio news report that details President Kennedy on Cape Cod. Something about Kennedy gives him a sense of foreboding. We also hear about the first artificial heart contrasting a technologically savvy future.

Current photo of the Benewah Milk Bottle

While having an ice cream at the Benewah Milk Bottle in Spokane, Patch’s past comes racing forward when Dr. Alexander Moon in an identical jumpsuit and armed with a Lugar, comes gunning for him. Shari’s wild driving allows them to hide from Moon. Shari and Patch part ways outside of town but Shari loops the Impala around and Patch spends the night on her couch. He has a vivid nightmare about a long dark limo under ominous clouds on the prairie-the most frightening and accurate indication Patch will end up in Dallas on November 22nd.

Patch’s nightmare

And Shari has a revelation during the night as she fights her attraction for Patch as well as trying to stay clear of the lunatic Dr. Moon, who is still on the run in eastern Washington. And Shari has a revelation during the night as she fights her attraction for Patch as well as trying to stay clear of the lunatic Dr. Moon, who is still on the run-in eastern Washington. She tells Patch she will drive him in her Impala to the Oregon border so Patch can get to Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles per the folded note and meet with Johnny Roselli. Shari is truthful when she says that Patch’s predicament is the whackiest thing she’s ever heard of in her life.

As time goes on most people and then all people who think about the Kennedy Assassination will not have lived through the nationwide shock that began in Dealey Plaza on November 22, 1963. Additionally, as time elapses and things change, it’s very convenient and somewhat ignorant to inject today’s standards, social mores, and lifestyle into 1963. This past weekend we saw Rogers and Hammerstein’s Carousel. I was taken aback at myself when Billy Bigelow readily uses his fists on Julie. People sometimes let that fly years ago. Our high school play was Carousel and I don’t remember commenting on Bigelow’s brutality. Point being as you read Return to Dallas: The world was different then.

Postscript: Again, you can dig into Patch's ordeal before he arrived in Spokane by reading or listening to Transition.

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