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North Platte writer presents 'Threshold'Tell North Platte what you think
Courtesy Photo­Image
Faith Colburn
Courtesy Photo­Image

North Platte author Faith Colburn has put together a new book, Threshold: A Memoir, about the importance of family and community.

Threshold is a series of 18 stories about one ordinary American family's struggle to thrive across race and through time and space. From the story of five-year-old Joseph Swope, who was kidnapped and adopted by a war chief, to a man blasting up U.S. Highway 41 in the 1950s with a turtle for a co-pilot trying to save a marriage, Colburn's memoir reveals what happens when communities thrive and when they fail.

She will sign her book from 1-3 p.m. at A to Z Books on Saturday, Feb. 2.

Threshold began with two images for Colburn.

“The first is an image of my great-great-great-grandmother, Sicily Hendricks, in the golden glow of candlelight and a fire in the hearth, surrounded by neighbors and friends, helping a young woman give birth," Colburn said. "The second is an image of my nephew, along with strangers, under the cold green light of fluorescents in a modern operating theater having his leg amputated. The leg was labeled 'hazardous waste' and sent off to be incinerated in an undisclosed location."

After that amputation, Colburn began to contemplate the difference of being attended by friends and neighbors instead of by strangers.

Families and communities serve as the threshold we cross into our lives, she said. The stories in the book are of people who worked together and shared resources.

"There's the smell of wheat dust and sweat and the ozone that precedes a storm and there's the clang of green beans into a metal pot while friends and family sit on chairs dragged out into the yard where it's hard to discern the border between fireflies and stars," she writes.

“I can remember how safe and comfortable it was when everybody knew my name," Colburn said. "They may not have always been glad I came, but I knew they wouldn't let me ‘go under.' Perhaps we can find a pattern in these stories that we can adapt to help us retrieve that feeling in this new century.”

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The North Platte Bulletin - Published 1/27/2013
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