Until the End of the Ninth

Beth Mary Bollinger


These next days are somewhat of a blur.  I am exhausted from all that driving.  I sleep.  I hang out with my sister when she’s not working.  I make press contacts for the rest of the trip, which is the ball parks in Duluth, Minnesota on Thursday (which is the only other city besides Spokane that lost some of their minor league team to a bus crash – theirs was in 1948), then Eau Claire, Wisconsin on Friday (where my dad’s family lives), and then Minneapolis on Saturday for a Twins game.  By Wednesday, I am thinking that I will not succeed in getting Fox Sports to do a segment on the book at the Twins game (which is the Fox Sports’ game-of-the-week that Saturday).  I’m a little disappointed….

And then the bridge collapses.  And nothing is the same. 

We find out about the bridge collapse, my sister and I, from my mother, who calls to ensure that I am not yet in Minneapolis and so not on the bridge.  She has just gotten off the telephone with my brother, who lives in Eau Claire and is, as often as not, traveling back and forth to Minneapolis to the airport.  He’s safe, I’m safe.  These check-ins are happening all over the country.  It’s just that not everyone in every family is safe.

I can’t imagine how I am going to finish the rest of the tour, blithely speaking of my novel all in the Minnesota/Wisconsin area, without feeling – I don’t know – wrong.  Yes, there’s a schedule to keep.  But there is also something larger to consider.  At midnight, I decide that I will donate any proceeds from book sales over the next three days to the victims of the bridge collapse.  It is the only thing that makes any sense.  Finally I can sleep.  I will email my publisher in the morning and let him know what I’m doing.