I was fooling around in the yard the other day. It was hot, so I popped a cold one and sat on my front step, that part shaded by a big holly bush. My neighbor saw me, walked across the street sort of slow like, and asked me what I was doing. I told I wasn’t doing anything. He reminded me I was sitting down, but I told him that in itself, that was nothing. Then he looked around the yard and said it was obvious I’d been doing something. I told him that might be true, but that he’d…
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No dad should ever tell his son he’ll “never be worth a damn,” but Mark Laverty’s dad did.
What the dad doesn’t know is that Mark has so firmly coupled his intelligence with curiosity that he knows how he wants to begin his future. Guided by that feeling, he graduates from high school, earns money at a factory job, and buys an old black Cadillac.
With neither plan nor schedule, Mark says goodbye, gets into his trusty car “Mariah,” and begins a journey he hopes will lead him to his ultimate destiny.
After weeks of wandering, meeting interesting people, and encountering unexpected and sometimes harsh realities, he meets Cindy, a waitress at her dad’s cafe in Montana. Although attracted to her, he leaves to continue his travels. Months later, and responding to his original feeling for Cindy, he returns to her, only to become involved in her family’s financial troubles triggered by bad management on the family ranch. His deepening feelings for her are interrupted by his parents’ sudden health problems.
Then comes a phone call that challenges him with a startling life changing event. He’s subjected to severe tests of patience, courage, fairness, and acceptance. Both smoothly and awkwardly, those qualities fuel his rapid rise from young man to young adult.
In the end, Mark is able to live the American dream, his reward for always insisting on doing the right thing.