Reviewed by, Bob Arias (Colombia (1964-66)
“One cannot patch an old shirt with new material, for the repair will not adhere to it!”
Author Will Michelet [the nom de plume of Richard Grimsrud] served in India from 1965 to 1967), where as a Peace Corps Volunteer he developed an awareness and appreciation for the diversity of the communities in India. His compassion is shared with the readers as we walk the fields of Wisconsin, his home.
In the story, Jesse La Follette is the community social worker who brings Christianity to the present time, but claims that he is not the Messiah. Jesse denies that he was the long-awaited Messiah. None the less, Jesse seems to be following the path as practiced by St. Luke . . . Jesse surrounds himself with his closes friends from high school, all thirteen, including John . . . Paul . . . and Mathew, are with him.
Jesse wants to get the attention of the governor of Wisconsin and other local leaders, to explain the importance of helping the poor and less educated of the communities. He asks them to treat these people as they would want to be treated! Yet, he knows that the political environment will not allow Jesse La Follette a platform to address the needs of the people, his followers. The fact that Jesse was the direct descendant of former Wisconsin Governor Bob La Follette did not serve him, and fear was in the eyes of the political community as Jesse started to heal the sick, the blind, and the near death.
Jesse, A Man Good Enough, is quick to read with only 114 pages, but it has a message that bites into you. Was Jesse the Messiah on his last day as he is placed between two thieves by his side on the scaffold . . . the time is now! The message is clear, what he told the Mexican field hand, “Treat others as you would want to be treated!” A different book, but a common message that we all follow. Not a religious writing, but simple and rewarding. In his Dedication, author Will Michelet identifies his wife Bridget as his soul. Did he know that Saint Bridget of Ireland would walk the fields of her land preaching peace to others? And in her walks, she would weave square crosses made from the weeds and sticks for her followers?
Bob Arias (Colombia 1964-66), was a CARE Rural Community Development PCV in Colombia, an APCD in Colombia from 1968 to 1973, and Peace Corps Country Director in Uruguay and Argentina from 1993 to 1995. He returned to work at the Peace Corps from 2001 to 2003 assisting in establishing the agency’s Safety and Security Office after 9/11. Now retired from Los Angeles County where he was the County’s Compliance Officer. Bob has served as a Peace Corps Response Volunteer since 2009, in Paraguay, Colombia, and now for a second time, in Panamá.