Monday, September 9, 2013

Maggie Vaults over the Moon

The first time I was up close to a real pole vaulter I was 14, watching in awe as another boy my age, ran with a piece of fiberglass and made it bend in ways I didn’t think possible.  He looked at me and asked if I wouldn’t mind catching his pole while he practiced.  I couldn’t say no to Tad Scales.  Three years later Tad would run down that same runway in Allen Field House and break the Kansas High School record flying over 16 foot.

The beauty of the pole vault, is just like the beauty that you have learn to look for as you travel across the rolling prairie that makes up most of Kansas.  It is a beauty that is stirred by a heart-felt tale of a farm girl, learning to deal with life, along with the good and bad that it brings.  “Maggie Vaults over the Moon” instantly transported me back to my childhood.  I grew up around the combines, the wheat harvest, the cozy, the nosiness that living in small town Kansas brings.  I knew Maggie and the mythical town of Grain Valley where she went to high school.  I knew the jocks, that sense of community, where we all mourned losses collectively and together reveled in the triumphs.

The story of Maggie Steele is a celebration.  It’s a celebration in believing, of overcoming, and knowing that good people in the end, will help you overcome all the bad in this world.  Maggie’s world was shattered by the death of her older brother.  She found solace in the hayloft of their huge family barn, just like the one on my grandparent’s farm that once entertained myself, my siblings and my cousins, for countless hours, with adventures, real and imagined. 

Maggie finds herself and what she thought she had lost in that barn.  And along the way she finds a purpose to a life that seemed scary and without direction.  Author Grant Overstake takes us on Maggie’s year long journey from tragedy to triumph.  It’s an all too real journey, that defies imagination and tugs at your heartstrings. 

The story may be aimed at a younger audience, but it’s a story that will translate to anyone willing to allow themselves to be young at heart.

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