Friday, September 02, 2011


By Eric Wiggin

"Here's a book you can sink your teeth into. Skinny Dipping at Megunticook Lake is Bible-based fiction about sex. Not only can you use it as a guide, but you can find some friends in the characters who share some of the doubts and discomfort that most other Christians do about their private lives. Read and enjoy." Hannah Alexander, author of The Wedding Kiss

"A fun and romantic romp, Skinny Dipping at Megunticook Lake will delight readers who enjoy their fiction playful—and quietly pointed." Sibella Giorello

"I love this book! I love how the scripture was used in this story and how well it was explained how it was adjusted by some of the monks. I am a new nursing, mother, and this story touched my heart. I especially love the way God is at work in all the characters' lives. This has been an inspirational story for me. I will be taking a closer look at my Bible." Abby Gagnon

SUMMARY: What Jenny finds when she dives into life at Megunticook, Maine thrills her more than the Sexual Revolution, Woodstock, Jesus People, or stopping the Vietnam War.


Eric Wiggin

(Excerpted from Chapter One)

December 21, 1966

Jenny O'Brien didn't suspect when she made love with Rusty that winter morning that she was turning a corner to death—and life—and beginning a journey to knowledge of life's most treasured secret. Warm inside, still, from playing intimate sheet music with her beloved husband, Jenny smiled and tugged her parka across her pregnant belly against the winter chill of coastal Maine.

From where Jenny stood on the plank walkway outside the old barn's back door she could just make out where the dark green of the distant tall pines melded into the lighter green of old-growth hemlocks. She strained her ear for the snarl of Rusty's chainsaw. Only silence rewarded her heart's fond longing.

Jenny and Rusty had left New York's Establishment to sink their savings into this Maine hardscrabble farm only to discover that the economic realities of the 1960's required more than this century-and-a-half old farmstead could provide. "Que sera, sera, I guess." Only the cow and calves heard Jenny's plaint about the financial Catch-22 that had brought Rusty to buy a gas-engine chainsaw and attack their beloved primeval forest.

Rusty had gone that morning to the woodlot alone after he'd happily helped Jenny enjoy her late-pregnancy amorous mood. It worried her now that she couldn't hear the rev-and-snarl, rev-and-snarl of his new saw. Bachelor neighbor John Rowe always arrived to help Rusty with the logging right after breakfast. This morning, though, his mother had phoned to say John had a young cow in labor with a difficult delivery, and he would be late.

* * * * *

"We're not hippies, John," she'd said. Jenny knew she'd spoken defensively. She and Rusty had met in Washington at the November 1965 March for Peace in Vietnam. Both successful tort lawyers from New York, their month-long romance culminated in a Christmas Day marriage. They now chose a counter-culture lifestyle to escape Big Brother, but they sought something more solid than what the free-loving, LSD-tripping flower children of the Age of Aquarius had to offer.

* * * * *

Jenny did not remember pulling the massive, 400-year-old hemlock from Rusty's chest with the pick-up's power winch. Maine State Trooper David Bolduc was amazed to discover she'd accomplished this despite what must have been breath-taking labor pains. As for Rusty's chain saw, he hadn't even used it. John Rowe had felled the big tree yesterday, and this morning it had rolled onto Rusty as he cut a supporting limb with his axe.

John arrived to find Jenny sitting in the snow with Rusty's head and shoulders cradled on her knees as she desperately tried to restore the crushed man's breathing. John hoisted Rusty onto the GMC's bed, then helped Jenny scramble up with him. He drove to Jenny's house, where he called an ambulance, then piled blankets around the couple as they struggled with life—and with death.

John phoned his mother. Sarah Rowe, with her antique Packard, beat the ambulance to the O'Brien home. Yet Jenny steadfastly refused to leave Rusty until he was taken from her by the ambulance attendants. Moments later, Jenny gave birth in her own bed into Sarah's practiced hands.

Sarah now stepped onto the O'Brien porch and huddled into her sweater. She faced her son. "Yes, John?"

"Rusty . . . he died in the ambulance. They never got him to the hospital." John wiped his eyes with his sleeve and choked back a sob.

Sarah cast a glance through the window in the door. She waited as Vi, who'd been feeding Jenny's stove with firewood, returned to the bedroom. "Jenny's doing as well as can be expected. She's got beautiful baby—a boy." Sarah forced a smile.

"Shall I tell her, Mother?" John's words were fraught with pathos. He knew well enough that Death has no protocol or even an agenda, from a human perspective. John also believed firmly that all things have a certain agenda in the eyes of the Almighty. Right now it seemed only decent that Rusty's best friend be the one to inform the widow.

"Jenny's got to be told—she's in grief anyway." Sarah lifted her chin. "I'd want to know."

John trusted his mother's judgment. Sarah had twice been told that a man she loved had walked the Valley of the Shadow never again to lie in her bosom. Who would know better than she?

"I . . . I'll see if she's decent. I'll tell her you're here." Sarah hurried back inside.

It was Vi Stern. Like his mother, she stepped onto the porch and closed the door behind her. Vi was one of a pair of semi-hippies living in unwed cohabitation across the road from John Rowe's Fox Hill Farm. Better known as "Mickey's girlfriend," Vi had a broad Brooklyn accent and wore too much makeup for rural Maine tastes. And too few clothes in warm weather. That was the consensus of locals who'd seen her barefoot, topless, in nothing but cut-off jeans, helping Mickey plant trees.

Yet Vi, in another life a kindergarten teacher, was a helper with a heart for the hurting. She could always be called upon to help with the sick, dying and birthing. "You'd best leave," Vi said. Her tone was flat, and John could not read it.

"She knows, John." This time Vi seemed to project some emotion—enough, at least, that John mustered the courage to pry for details. "Mother tell her?"

"No. When your mom came back in, Jenny just said, `Rusty's dead, isn't he?'"

John took a breath. "I . . . I could maybe . . ."

"Uh-uh." Vi shook her head. "She said, `Tell John Rowe I don't wish to see him again, ever.'"

Jenny could not forgive John for involving Rusty in the logging enterprise that had taken his life—not ever. Like Jenny's daddy, Art McGill, Rowe was a man too busy making money to care about human needs.

She was sure of this.

Copyright 2011: Eric Wiggin (Do not reproduce without permission)

Buy now at Kindle/Amazon

No comments: