The road to ￼Delano
Deceptions, coverups and an innocent child will unravel a plot so sinister and intricate that it stuns readers from the outset. Sugar Duncan rose from nowhere making his mark as a gambler. A plowboy as a child by trade he could win a seven-card stud seeing the patterns and understood the odds. He lived by the bluff and by the time he reached High School the name Sugar was his trademark or name because he was sweet as Sugar about taking your money. Sugar was street smart in his own way and winning and taking the money from hooligans and rum runners increased his stash. After 4 years of playing cards it was time to purchase his own land. Delano was his destination and the Fairmont Hotel his headquarters as he utilized their back room with a deck of cards and a table filled with marks you might say a year later, he bought his first section of land. Sugar could sweet talk people and meeting soloist Shirley Gordon was it fate or just magic that brought them together?
A courtship that is right takes after a fairytale with a happy ending and two people in sync with each other from the start as Sugar increased his wealth with his farming and Shirley set up a sewing room and created dresses, shirts and other apparel for people to buy. As her following grew she needed more space and added took over another bedroom but then something would change as Herm Gordon came into their lives, encouraged Sugar to buy an expensive combine and things would take on a more sinister turn as he left for a meeting and never returned. Always at a specific hotel he was not even checked out and this frightened both Shirley and her young son Jack. Jack was smart and yet all he wanted to do was go after finding his father until the truth came out about what his fate was but was this the truth or something the police or someone else invented?
Gambling was his passion before he married and he gave it up 25 years ago so why did the police say he was gambling and that might have caused what happened to him as they found him in his car dead. Nothing could be done for him and the lies that followed about his death would come front and center years later when Jack was in high school, going out with his girlfriend, Ella to take the combine that he had to sell in order to keep the land that he and his money lived on. But, an odd event would change the course of his life as Herm comes into his life and stops him on a rainy and stormy night and what happens next is both odd, shocking and a harsh truth is revealed about his father’s death.
Jack is determined to learn more about his father’s death, and he realizes that he was not drunk that night but what happened to the man who stopped him and why did he take his coat and hat? Things get tense when he realizes that the combine is gone, and he might lose his home. His mother is stern and reporting it to the police does not appear as if they really care but with his mother’s support, they might take more notice. His property is on the verge of tax sale driving the old combine into town and selling it would give him the money to save his land. But things get out of hand and when he and his best friend Adrian go to Herm Gordon’s home he is gone. The Sheriff eventually reveals Herm’s fate, but will he learn why he was the real target and why this man put his life on the line for him. Someone wanted Jack out of the way and the truth behind the meeting and the argument would stay hidden forever. Herm is in the hospital and Jack can visit for a few minutes and what is revealed is startling and the link to the water rights and his land is still unclear but will be soon.
Ella is his girlfriend wants him to speak out at a Freedom of Speech meeting, but will this change anything? Hidden lies and truths and all his mother want are for him to play baseball, get that scholarship and leave and never turn back. Along with his best friend Adrian they will seek the truth and what about the migrant workers and what about the strike does this have bearing on what is happening?
This is a story about human dignity, human rights, migrant workers who are pickers vs. growers who treat them like the ground they work on and even lower. Debasing them, not allowing them time to eat or do the human basics needed to function, these growers and those in law enforcement just want them to leave migrate, no health benefits, poor wages and violent treatment for speaking out. But Jack wanted to help his friend Adrian’s father and his attempt to help him and do what he felt is right just might bring the law down on him. Threats made by the Sheriff were real or was he bluffing? Things get tense and one man is killed and the murder covered up. Lives are at stake and we hear the voice of Cesar Chavez who wants to encourage the workers to sign up to join the union but what will the end result be?
When Jack goes to visit Herm Gordon and meets a great car adversary and plays several hands of cards, he learns the meaning of a bluff, talks out what he might do to save the workers and his situation with the combine that the Sheriff claims he can find or destroy unless he says he’s a witness to a crime. Lies, deceptions, corruption in high places and Adrian suspended for attacking someone even though he did not. Just how far will this violence go and when Jack and Ella go back to the church to collect medicine and clothes for a sick woman, what the lady in charge says will not only shock readers but remind people of the words class distinction, caste system and worse.
Author John DeSimone takes us deep inside the world of migrant workers, the indignities that fell upon them as you pass them even today waiting to be picked up to do a days work, earn a days wages and do the jobs that no one else wants to do.
A stolen combine is at the heart of what Jack must do and wants to find. Learning the hidden truths about the courts and the police where the corruption lies places him and Adrian in danger. explaining it to Cesar about the stolen combine and how he would not lie about Mr. Sanchez left him getting beaten by Kolcinivitch who seemed to own the town and had Adrian arrested for a crime he did not commit.
Sometimes you have to do something in order to make a wrong a right and like his father, Sugar it might take a deck of cards, the right hand in order to win back what was taken from him and his mother. The author vividly and distinctly describes the hidden truths about the water rights and why your land must be sold after ten years if you use the water from the state. The stakes are high and Jack put it all on the line and got seriously hurt in order to get the bail money to free his friend and with the help of Herm Gordon he learned the ins and outs of gambling. Will he win it back? What about his mother and his scholarship? Ella found her niche working to fight for the pickers and stop the strikes? Violence was not the answer, but Jack was bent on taking it into his own hands and the games were played, the hands were dealt, and he learned some tough lessons that he would keep for life. The ending is heartbreaking and a friendship that would last in his heart and soul forever as the final scenes will bring tears to your eyes, possibly open the eyes of someone blind to the harsh realities of those that think they are above the law. The plight of the migrant worker is at the heart of this novel the truth behind what his father did and why he was killed is revealed. The ending will let you wonder where Jack decides he belongs. Baseball games that were played and a championship that was won but which team? Lies, betrayals, deception, corruption, human dignity, and human rights and treating everyone as an American citizen regardless of who they are: Migrant workers and growers should be equal. A powerful story based on real life events. An important story based on what the world is listening to related to our borders. Author John DeSimone hits the jackpot with this timely novel. Jack is dynamic and bright, and Adrian is loyal to his father and feels his place is to help the pickers. What is the outcome? A mother who had faith in her son! Just where would they wind up and who will come out ahead as the decide whether to remain where they are or take a different Road away from Delano.
Fran Lewis: just