Craig Nagel


For the past thirty years readers of the Lake Country Echo in north-central Minnesota have enjoyed the bi-weekly column by Craig Nagel called “The Cracker Barrel.”

His essays have been photocopied and sent to friends, cut out and taped to the wall or stuck on the refrigerator door, read aloud at various meetings, reprinted in area newsletters and, on occasion, praised or damned in letters to the editor.


Fred’s Way is a coming-of-age novel about a young man torn between going off to college to become an ordained Lutheran pastor or staying home in Chicago to marry his high school sweetheart. It resonates with the agony of someone trying desperately—and often comically—to find his role in a society that refuses to fit his innocent expectations.

The central character, Fred Hansen, is at root a mystic, alive to the wonder and glory of life. Like a latter-day Don Quixote, he’s never quite in synch with what others call reality…

Fred’s Way
by Craig Nagel


A Sense Of Wonder

A Sense Of Wonder

Kids come by it naturally. A stone, a leaf, a snowflake—any object, no matter how ordinary, can be transformed by the mind of a child into something special and full of mystery. Seen this way, the world teems with wonder and delight. Years pass and the child outgrows...

Dad’s Walk

Dad’s Walk

Every year about this time I find myself thinking a lot about my dad. It was right around now, many years ago, that he started on what proved to be an epic walk. Dad was born in 1910 and died in 2002. He married Mom in the middle of the Great Depression and eventually...

Use It

Use It

  One of the least understood and most valuable entities in the universe is the three-pound electro-chemical tangle of nerve cells known as the human brain. Consisting of some 100 billion neurons and another trillion support cells, the brain is in essence a...

Craig’s Books

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