James Richard Shaver
Fictional Character
1632 series
POD: May, 1631
Appearance(s): Grantville Gazette VII,
Grantville Gazette VIII,
Grantville Gazette XVI,
Grantville Gazette XXXIII
Nationality: United States of Europe (formerly United States)
Occupation: Philosopher
Spouse: Bina Rae Shaver (divorced)
Children: Merle Shaver (deceased)
Relatives: Jason Shaver
Created by: Terry Howard

James Richard "Jimmy Dick" Shaver, was a Vietnam War veteran and Grantville resident. He'd been exposed to Agent Orange during the war and didn't reveal his affliction to anyone. Consequently, his daughter Merle was born with brittle bones due to inheriting her father's affliction. This caused the break-up of Shaver's marriage; his wife Bina Rae divorced him and took their daughter with her. Although Shaver was granted visitation, Bina fought this. Already a heavy drinker, Shaver became a regular patron of Club 250 after the Ring of Fire. Shaver was also among the minority who refused to learn the German language.

Shaver's nickname, "Jimmy Dick" was both a diminutive of his first two names, and reflected the belief of many Grantvillians that Shaver was a jerk. Ironically, in the period after the Ring of Fire, Shaver came to be seen as Grantville's foremost philosopher.

Grantville's Greatest Philosopher?Edit

Dick's status as philosopher caught the attention of Wilhelm Krieger, one of Germany's greatest intellectuals, who traveled to Grantville to meet and challenge Dick during a dinner date at Grantville Fine Foods. Dick agreed to meet Krieger, hoping to make a laughing stock out of him.

He was joined by Joseph "Old Joe" Jenkins, a skilled linguist, and math teacher Emmanuel Onofrio, who had attempted to stop the meeting as he feared Krieger would judge the entirety of Grantville based on Dick. Onofrio relented when he learned that Dick wanted him present for the meeting.

During the dinner, the multilingual conversation was generally affable between the men, until Krieger began questioning Dick in earnest. Krieger asked Dick if he believed war was mankind's greatest glory or its greatest shame? Dick answered that war was neither: war was a great adventure "but, an adventure is someone else havin' a hard time of it somewhere else. War is glorious when you win with an acceptable casualty rate. But no casualty rate is acceptable to the casualty. And since someone always loses, war is glorious less than half the time." Dick listed several other horrible consequences of war, including the Holocaust, and other atrocities committed under the regimes of Pol Pot, Saddam Hussein, and Joseph Stalin. When Krieger asked if this was man's greatest shame, Dick answered that it is not and that mankind's greatest shame "is an uncherished child. A man's greatest glory is to love his wife and raise his children well."

Dick certainly had his life in mind. Krieger, who didn't know the basis of Dick's answer, met his answer totally unsatisfactory with contempt, and, believing he'd been played for a fool, left in a huff. Dick and his friends didn't care and laughed it off while continuing their dinner. Dick was recognized by Onofrio as Grantville's greatest philosopher.

Not a Princess BrideEdit

Jimmy Dick was buying tobacco when he was approached by a German man who wanted advice about his daughter, who was planning to marry a boy her parents didn't approve of.

Dick told the man about the Jones family of Grantville, a prominent rich family whose most beautiful daughter was forbidden to marry any of the West Virginian locals. One day, an industrialist named Dupont (who was not related to the famous Dupont family, but the locals assumed him to be) came to Grantville with a Frenchman, who couldn't speak any English, on a bear hunt. One bear was known to live on the Jones's land. The hunters met the Joneses to gain permission to hunt the bear. Mrs. Jones saw this as a chance to wed her daughter to one these two prominent men. The Jones brought the hunters to a bear cave, and Mrs. Jones tossed her daughter's hat at the mouth of the cave. The man brought it back would be deemed worthy of marrying their daughter. The Frenchman took the challenge and brought the hat back, but threw the hat back into a gulch and said "It's your hat, if you want it get it yourself."

After finishing the story, Dick admitted he didn't fully understand the moral of the story and advised the troubled man to invite the boy to their home to see if he was bad as he and his wife had believed. Either their daughter would be convinced not to marry him, or her parents might see something good in the boy. A month later, Dick met the man again and learned that he and his wife took Dick's advice and saw how good the boy was and were now pleased by the idea of their daughter marrying him. To their great disappointment, their daughter "will not give him the time of day."

Anna the BaptistEdit

In February 1635, Jimmy Dick became involved in defending German Anabaptists, who practiced their religion behind the Club 250, from being run out of Grantville by the other Christian denominations. Jimmy regarded the Anabaptists, outcasts even from their church, as not so different from the undesirable patrons of Club 250. Jimmy made a long speech about religious freedom. Concurrently, Emperor Gustavus Adolphus declared religious freedom in the United States of Europe. Three months later, the Magdeburg Freedom Arches propaganda broadsides praising the patrons of Club 250 for defending the Anabaptists and freedom of religion turned up in Grantville, drawing large crowds to the club, leaving Jimmy to anxiously wonder just how long he would have to do his drinking at home.

Also, Jimmy organized an armed escort to stand guard over the new church when the local Lutherans started getting nasty in spite of the Anabaptists having the local count's permission to practice their religion.

E. Coli: A Tale of RedemptionEdit

Dick's daughter finally passed away from her illness, plunging Dick into a deep depression. He did not attend his daughter's funeral even after his ex-wife had personally insisted that he come. Surprisingly, the people that Jimmy unexpectedly befriended tried to encourage him to attend the funeral. He slumped into a drinking binge, and even his ex-wife couldn't bring him out.

Afterward, Jimmy visited Joe Jenkins and asked Joe to teach him Latin as Jimmy had been receiving fan mail from throughout Europe, many of which were written in Latin. Instead, Jenkins advised him to seek Emmanuel Onofrio as his Latin teacher.

Jimmy also re-evaluated his life and began working on letting the past go.

The Baptist Basement Bar and GrillEdit

When the Club 250 loss business interests and was forced to be close down, Jimmy Dick was horrified and quick into in which he then decided to create his own tavern: The Baptist Basement Bar and Grill in the basement of the Grantville Anabaptist Church - a establishment that serves both as a church and a tavern. Nonetheless, this was initially met with mixed reactions from the Anabaptist Church. Although, the members of the Grantville Anabaptist Church ultimately permitted in having their place of worship to coexist with the tavern in owing to Jimmy Dick's generosity for previously recognizing their plight, as long its activities stay in the sub level basement and doesn't interfere with the Anabaptists' religious teachings.

Fire and BrimstoneEdit

The Baptist Basement Bar and Grill faced opposition from Baptist Deacon Albert Underwood, who was offended by having the word "Baptist" included in the tavern's name, and claimed it misled people to believe that Baptists drink, when, in his view, real Baptists did not. Underwood complained to Jimmy Dick about this, but Dick laughed it off and told Underwood to see a lawyer, which infuriated Underwood. A short time later, the church over The Baptist Basement Bar and Grill was burned to the ground. Police officer Lyndon Johnson investigated the fire and pointed to it having been the result of arson. Dick noted that, while he had insurance on the contents of his establishment, but the congregation did not have any insurance at all. Johnson questioned Jimmy about anyone who had a grudge against him, which prompted a list ranging from people who refused to drink in a church, to the 250 Club regulars who were prejudiced against "krauts" being allowed in Jimmy's establishment. The suspects who possibly had the most against him were his disgruntled cousin Jason and Deacon Underwood.

Eventually, Deacon Underwood was strongly suspected of being responsible for the arson due to his protests against Jimmy's establishment. While there wasn't evidence to prosecute Underwood, Lyndon Johnson exploited the suspicion to get Underwood to raise money to rebuild the Anabaptist Church or else be charged with religious discrimination. However, it was later learned that Underwood was innocent, and had been selling diesel fuel out of town to make up for his lost pension. It was then revealed that the arson had been committed by one of Underwood's buyers, a Frenchman from the Society of the Sacred Heart who saw the Anabaptist Church as a affront to Christianity, therefore the Baptist Basement Bar and Grill was merely caught in the middle of the zealot's destruction.

Thereafter, the Baptist Basement Bar and Grill was reopened by not Jimmy, but by the Anabaptist congregation, who changed its name to "The Anabaptist Bar and Grill" to placate Deacon Underwood.