TEXAS RHAPSODY: Memories of a Native Son by Bill Porterfield

TEXAS RHAPSODY: Memories of a Native Son

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KIRKUS REVIEW

About 50 very short pieces, autobiographical or anecdotally reportorial, most of which originally appeared as columns in the Dallas Times-Herald. Few of these stories have the eccentric snap of the ones in Porterfield's A Loose Herd of Texans; and he flavors his dry, spare, good-ol'-boy narration with sentiment rather than Larry L. King-style humor. But there are a good number of small-scale engagements here. Memories: of Daddy Porterfield's roughneck work in the oil fields; of midget-short Uncle Eddie, who taught fairly short Bill how to take advantage of smallness; of ""Uncle Charlie,"" an elderly family friend who made anonymous phone calls to Bill's mother (singing ""My Wild Irish Rose""); of fat childhood chum Chester Garrison, who bought up all the Cracker Jacks in town. A charming interview with the 225-pound woman who's been married for 57 years to blues singer Mance Lipscomb. A poignant sketch of Mrs. Bailey, who outlived both her retarded son Ansel and the young neighbor who had promised to take care of Artsci after Mrs. Bailey passed on: ""None of my men held up very well, did they? But I don't care. They were wonderful, each in his own way."" Plus: Don Guillermo, a slick local ballroom dancer who looked middle-aged at most and turned out to be 80-ish; Carrie Primm, the ""Honey Lady,"" who got fed up with trying to run her roadside stand on the honor system; and early glimpses of such future celebrities as radio reporter Dan Rather, drinking pal Preston Jones, and encyclopedia salesman Willie Nelson. Porterfield is at his weakest when earnestly keeping up with the times (""Now I know that the women of my dreams had nothing to do with real women. Now I know that the genesis of the very names, Man and Woman, is rooted in male ego and chauvinism""). And few of these episodes are developed enough to gather up much steam. But mostly this is plain and straight and fairly atmospheric: easy-sipping casual reading for down-home fans and countrified city slickers.

Pub Date: Sept. 8th, 1981
Publisher: Holt, Rinehart & Winston