A former world-traveling missionary–turned–small-town family man reflects on the joys and lighthearted foibles of country life in this memoir.
Hawron (Entertaining Detours, 2015) continues his trilogy of homespun chronicles with this second endearing entry in the True Tales series. With evocative detail and a healthy sense of humor, he lingers over the nuances of 20 years of living in a small East Texas town where he and his Danish wife, Annette, cohabitated on a rural farm. There’s certainly no shortage of anecdotes featuring his 12 children; in the opening chapter, he describes how his playful young son Richard frolics on the lawn. Hawron and his wife arrived in the hamlet of New Boston from Hong Kong many years ago and soon settled into a historic 120-year-old country property. The author generously shares the rich history of the Bowie County region, its remarkable landmarks, and the learning curve of their own “pioneer experience.” This included grappling with the house’s persnickety heating system, meandering skunks and possums, fire ants, and mandatory attendance at high school football games. They also learned about catalpa worms, dairy goats, and natural springs along the way. The townsfolk offered odd jobs to Hawron as he got on his feet financially, and he repaid their kindness with genuine, selfless friendship. Hawron’s prose is chatty, uplifting, and pleasantly conversational within a narrative that’s thankfully devoid of anything that anyone could deem offensive. He describes himself as a “car hypochondriac” and a tree lover, and many readers are likely to share these same qualities. At another point, he offers a gorgeous tribute to his loving wife. Overall, these stories are indeed a far cry from the days of exotic international wanderlust that Hawron enjoyed in years past. But his book shows his devotion to the unique peace and security of the bucolic countryside, where he treasures “the priceless gift of being a family, and the blessing of having wonderful friends.”
A richly drawn, affecting portrait of rural life.