A pastor recalls his idyllic youth in America’s heartland.
As Quaker Rev. Gulley (Porch Talk: Stories of Decency, Common Sense, and Other Endangered Species, 2007, etc.) admits, his “is not a careful narrative” of the good old days in a small town down the road a bit from Indianapolis. Danville was evidently a sister village to that depicted in Thornton Wilder’s elegiac Our Town. The Hoosier hamlet also boasted its native “Doc Gibbs.” Corn, cattle and laboratory mice were its chief products. In the style of the late Jean Shepherd, though Gulley is a tad more mannerly, the memoir speaks of bicycles, dogs, an outhouse or two, Halloween mischief, the local funeral parlor and the 4-H Club carnival. His hometown was populated with pals like Suds and Peanuts, relations like Cousin Pooner and sister Chick, assorted citizens like Officer Charley and Orville the grocer. Dad was a gregarious sort and a great bug-spray salesman. Gulley, better known as “Norm and Gloria’s boy,” mowed lawns for Quaker widows, waxed Dad’s car, played pranks, daydreamed about teacher Huddleston and beheld, in awe, the girls of Danville. During those summers past, the latter-day Little Rascals grew into teens with the attendant difficulties of pubescent celibacy. In characteristically candid terms, the author speaks of the lads’ concerns about their “winkies.” He was the bespectacled skinny kid with the big ears, and this regular, everyday boy presents a regular, everyday bucolic confection.
An agreeable text of easygoing humor that reads like it was written down in a spiral-bound notebook.