Brian’s Column: Boyhood Visits to the Farm in Iowa

Reminiscences in response to Cousin Jim for his journey thru Kansas


Bro Forrest (R) and Me (L) with Tuton (Twoton)

[In the 1950s and 1960s my brother Forrest and I would go with Mom and Dad to my grandmother’s farm in Iowa. Cousin Jim and his wife are on a cross-country roadtrip heading ultimately down to New Orleans to visit his daughter. He has been trying to locate Gram’s step children, and now seems to have located them in Western Kansas. So he asks for memories and photos of the time, which I feel sans any real identifications, are appropriate for me to share out as a broader good will gesture to the rest of the human family.]


Those were golden years in my childhood… except for the time that you and Forrest ganged up on me, when Aunt Donna slapped me for being sassy, and feeling totally out of it when the men would retire to the parlor after the big meal and talk in ‘man code.’ [It sounded like they were discussing very important matters, especially Grandpa Al. He seemed to lead the discussion, and had a way of sounding authoritative, though I’d have no idea what he was talking about. I expect my dad and Uncle Ted and the other younger men didn’t know what he was talking about either, but respectfully kept their end of it up.] Continue reading

Book Review: Dewey (2008)

The small-town library cat who touched the world
Vicki Myron

DeweyTime for some ‘sloppy sentimentality,’ a story I had not been aware of… but in the latter part of the 20th century came to be a symbol of hope for humanity worldwide. “Dewey Readmore Books,” showed up one minus-15° January 1988 morning in the book deposit box of the public library of the small town of Spencer, Iowa. The author discovered the kitten, just a few weeks old barely clinging to life under the returns. [The narrative of how the staff managed to save the poor cat’s life is a thoroughly amazing achievement in itself, putting flesh and blood (or fur and blood) into the observation that where there’s life there’s hope. Honestly, it borders on the miraculous.] Continue reading