Nature verses the local grocery...

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


The book is here! Along The Back Roads of Yesterday by Oris George is now available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble, and on Oris' website.

Oris George, has a love affair with words . His writing began early in life, his talent innate, and his stories - unforgettable, as you will quickly learn inside the pages of Along The Back Roads of Yesterday.

Yesterday...means different things to us all. To Oris, yesterday is about his youth on a farm in Colorado where chores were unending, food came from scratch, and Love was - well - just part of everyday living. Life unfolded to Oris through daily (sometimes hourly) lessons, and were sometimes garnered from his buddy Henry, his mule, Red, Homer the goat (who had a passion for keeping Oris' little brother in the outhouse), and so many other people and experiences in his youth.

One of my favorite stories in this unforgettable book is called, A Perfect Understanding. Oris weaves a touching memory about Bert, whom the town judges as a useless, dirty, aging person of little value, an out of control Palomino mule, his summer-long interactions with Bert as Bert trains this apparently useless animal, and the inevitable life-lesson learned.

"Mom was convinced Bert owned only one pair of bib overalls, and she knew that they had never seen the inside of a washing machine. Tobacco juice stained his thick, greying beard. A greasy baseball cap crowned a head of long, wild, unruly grey hair. He lived down under the hill behind the feed store on a straggly little 2 acre farm surrounded on all four sides by cottonwood trees and tall brush. The small dilapidated barn and the one-room cabin reminded me of Snuffy Smith's place in the Sunday funny papers."

"Fall passed and winter came again. Bert worked with his mule several hours a day. On Saturdays, I begged Mom to let me go to town with her and Dad so I could visit Bert. She didn't think I should spend so much time with Bert. She'd say, 'He doesn't bathe, shave or change clothes and isn't the right example for a growing boy.' "

" 'Aah, Mom,' I'd say. Bert was fun to be around, and he treated me like a man-full-grown."

By Rodeo Day in September, the real Bert - and his Dunfee Mule - overcame seemingly insurmountable odds.

"The loudspeaker crackled and the announcer said, 'Our own Albert Montague, formerly of Warren, Tennessee, has agreed to give us a demonstration ride on Stella, his gaited mule.' "

"Bert rode to the front of the grandstand, tipped his derby to the crowd, and Stella bowed. Turning Stella to the left, they moved out at a foxtrot. The crowd was silent. Halfway around the arena, Stella changed to another gait. The crowd went wild! Whistling and shouting, the spectators poured out of the bleachers like a giant wave and surrounded Bert and Stella. Hands were extended to Bert.

A new Bert, and Stella - no longer the Dunfee mule, exited the arena that day in 1945."

Titles like A Man Full-Grown and His Donkey, A Volcano on the River, Sounds Like a Plan (one of Oris' favorite sayings!), Little Man and a Naked Impression fill the pages of Along The Back Roads of Yesterday.

The war years of the 1940's held different values, different finances, different feelings. Oris immediately brings you back to those times through his stories, takes you back to those years when life really was simpler, sometimes harsher, but always real; living close to the land, steeped in family ties and hard work, Oris' yesterdays will live forever in your heart.

Only $9.32 from Barnes and Noble, this book is a must-read for your bedside table. Treat yourself to your personal copy of Along The Back Roads of

As always, Nature prevails.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Boot trails: shades of yesterday

It’s never too late to write a book; Bud Scranton from Prowers County, Colorado, has grandchildren. He will host his first book-signing tomorrow for Boot Tracks, There and Back, Thursday, January 13th, at the Senior Center in Lamar, from 10 am to 12 noon.

The first title for Bud’s book was Letters to my Grandchildren, which is the main reason he wrote the book – to insure that his grandchildren knew how different life was in the ‘30’s. “Life did a flip-flop after the war,” Bud said. "Life changed! I wanted my grandchildren to know that.” Bud went on to explain that the final title, Boot Tracks, There and Back, “…just fit! There were boots…and the tracks…all along the way. Well, it just fit.”

“It brought back the good memories, but I had to also relive some of the tragedies”, Bud said, as we chatted about his book. He said the hardest part was keeping the chapters “…short, simple and to the point.”

I asked Bud if he had any advice for other, promising authors. He hit the three high points that every writer needs to follow on their road to successful publication;

1. Keep it simple!

2. Write what inspires you, write from your heart.

3. Write the chapters out first, then go back, later, and edit.

Lola Shrimplin quoted Scranton in the Lamar Ledger last week, "This is brand new ground for me. I`ve never sold a book before. I`ve sold a lot of things."

Jan Verhoeff writes on one of her websites, , “Scranton’s dedication to life in southeastern Colorado, his family and neighbors is evident in his book. Weather darkened skin, wrinkled by the sun surrounds clear blue eyes when he speaks to you directly, sharing his memories of life on the prairies of Colorado.” On her Lamar website,, Verhoeff says, “Scranton, a survivor of the ’30′s dust bowl days, details his efforts to bring sheep to Colorado. Walking a path of determination he wore the soles off many a pair of boots to make it there and back, again and again.”

As I listened to Bud tonight, I heard a Love of life, an energy that evades many people half his age. I heard strength and pride as well as humility and kindness.

This book belongs on our bedside tables, a reminder to all of us that life is precious, short and so very much what we make of it. We get out what we put in; we are remembered for what we leave behind. Bud Scranton’s written act of Love for his grandchildren will endure forever – both in print, and in the hearts of his loved ones.

Boot Tracks, There and Back, is available...tomorrow at the senior center, at the bookstore in Lamar on main street by the train station, as well as at Amazon , and at Barnes and Nobles.

As always, Nature prevails.