Traditional values abound in these hilarious stories from Appalachia: friendship, family, orderliness, humor, and delight in an especially inventive practical joke. In "Rainy Weather", a hound dog with more heart than sense wins everyone's admiration. "Uncle Frank Learns to Speak Polish" finds Davis' famous Uncle Frank making the most of a little foreign language. And, in "Uncle Frank Clean Up the Post Office", cleanliness is next to godliness, and it's also next to hilarity.
Donald Davis was born into a southern Appalachian mountain world rich in stories. He grew up listening to his father and his Uncle Frank tell stories of their boyhood, all the while taking in the details of his own childhood experience.
"Outstanding stories. Outstanding Narrator"
"Years later," Donald Davis remember of his childhood," I came to realize that when you come from a long-dammed-up Scots-Irish gene pool it is an okay thing to wish for something, but it is not an OK thing to get it."
If you've ever been in the car while a loved one was learning to drive, then think of this as cheap therapy! Learning to drive has occasioned emotions ranging from reasonable caution to unbridled terror. Learning under the watchful eye of one's spouse is an added challenge. Undertaking the task with anxious children in the backseat can only heighten the sensory richness of the moment.
"So Funny!!! 😂"
In the hills of Appalachia, humor and wisdom are mixed up forever in funny, wise stories that seem to grow more lustrous with each telling. Here are two of the best: "Uncle Frank Invents the Electron Microphone", Appalachian folk wisdom rolled into one of Davis' funniest stories; "Uncle Frank and the Crown Feed Boys", Davis' legendary Uncle Frank teaches a couple of traveling salesmen the lesson of their lives.
We all know someone like them: women whose lives revolve around their cats. Here Donald Davis paints verbal portraits of two very different women in his life who shared a fiercely unshakable sense of priorities. It was simply understood that the cats came first, and once you accepted that, everything else made perfect sense. Employing his trademark Carolina drawl, droll wit, and sharp observations, Davis is in top form here as he pays homage to these two remarkable women and their devotion to their feline families.
There was a time during Donald Davis's college freshman year when he wasn't really sure if he wanted to claim his hometown of Sulpher Springs, North Carolina. But a boy by the name of Stanley Easter changed his mind. "The year after that," he recalls, "I did go home from college for Thanksgiving. In fact, I had now become so proud of where I was from that I could hardly wait to get home. I no longer had to lie about where I was from. The world of childhood was quickly becoming a dear place to visit."
Broken Bones is a double set of double stories. The first set is made up of a story Davis's grandmother told about the time his mother broke her arm - twice! The second story in the first set is about how his little brother's collarbone was broken - twice! The second set of stories concerns Davis' neighbors, the Leatherwoods, and explains what happens when two big brothers team up against two little brothers. It also tells us that fathers are always smarter than their sons!
When the Southern Bells brought the telephone to rural North Carolina, it looked like a "big black daffodil". What the telephone company had not counted on in conceiving its eight-party line service was a pair of "past-middle-age, unmarried sisters", the chatty Misses Lucy and Lena Leatherwood. Once the Leatherwood sisters were connected by the Southern Bells, nobody else on that line had a chance!
If you have never ridden a mule along a 48-inch wide trail whose ledge drops off, in places, 700 feet to the Colorado River, straight down, you may have difficulty picturing the temporary insanity that leads otherwise responsible adults to sign away the remainder of their natural life expectancy just for the chance to see the Grand Canyon's natural beauty close-up.
"Story great as the Canyon is Grand!"
In rural North Carolina, in 1951, despite parental reassurances, a typhoid shot hurt. It hurt even more when the children saw who would be administering the shot: Miss Winnie, a large, dictatorial nurse who had been "especially built by the nursing school so she would never blow away in a hard wind".
"Donald Davis is always a super entertainer."
Grandma's house was a magical place, and in this vivid memoir, Donald Davis makes it possible for each of us to go back to our own grandma's kitchen, clutter room, living room, and to that immeasurable bed that seemed to swallow us whole. This selection also contains a traditional story Davis learned from his grandmother, one handed down through his family from generations who once lived in Scotland before coming to the Appalachian mountains, about the time that fortune-seeker named Jack made the king mad.
An eccentric schoolteacher and a widow-lady babysitter are the heroines in these new digital studio recordings of Donald Davis' two all-time most-requested stories. "It was the 42nd year she had taught fourth grade", yet there was nothing routine about Miss Daisy or her methods. Rather than settle for textbook work (Miss Daisy left textbooks in the big closet) she took her class on a year-long imaginary world tour.
"This is how I wish my teacher would have been."
Joe Davis was in his mid-40s when he became a father, and the experience he was able to apply in raising his sons lent creativity to his parenting. The five stories here recall the wisdom of fathers with humor and rich detail: a visit to the Smithsonian inspires father's memory; father "cures" a boy's impulse to try cigarettes; Santa Claus learns an important lesson; and someone plays a trick on a visiting preacher.
Growing up in North Carolina, Donald Davis heard stories that came to America through Scots-Irish immigrants about a fellow named Jack who was so real that young Davis thought he was a distant relative or otherside-of-the-mountain neighbor. Now Davis knows that Jack is a universal legendary figure who, by various names, is found in nearly every culture.
Screen Drive-In Theater hired a young Donald Davis to work his high school summers there. Employment at the Sulpher Springs Big-Screen Drive-In Theater consisted of working the concession stand, catching "slip-ins", and patrolling the back row to learn about love and life. The theater survives Davis and his friends' summer hijinks until Labor Day.
Four Jack Tales from the Appalachian oral tradition, recorded by a nationally accalimed storyteller. In this collection, Jack has a little trouble adjusting to the workaday world and to personal financial management. Eventually he works hard enough, but his fortunes do not seem to parallel his productivity. Jack finally has to go a bit out of his way to prove himself, meanwhile dealing with a prospective father-in-law who plays hard to get.
"You do know Jack!"
Old Man Hawkins was a larger-than-life character among deer hunters, or, more precisely, among tellers and hearers of tall tales. His self-proclaimed method of hunting deer by holding a mirror in one hand and his rifle in the other, pointing backward over a shoulder, was, he said, "to be fair to the deer". It was a story, Davis tells us, that would occupy his father on the drive to Grandma's house.
The best friend of our youth has no replacement, ever. Though we may start out as "two peas in a pod", we often lose touch with one another. In this affecting tale of two adults who reclaim their childhood bond after 30 years apart, the comforts of friendship are affirmed with humor and wit.
We all have our personal phobias and white-knuckle moments. The title story of Irrational Fear tells of Davis's mother's fear of snakes and the way she eventually got even with him for making fun of her. (She always came out on top.) The second story, "The Red Coat", tells why his father and his father's brother-in-law finally stopped playing Christmas tricks on their sisters and wives. Here's another hilarious send-up from one of America's favorite storytellers.