Billy and Other Tales of Youthful Disaster
by Joel Vance
Joel Vance isn't saying whether Birch Lake really exists, but he talks about a recent high school reunion there as if it really happened. "I had to go, of course. Time to see if the beer still tasted as strange as it did when my cousins and I swiped it from the storeroom behind the bluegill or if the town still smelled like lake water, and the pines and road tar and summer dust."
Joe Vance has far too many spaniels to feed so he keeps busy writing humor books and, now, audio tapes. The last contains two tapes, with four sides and is particularly nice when you're on a trip and the local music runs to nasal noise. How can you not want to hear the tales of someone who has either six or eight or some other immodestly large number of spaniels? Then, of course, there's the six foot black snake that lives in the sauna and sometimes falls from the ceiling to send visiting heat lovers out into the snow. These, like Vance's shotgun skills, are other stories.
The editors reserve comment on tales like: Prom Night, Knuckling Under to Romance or Anatomy Comes to Birch Lake, and what can you say about "the Four-Finger Chicken?"
GRANDMA AND THE BUCK DEER
and Other Tales of Youthful Disaster
Grandma and the Buck Deer takes a humorous look at growing up in small town America in the gentle kind of place that produced the humor of Johnny Carson and Joel Vance. Roles were clear. Men and boys worked, hunted, fished, and told tall tales. Women and girls took care of the home and children and tried to believe tales told.
It may not have been a better time -- memory edits out polio and Selma. It was certainly a more simple time that Joel Vance humorously presents with colorful characters like Uncle Al and odd adventures like "The Day the Durango Kid got whipped by a little girl".
As Joel Vance notes, "Uncle Al? Anyone who hunts or fishes knows an Uncle AL. He's the quintessential grubby old river rat. I keep hoping that if I live long enough, I'll turn into him."
Pat McManus says, "Joel Vance is responsible for major outbreaks of laughter in the great outdoors and should be banned. Why do people keep thinking some of Joel Vance's stories are the funniest things I've ever written? It's very irritating."
Jefferson City, MO 65102