Philip Gulley, Front Porch Tales (HarperSanFrancisco, 2001)
This is a delightful book. I heard about Philip Gulley from Tom Mullen, who was a speaker at a Writers Conference I attended last month. Mullen is a retired English professor and a Quaker. I laughed so hard at Mullen’s presentation that I decided I had to read Gulley and I’m glad I did. I’d never known any Quaker humorous beforehand. I always through they cherished quietness and that laughing would be a sin or something. The only Quaker joke I’ve known was Richard Nixon (he was supposedly a Quaker). I suppose the Quaker Oats guy is pretty funny looking, and he has low cholesterol to boot. Anyway, Philip Gulley is a Quaker pastor who has written a bunch of books about a town called Harmony. Front Porch Tales is his first book. All the tales are short pieces, three to four pages, about life with a few zingers thrown in and some good advice added.
Here’s a few of his zingers:
Psychiatrists called that "enabling denial," but back when… we called it compassion.
On old people smiling at kids in a restaurant: "Now I know why they’re smiling, their kids are grown up."
On dealing with a screaming kid on vacation: "After that, we didn’t hear a peep from him, ear plugs have that effect."
"The moment you tell someone else how to raise their kids, the odds increase that your own children will end up on America’s Most Wanted."
"…the only parent we feel superior to is Ma Barker."
First children have a wardrobe that would put Elizabeth Taylor to shame, second children take after Jed Clampett.
We looked forward to being parents. That’s because no one told us about birthday parties.
I’d never worked on toilets before which is what people say when they’re too cheap to call a plumber."
On boys learning about girls: "Then it became time for us to date, and we had to be sensitive, which meant not laughing out loud at Barry Manilow songs."
Having a cat that would come when called, but only if you’re also using a can opener.
On spoiling those who are sick: "Think about it, when was the last time you saw a child with polio getting spanked?"
I like to think of my yard as a melting pot. Everything is welcomed.
Parting Shots: Am I the only one in this country who hasn’t watched an episode of American Idol? More people voted for that prematurely gray-haired guy from Alabama than for the President? What’s wrong with this picture?
What kind of penalty Lay and Skilling will get for their convictions? Too bad they won't be made to pay back what everyone else lost.
Church league softball starts next week. Tonight was my first chance to practice this year—I’ll probably pay for it tomorrow.