Thursday, August 30, 2007


My final book for the Southern Reading Challenge is The Old Man and The Boy by Robert Ruark. The book is a series of tales of the author’s youth in North Carolina, spent fishing and hunting with his beloved grandfather and a series of hunting dogs and local characters. As the author says: "Anybody who reads this books is bound to realize that I had a real fine time as a boy."

The Old Man is a conservationist before his time, who insists that they always leave their campground clean and trash free, and never kill more beasties than they can eat. He also teaches the boy respect for all living things, from the fish, birds and deer, to the poor folk, both black and white, in their community.

"Hunting," the Old Man said . . ."is the noblest sport yet devised by the hand of man. . . . If you hunt to eat, or hunt for sport for something fine, something that will make you proud, and make you remember every single detail of the day you found him and shot him, that is good too. But if there’s one thing I despise it’s a killer, some blood-crazy idiot that just goes around bam-bamming at everything he sees. A man who takes pleasure in death just for death’s sake is rotten somewhere inside, and you’ll find him doing things later in life that prove it."

Ruark also offers up vivid memories of the food they enjoyed . . . of cooking up a meal on an open fire, and enjoying good food after a hard day.

"You just started the coffee in the tin percolator and got the butter out of the food safe and sliced off a few rounds of bread and dug up the marmalade or the jelly. We had an iron grill that we slid into the fireplace as soon as she began to coal down into nice rosy embers, and it didn’t take a minute to lay the halves of yesterday’s bluefish or sea trout onto the grill. About the time the fish started to crumble and fall down through the grill I’d stick a skillet full of scrambled eggs over the fire, and in about two shakes dinner was served."

The book takes place in a different time, (post World War I) and is a nice reminder of a simpler time, and the wonderful lessons to be learned from someone with the patience to teach, and to pass along a life time of wisdom.

3 Comments:

Blogger sage said...

I'm glad you enjoyed it Diane. It's a wonderful book that I first read in Jr. High and then again a few years ago.

Being reminded of his take on conservation has gotten me thinking of what another author, the book I hope to finish and post on by tomorrow for my last SRC book, has to say about the subject in the years 1865-1920 in the South. He told about some real slaughters of animals. Maybe Raurk is just enough after this time to realize how sensles sit was.

11:25 AM  
Blogger SFP said...

I've not read this one, but my favorite aunt loaned it to my son several years ago and as far as I know, he enjoyed it.

11:17 AM  
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6:37 PM  

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