Thursday, December 24, 2009

A Christmas Story from Atlanta's August House Publishers--The Red Scarf by Richard Mason

Norphlet, Arkansas

December, 1944

"Christmas is gonna be here soon, and the way things are a-looking around here, it ain't gonna be much. Momma told me not to expect a lot, and for her to tell me that when it's right after Thanksgiving means I ain't gonna get nothing. Yeah, I do get a little sad when I think about a Christmas without presents, but you know; I don't care that much about Christmas presents. Ahaaa, wait a minute, I'm lying like a dog. Yeah, I do want Christmas presents, but since I ain't gonna get none, I just act like every thing's okay. But hey, you know what? I've got some good friends, and I like living out here on the farm where I can go in the woods and swamp and roam around. Anyhow, I can't think of a dang think I really want. Oh, heck, I'm lying again. There's a whole bunch of stuff I want, but I ain't gonna get nothing. So shoot, if I don't get a dang Christmas present it won't matter a whit to me. Liar!"

From 'The Red Scarf' by Richard Mason

A book friend at our local public school system gave me a copy of this book several weeks ago. As today is Christmas Eve, it seemed like a proper thing to post about.

Author, oilman, and former president of the Arkansas Wildlife Federation, Richard Mason, grew up in rural southern Arkansas. His 2007 debut novel, 'The Red Scarf', recounts Christmas 1944 through the eyes of an eleven-year-old farm boy named, um, Richard.

Young Richard's adventures revolve around his quest to earn money with which to purchase Christmas presents. Specifically, he wants to earn enough money to buy a red scarf for Rosalie, the prettiest girl at school. Richard's various money-making schemes and penchant for trouble lead him to square-off with school bullies, criminals, a skunk, and a wildcat. Oh, weren't those the days?

'The Red Scarf' is reminiscent of the writings of Georgia author Ferrol Sams. The book has some genuinely funny moments, and a nice--Christmassy--twist at the end. Some readers might find the author's folksy, country boy dialogue to be a little contrived. However, if the reader grew up hearing and speaking that same dialogue, it is easy to recognize it a genuine. It might have you "shaking like a leaf". Laughing.

Richard Mason is the CEO of Gibralter Energy. His forthcoming book, 'Love and War in Afghanistan' is due out in the Spring of 2010.


The works of Terry Kay, Philip Lee Williams, and Dr. Ferrol Sams.

Merry Christmas, everybody.