When I was asked to read and give a review of Tommy Lawrence’s book
Delta Days, I quickly agreed and wondered what he was up to. I had not
seen Tommy in twenty-five years and he really didn’t know if I was still
reading Dr. Seuss or the complete works of John Calvin, but I had agreed
and was looking forward to it.
The first story, A Christmas Tale, reminded me of Truman Capote’s
Thanksgiving Visitor. I felt like I was seeing Christmas through the eyes
of a small boy. The fold-out bell decorations, the Christmas Eve supper,
and finally, the child put to bed feeling warm, safe, and loved was a
wonderful Christmas story. I was left wanting to know how Christmas Day
turned out for the child. Great!!!
Lights on the Levee was next and again, the reader was seeing the duck
hunt through the eyes of a child. I could see Tommy and his grandfather,
layered up against the cold, excited and waiting for the ducks to come in.
The grandfather’s prediction of what the piping of gas across the river
would mean certainly came true. Progress to many would mean doom to a
certain way of life.
In the story, Hello, Colonel Lee, the writer takes you to the Delta
Debutant Dances, an event very important to girls at that time. Instead of
punch and the pageantry usually associated with debutants, he tells of
scoring a car, his first bottle of Colonel Lee, and setting out to meet some
babes. This first brush with society sets him up for an immediate liking for
all of the above.
The rest of the stories are about the life of a teenage boy in a small
southern town. He is in pursuit of the basics in life, bicycles, best friends,
baseball and babes with boobs, in reverse order. Most males of that era can
identify with these stories and will enjoy the trip down memory lane.
While I could have lived the rest of my life without the graphic images he
wrote about in Bobbie Jean’s Boobs, the story is funny and will be
enjoyed by a select group of readers.
Overall, Delta Days is an accurate and enjoyable account of life in the
Mississippi delta during the nineteen fifties. I remembered the hot days,
nights cooled by the attic fan, the smell of gardenias and pesticides and
many other memories that are brought back by Tommy Lawrence in his
book. Tommy is a gifted writer with a good memory. A wicked