Title: Tailwind: Days of Cottonmouths and Cotton Candy
Author: Lad Moore
Publisher: BeWrite Books
Publisher's Address: 363 Badminton Road, Nibley, Bristol,BS37 5JF
ISBN number: 1-904492-02-9
Publisher phone number and/or website address: www.bewrite.net
Tailwind: Days of Cottonmouths and Cotton Candy
By Lad Moore
Review by Aaron Paul Lazar
Author of the LeGarde Mystery Series
Tailwind shines with vignettes that drip like pearls of dew, one at a time, to be savored as cool water on a parched tongue. Each story, replete with humor and pathos, transports the reader to the world of rural East Texas in the mid-twentieth century. Mr. Moore’s boyhood was filled with toy soldiers, hot tar on bare feet, fireflies, and shenanigans born of times less electronic, less structured, and certainly less affluent than today.
Imagine sitting around a campfire with a storyteller whose history blazes with events so exotic, so traumatic, and yet so rich that they captivate you with greater intensity than the biggest Hollywood blockbuster. Now, envision the author speaking in a comfortable voice, resonant with humility and humor. This is Lad Moore. This is a writer for all mankind, a universal genius.
Mr. Moore writes with a folksy elegance that is unparalleled in this age. Reminiscent of the great American masters, Tailwind should and will be included as a fundamental part of America’s heritage. The ultimate revelation comes when readers discover that Mr. Moore’s tales are true – stemming from a tumultuous and difficult childhood in which he was abandoned by his mother at six months, barely raised by a glamorous, oft-absent father, and shipped off to military school at the age of eight. Betrayed by his father’s second wife, who stole the family fortune, Mr. Moore suffered poverty with his beloved grandmother, but thankfully was taught of deeper riches via her warm affection and exemplary morality.
Tailwind becomes an extension of one’s being. This reader allowed himself a story every few days – stretching the experience as long as possible, relishing each chapter with nostalgic reverence.
Take for example, the following vignettes:
In “Bologna Sandwich Ceasefires,” young Lad entertains himself with sweetgum armies, creating legions of soldiers from twigs, spent bullet casings, and acorn hulls. Using rubber band missiles, he demolishes entire battalions in an afternoon.
“Cannon fire – sweetgum burs collected in a Mrs. Tucker’s lard can – rained down on the standing forces from the hill above them. Shots fell equally, alternating between the armies, with full sound effects coughed out from deep in my throat. After the barrage, casualty count determined the winner and loser. Soldiers that lost their upright stance from the bombardment must be broken in half – not to be recycled. A mass grave awaited them in the storm sewer.”
In “Nitelites,” young Lad imagines he is a railway signalman, waving firefly “lanterns” in the air as trains rush past in the dark night. He confesses of “smudge pot rolling,” as well.
“…rolling smudge pots was worth it. I could suffer a little tennis-shoe cleanup to see the trail of flaming oil spilling out as the pot rolled down the street. On a good hill, and a skillful roll, I could leave a fireline from Hendry’s store all the way to the underpass. Sometimes a few magnolia leaves would catch fire and add to the excitement.”
In “Solomon of Hardesty Farm,” Mr. Moore describes the enduring friendship of young Lad and an elderly black farmhand in times when racial bigotry was common.
“Old Solomon towered over me like a big tree with his little spectacles hanging from his nose like a pine cone, ready to break free and fall….Like a detour barricade, Solomon stood between the grape rows with his hoe, its handle worn slick and stained by the sweat from his hands. He moved in reverse like the fiddler crab zigging in the aisles of dirt.”
In “New Cars of Short Duration,” Mr. Moore describes the pain of having a callous older brother who wrecked their deceased father’s 1956 Buick almost as soon as he claimed it. Describing the incident, Mr. Moore writes, “It had that strange smell of broken windshield glass – an almost sweet odor – like nutmeg and hot plastic.” When young Lad harbored hopes of owning a car for himself, they were dashed. “My dreams collapsed like a severed elevator.”
Tailwind sings with poetic images of life in small-town America. When one turns the last page, a sense of sorrow descends, akin to bidding farewell to a dear friend. Consolation comes only in the knowledge that Mr. Moore’s second book, Odie Dodie, The Life and Crimes of a Travelin’ Preacher Man, is now available for purchase.
Lad Moore may be contacted at: email@example.com. Please place “Tailwind” in the Subject line.
Aaron Paul Lazar resides in Upstate New York with his wife, three daughters, two grandsons, mother-in-law, dog, and four cats. After writing in the early morning hours, he works as an electrophotographic engineer at Kodak, in Rochester, New York. Additional passions include vegetable, fruit, and flower gardening; preparing large family feasts; photographing his family, gardens, and the breathtakingly beautiful Genesee Valley; cross-country skiing across the rolling hills; playing a distinctly amateur level of piano, and spending “time” with the French Impressionists whenever possible. Although he adored raising his three delightful daughters, Mr. Lazar finds grandfathering his “two little buddies” to be one of the finest experiences of his life.
Double Forté is the founding book of the LeGarde Mystery series and was released in January, 2005. Upstaged, the second, was released in October, 2005. His third, Tremelo: Cry of the Loon, will be released via Twilight Times Books under the Paladin Timeless Imprint in fall, 2006. Mr. Lazar is currently working on his tenth book, One Potato, Blue Potato. He is a regular columnist for FMAM (Futures Mystery Anthology Magazine) and The Back Room, A Cozy Retreat for Writers and Readers. Contact him at: http://us.f387.mail.yahoo.com/ym/Compose?To=Aaron.Lazar@yahoo.com or via his website at http://www.legardemysteries.com/