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Reflections in the Silver Cup

TO DRINK FROM THE SILVER CUP

BOOK REVIEW

A NATURE WRITER ON TRANSFORMATION



Daddy Long Legs: The Natural Education of a Father by John T. Price. Boston & London: Shambala Publications, 2013. $14.95

I’d heard a lot about John Price before I met him because he was the much admired mentor of my friend and colleague, Jody Keisner, so I made a point of meeting him two years ago when he was a presenter at the Festival of Faith and Writing at Calvin College. Our meeting was brief but warm, and I was moved by the beauty and sensitivity of the passages he read and how he talked about nature writing afterwards. Nature writing is Price’s primary oeuvre, but in Daddy Long Legs, he weaves nature and family together in a memoir that is funny, tender, candid, and profound.

The prairies and loess hills of Iowa, where John grew up constitute his particular place. He planned to leave this place until he fell in love with it as he drove across the state one summer during graduate school. It was then he decided he wanted to stay and make a difference by Read More 
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TO DRINK FROM THE SILVER CUP

BOOK TOUR JOURNAL 3
A MISER BECOMES A BENEFACTOR



I think my brother Rick would admit that he was a funny little boy, whom we called Dickie then. In fact, in a workshop I recently led about Adult Third Culture Kids (ATCKs), he described himself as a misfit. Feeling at odds in almost any culture, yet able to quickly adapt to new ones, is a common characteristic among ATCKs. But some of Rick’s quirks were probably just part of who he was. There was one idiosyncrasy that all of his siblings were aware of and sometimes teased him about. We called him a miser. When we walked down to the trading post on Saturdays to spend our nickels on a Big Hunk or a Hershey candy bar, Rick would come along, but he would just stand by, looking into the glass case, his nickel safe at home in his red baking powder can. Rick hoarded money. Not towards some big goal, just—why? To Read More 
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TO DRINK FROM THE SILVER CUP

HOW ABOUT THOSE BLURBS?



How often do you stand in a bookstore, holding a book whose title grabbed you? You read the description on the back cover, the thumbnail bio of the author, and you’re not quite sure if this is the one you’re going to spend your money on. Or, more likely today, you’re perusing the cover on Indie Bound or Amazon. Then you start to read the blurbs. There might be a short eye-catcher on the front cover, two or three on the back, then a few pages right up front inside. I sometimes read all of them if I’m undecided, or I skim them, looking for endorsers whose names I recognize and respect.

Those blurbs can become a book’s first Read More 
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TO DRINK FROM THE SILVER CUP

BOOK TOUR JOURNAL 2

GOODBYE TO THIS OLD HOUSE



This morning I finished reading John T. Price’s memoir, Daddy Long Legs: The Natural Education of a Father. In the epilogue, he quotes Willa Cather, “a house ‘can never be beautiful until it has been lived in for a long time.... The beauty lies in the associations that cluster around it, the way in which the house has fitted itself to the people.’” That was when tears came for the first time during this move, and I began to grieve my parting with the house that I have lived in for fifteen years, the longest I have lived in any house. I looked around at the bare walls, dismantled furniture, and cried a bit. I’d thought that might happen when Cheyenne was here, but we were too busy to feel much besides the enjoyment of each other’s company.

This little yellow box of a house has been good to me, and I have been good to it. I have, at different times, had dreams for it—going Read More 
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