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Down the Road

A whole bunch of literary yesteryears
By Milton M. Gross
Aug 17, 2014 - 12:20:01 AM

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Guys, if you're open to some real adventure, encourage your spouse to go to the recycling center by herself.

Mine did, the other day, and came back with 13 volumes dating from 1848 until I'm not sure when. I'll probably read all of them except the 1848 copy of Vanity Fair, which is in too tender a condition for actual reading. The print is very fine and the book cover in precarious condition.

These old books are a great reminder of yesteryear, in particular, yesteryear's tales. Milt Gross photo.

From glancing at the titles, the one I'll probably read first is Hound-dog Man by Fred Gipson. Part of the book cover states, "...we take part in a classic coon hunt with the famous hound-dog man, Blackie Scantling, the hero of every man and boy with a touch of wanderlust -- the despair of mothers and daughters and other more practical citizens."

I don't know Fred Gipson, but what drew me to it is the title, similar to John Gould's the Fastest Hound Dog in the State of Maine, which takes place not in the same general area as Gipson's book but in Texas.

(My memories of Texas include only my stint the the Air Force's basic training program. I remember the mud, at other times the dried out earth with huge cracks, the Jersey cows I viewed from a bus window, and the pathetic horses on which they took us on a trail ride. Oh yes, there were those screaming sergeants, but then I suspect that if I were making a career out of intimidating Air Force recruits in Texas, I'd scream too.)

The late Gould was born in 1908 and passed away in 2003, and during the latter part of his life he helped me with advice for a couple of news feature stories I wrote. He invited me to visit him, but, unfortunately for me, I never did.

I'm kind of impatient to learn about Hound-dog Man's adventures.

Thanks, Dolores, for making that recycling-center run.

Another I'm looking forward to is Phil Stong's Blizzard, which takes place in Iowa, not Maine. I've seen my share of snowstorms and blizzards in Maine, so I want to read this one.

A third one is A Woman's Eye, edited by Sara Paretsky, whose books don't catch my reading eye, but the title on this one did. One story deals with a homeless woman and other women with a range of problems. I also noticed a tale by Sue Grafton, one of my favorite murder-mystery writers.

I counted 21 stories in this collection, some of which should be intriguing enough to keep me from glancing at the TV ads while I read.

I usually don't find 13 books all at once, so I'm glad Dolores made this trip to that book haven otherwise known as the recycling center. I don't know if I'll ask her to go again next time we have collected enough paper and cardboard, or wait until I've read all these.

However this all turns out, I would heartily recommend to you guys out there that you get your wife or sweetheart to make your next recycling trip.

If you're as lucky as I was this time, you'll have more time to read and perhaps a good group of literary pickings.

Milt Gross can be reached for corrections, harassment, or other purposes at

Milton M. Gross Copyright 2014

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