Monday, June 08, 2009
Sunday, June 07, 2009
One of my favourite authors is (was, actually) a guy named H. Allen Smith. This particular Smith was born in Illinois, grew up there and in Ohio, and became a youthful newspaperman in Indiana. He became well-known when he published a book of personal anecdotes called Low Man on a Totem Pole. It was published in 1941, before I was born.
I first heard of Smith when I lived in Texas. Smith had moved from New York to Texas some six years before I did, and wound up in the western climes of that great state. I lived near Austin, and became a habitue of the many used book stores in and around the University of Texas where I found Smith's books in the special editions that were published during WWII.
Smith participated in the first ever Chili cookoff, held in Terlingua, Texas in October of 1967. He was a fanatic in the manufacture of Chili, the National Dish of Texas, and wrote some strong words on the subject. I have to tell you that I have some differences with Mr. Smith in regards to the proper preparation of Chili, but I'm not alone in that regard. And I don't let our culinary differences interfere with my appreciation for the way he had with the written language.
If you, my gentle reader, have a sense of humor and want to laugh yourself silly, visit your local used book store and search out the work of Mr. H. Allen Smith. In his time he was known as 'the Screwball's Boswell' for his ability to turn an interview into a hilareous newspaper column. He was known to write up curious encounters as short articles, store them in a cheesebox until he had enough for a book, and then craft them into a work of art. I commend Smith and his books to your attention.