The last thing Jack Hartman should’ve done was leave the beautiful Gulf Coast and move to the Mississippi Delta. Despite his uncle’s warnings that he is being foolish and idealistic, Jack flees the family business and a broken love affair, only to find himself become a beacon of hope for the people of Tallahatchie.
Life in today’s rural South
Contemporary Southern Fiction and dark comedy at its finest, Tallahatchie is a story about a colorful group of rural southerners and Jack’s attempt to save the failing furniture factory where they work. With a cast of characters that become as real as they are quirky, author Rick DeStefanis weaves a tale that is as incredibly hilarious as it is tragic.
YES! I admit it. That was me you heard yelling. I was out there in the yard this morning near dawn with arms outstretched, facing heavenward, and turning in circles in the glorious rainfall. It’s been thirty-something days here in this part of Mississippi without a drop. One gulf hurricane went left, two went right. The only thing hanging over us was that big blue “H” on the weather map. The grass had turned brown and the trees were shedding crinkly dead brown leaves. The only things that hadn’t turned brown were my wife Janet’s artificial ferns. They were just a little dusty.
Me after the rain.
Well, sort of…
And, before, I go further: I really don’t want to hear from you my friends living out west where this drought thing is considered normal. Really. Yes, I know. I am spoilt. We get on average nearly an inch a week—roughly four and a half inches a month down here in Mississippi. We may curse the summer humidity and this our often jungle-rainforest environment, but our grass, our trees, and our critters expect it, and when that doesn’t happen…well, it gets ugly. Even the hummingbirds were doing barrel-rolls this morning.
Hummingbird doing a barrel roll
It began thundering and booming a little after nightfall yesterday evening. It sounded very much like a major artillery barrage, which is why I actually showed good-judgment for once and did not do my “thank you” rain dance last night. But it wasn’t the thunder and lightning that kept me awake last night. No.
It was that slurping sound coming from the grass and trees. Those of which hadn’t already succumbed to this “Death Valley” drought were sounding like a dehydrated camel at a desert oasis.
Even now, I walk in the grass, and it’s not squishy. Rather, it cracks like water-gorged celery beneath my feet. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing, but at least if it isn’t, it’s dying a happy death with its last drink of water. Reckon I’ll go out and check the battery on the lawnmower later.
Oh, and by the way, many of you have asked me if I was ever going to produce any of my novels as audiobooks. The answer was always, that I “might” consider it. Well, I am now moving ahead on an experimental basis to do one. Whether or not I choose to do more will depend on the results of this first project. That’s where your reader comments—or in this case, “listener” comments—will become a critical part of the decision. A more formal announcement and progress-update will be made in a few months.