Troy Broadcasting Corp. WTBF am970 fm94.7
Dave (Doc) Kirby
"Another hysterical CD tells the story of "Mama learns to drive." Mama Davis, who married later than her friends, never even rode in a car until she met Donald's father, a WWII vet with his own vehicle. When she decided to return to teaching when both boys were in school, Donald's dad decides to teach her how to drive...with decidedly mixed results. But she DID pass her driving test. And Donald Davis remembered her courage in doing something so terrifyingly new everytime he faced a new challenge himself."
"The new line of single audio compact disc stories from August House will appeal to a wide audience; but particularly those who enjoy good stories and yarns. Donald Davis's four collections, for example, bring the best of this Appalachian storyteller's repertoire to the public ear with Mama Learns To Drive
. Each provides memoirs from the author's life, blending values-oriented lessons with humor and reflection.
"Davis' laid-back, folksy style has always appealed to my son. Davis proves real life stories don't have to involve snakes and life-threatening situations (a la "Survivor") to be interesting. He takes everyday situations, adds warmth and humor and welcomes the listener into his seemingly normal family. No Osbournes here.
The stories cover daily situations--learning to drive, children writing on walls, picky eaters. My favorite, "Peas and Carrots," tells the story of Davis' adolescent solution to his aversion to these vegetables. Davis' mother's rule that "We don't waste food" means it would be impossible for him to leave the dreaded orange cubes and green circles on his plate. In a touch of childhood ingenuity, he starts to load the vegetable into the hollow legs of the kitchen table. This strategy is successful until the table has to be moved and dried peas and carrots come tumbling out, which leaves the young Davis with a new dilemma.
Both children and adults will identify with these heart-warming stories. Davis' tales are likely to evoke memories of your own family stories and launch a long session of "When I was you age..."
"This charming, and hilarious, collection of childhood reminiscences is a wonderful showcase of Southern storytelling. The stories concern, among other incidents, Davis's memory of his mother learning to drive. He also gives some family background that makes these stories endearing. An experienced storyteller, Davis is perfect. He has a mellow Appalachian accent that is skilled and nuanced. One need only SEE him telling these tales to get a fuller experience."
"Just about every parent has had some experience with doobies. These have nothing to do with those guys who sang "Black Water" and everything to do with eating. They are little "things," tiny undesirables that have crept into otherwise normal food, completely ruining it.
Children everywhere do whatever it takes to avoid doobies. Bean spouts have doobies, you can be sure, and so do jams with exotic fruits like guava and kiwi. Casseroles (no matter what their content) have doobies, as does just about anything from the health-food store -- like multigrain bread.
Donald Davis has a little brother named Jonathan who stayed away from doobies (especially those in multi-grain bread) at all costs, and what happened when he did so at his grandmother's home is one of four delightful stories on Mama Learns To Drive
Actually, it isn't only doobies that Jonathan avoids. He won't eat much of anything except macaroni and cheese. When Jonathan goes to visit his grandmother, his older brothers warn her not to serve Jonathan anything where the food is "mixed up" and "nothing with doobies."
The grandmother promptly makes the mistake of serving Jonathan peanut butter on multi-grain bread, and admonishes him not to leave until "you're finished with it." Jonathan, as it turns out, is "finished with it" pretty quick, though this same sandwich will come back to haunt him.
Davis, former chairman of the National Storytelling Network, is one of the best storytellers out there. His style is so engaging, so funny, you can't help but listen to this CD time and again, even after you've heard a story so many times you could tell it yourself.
The first piece, "Mama Learns To Drive," begins with a bit of romance. Davis' father taught first aid during World War II, and was doing so at a school when he caught site of a pretty teacher, whom he would soon make his wife. The two lived in Hazlewood, N.C. (you can't miss Davis' accent), had some boys and had quite an experience when Daddy taught Mama how to drive.
They all set out in the family Plymouth, with Davis' brother screaming "She'll kill us!" throughout the journey, which includes a stop into -- not at, INTO -- Mayor Clyde Fisher's house.
"I do remember my Daddy decided to drive home that day," Davis says. Eventually, though Mama does indeed learn to drive. Then she has to take her driver's license exam, and it's pure torture. She comes home and glares at her husband.
"You didn't tell me," she says furiously. What? What could it be, Daddy wonders. (A hint: it has nothing to do with driving and everything to do with weight.) The best thing about this otherwise harrowing adventure is that it taught Davis an important lesson, he says: If his Mama could learn to drive, he could do ANYTHING.
Mama Learns To Drive
also features "Peas and Carrots," a very funny story about one way in which food was not wasted (a rule their mother insists must be observed). The problem is, Mama gives her boys so much food they don't want ("Isn't there anything you can do with food but eat it?" one of the boys asks) -- like peas and carrots. As a boy, Davis loathed canned peas and carrots; the peas tasted like "day-old monkey vomit," he insists.
Will that poor boy never escape from such torture?
Help arrives in the form of a dinette set. It's a beauty, the latest model, but that's not what interests young Donald Davis. His love for the dinette set has nothing to do with form and everything to do with what's NOT there. He has discovered a tiny opening under the table, leading to the legs, that are just right for, say, canned peas and carrots. Week after week, year after year, he slips his peas and carrots into the table legs.
Everything might have been all right, too, if the family hadn't decided to move. Then all the furniture came out of the house, the table had to be taken apart, and there it was, the irrefutable evidence of all those years of deception: dried-up peas and carrots.
But remember the adage in the Davis home: food WILL not be wasted. Wait until you hear how Davis' rejects become an arts-and-crafts project.
The shortest story on this CD is "Aunt Esther Saves A Little Boy's Life," and it's such a dear and wonderful piece. The little boy is Donald Davis, who is happy beyond words when his Aunt Esther buys him a whole box of Crayola crayons for his birthday.
Davis colors on all his paper, and then decides to make a really nice picture for his Aunt Esther -- right on her wall. Instead of going for the obvious ("Then my Aunt Esther made me scrub it all off, and it took me six hours but I learned my lesson!"), Davis provides a completely new and brilliant path: kind Aunt Esther says she loves his picture and compliments him on his fine work. Davis' mother doesn't get the chance to see her son's picture, though, because when she arrives to get Donald, a real painting covers his handiwork – which is how a little boy was saved). Years later, Davis remembers this lesson when his own son Douglas finds magic markers -- "permanent, indelible markers that will never come out...weapons of artistic destruction" -- and decorates the family's white couches for Halloween.
There's nothing fancy about this CD. Davis' style might even be characterized as stark: it's just him, telling a story. But it's so good you won't miss, even for a second, all the extras like sound effects and music. The recording is crystal clear; the stories are great; the storyteller is incomparable. You've got everything you need right here."