Batting Rocks Over the Barn
Anyone who grew up on a farm or spent time on a farm will find things to relate to in this book. If one has ever been curious what it would be like to be a farm kid in the middle of the twentieth century, this book should answer most questions.
Lawn Griffiths grew up on a farm in Iowa during that time, and, boy howdy, does he have tales to tell. Not harrowing tales or scary ones, but the fabric of everyday life. After all those years on the farm, Griffiths went on to study journalism and wrote for newspapers. In this capacity, he wrote a weekly farm column for the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier for some time. This book reads as if it is a collection of such columns, and the author states in the introduction that he drew on the columns for this work. The short sub-chapters — one to three pages — are gathered into eleven chapters covering different seasons, what the land teaches, farm implements and equipment, and more.
Some of the topics Griffiths covers are mundane, such as flashlights or why fences fall down or even flies, but he seems to find something interesting to say about all these and more. Most of the topics he writes about are surrounded by terrific descriptions, fun memories, and folksy charm. While Griffiths’ family and their everyday life is the platform for most of the writing, occasionally he steps outside that family group into his local town or school for comics. That said, this is a great representation of rural life in the mid-twentieth century that is very personal and yet kind of an everyman’s tale for that time. It could use a good round of editing, but otherwise is a fine read.