Friends, your holiday gift-list options are handled, thanks to Art Kehler. His Hollowtop Smoke Signals works for everyone from great aunts to ministers to longtime friends who already have everything they need.
This collection is pure gold – or maybe some other metal – but very precious. Kehler offers 83 short insights, memories, or ponderings for our reading pleasure. Some are laugh-out-loud, others bring a rueful smile. Gulp it down or return for small tastes, like tapas provided by a superb chef.
The bard of the Tri-Cities (Norris, Pony and his own town, Harrison) is literate, humorous and philosophical. He first visited Montana when he was 7 and eventually returned to stay, working at whatever he could to remain, make a living and become one of the old timers himself.
En route, Kehler masters the lingo (“when greeting an area resident, the proper term was ‘Howdy,’ not ‘Yo’), navigates local phone listings comprised of just four pages (or deploys the trusty “backyard bellow”), and learns how to preserve hair-dos in the omnipresent wind (“I advocate purchasing a tight-fitting hat, preferably one with a chinstrap”).
He offers lots of advice for other outdoor adventures, cautions for civility, and plenty about how to survive and thrive in the weather or on the roads. Although this is not an autobiography, there are enough references to his four decades of living in Harrison to authenticate his rightful place as a Montana storyteller.
Thankfully, author Kehler continues to live and write in Harrison, MT, population 137. His collection is published by Raven Publishing in nearby Norris.
– LK Willis