Chris Holbrook: The Idea of It (Deal Me In 2016 – Week 47)

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Sometimes I daydream about that pony I had when I was a little boy. I imagine I’m riding her fast across a bottom full of timothy. The timothy is almost ready for cutting and swishes against by legs as we gallop through. It’s like we’re flying, we go so fast. Sometimes I wonder if this is the same place I remember.

Many of the Kentucky stories I’ve read this year deal with the idea of “home”. Where is it? Should I leave it? Should I go back? Can I even go back or find it in the first place? “The Idea of It” by Chris Holbrook is another such story and, like most of the other ones, it’s pretty good.

Home and Beyond: An Anthology of Kentucky Short Stories

The narrator takes his wife and family from Cincinnati back to his grandparent’s house and farm in Eastern Kentucky – to live, permanently. The bushels of apples they pick and the vegetable garden they plant, the quilting loom that gets dragged out of the attic – they all add to the homey feel the narrator attempts to give his family.

His family, though, doesn’t take to it quite the way he would like. The strip mining, his lack of a job and the Uzi-induced bullet storm showerd on his anti-union friend puts a damper on things.

The awe-inspiring aspect of this story comes with the memories the narrator has of visiting his grandparent’s farm as a kid. While there are no bad memories, they tend to haunt the narrator when compared to the realities of the present.

I am familiar with Chris Holbrook from his collection of stories Hell and Ohio: Stories of Southern Appalachia which includes this story; however, I own this story in the collection Home and Beyond: An Anthology of Kentucky Short Stories. I read this story when I selected the Three of Hearts for my Deal Me In 2016 short story project. My Deal Me In 2016 list can be found here. Deal Me In is sponsored by Jay at Bibliophilopolis.

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