In this fictional story of life in rural Catahoula Parish, Louisiana, in the 1950s, Snooks Britton and his brother Lil’Ray experience a childhood of adventure and fun, recalled with a fondness for more innocent times.
The hard-working Britton family consists of six children, all of whom know two things— their assigned chores on the family farm and what’s expected of them: church every Sunday, good table manners, and a bath every Saturday night. Between chores, Snooks and Lil’Ray hunt, fish, and play practical jokes on their friends.
But, one day, while Lil’Ray is exploring as if he were Daniel Boone with his faithful sidekick dog, Kit Carson, he stumbles onto a neighbor’s illegal whiskey operation. When it appears the Louisiana mafia might be involved, Lil’Ray steps back – until it all turns personal. Then he and Snooks devise a plan to exact their own brand of justice.
The book offers pleasant escapist fare. While the characters confront dangers, the tone is upbeat, lending the impression that all will end well.
Franklin notes on the back cover that he has used “his experiences growing up in rural Mississippi…to describe the lives of rural folk in a simpler time.” From the dialect, to insider details of farm life to the boys’ adventures, the stories ring with authenticity. For example, when Snooks and Lil’Ray go fishing and no worms are available, they use wasp larvae as bait, despite the risks of knocking down wasp nests. If they got stung, well, there were plenty of home remedies: “If it was a bad sting they would wet some chewing tobacco and place it on the sting as a poultice. If anyone was around who chewed tobacco, they would spit tobacco juice on the sting….” The ending provides a satisfying and surprising twist.
The story contains numerous misspellings and occasional missing words. Otherwise, Catahoula is an amusing read for those who remember their childhoods fondly and long for the good old days.
Also available as an ebook.