Home to Harmony [NOOK Book]

Overview

Welcome to Harmony ...

In this acclaimed inaugural volume in the Harmony series, master American storyteller Philip Gulley draws us into the charming world of minister Sam Gardner in his first year back in his hometown, capturing the essence of small-town life with humor and wisdom.

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Home to Harmony

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Overview

Welcome to Harmony ...

In this acclaimed inaugural volume in the Harmony series, master American storyteller Philip Gulley draws us into the charming world of minister Sam Gardner in his first year back in his hometown, capturing the essence of small-town life with humor and wisdom.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
Bookseller ReviewsA continuation and a departure for the author of Front Porch Tales. Writing with the warmth and Christian faith that have won him thousands of loyal readers, Philip Gulley enters the arena of fiction. In this sweet novel, a pastor in the small town of Harmony, Indiana, discovers that even men of the cloth can learn a thing or two.
BookPage
Harmony hosts the biggest collection of crusty, lovable characters since James Herriot settled in Yorkshire.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Occasionally, a simple book feels like home, and its characters become cherished friends. These vignettes will doubtless become favorites, not only for the quarter of a million people who enjoyed Gulley's Front Porch Tales, but also for new readers who will respond to the Garrison Keillor- style humor and pathos of fictional Harmony, Ind. The town's characters include the wise Quaker pastor who narrates the book; a childless couple who spend their life savings (and then some) to wrest their niece from the grip of her alcoholic parents; and the narrow-minded church elder who "knew just enough Scripture to be annoying, but not enough to be transformed." This book is pure joy. (Oct.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
BookPage
"Harmony hosts the biggest collection of crusty, lovable characters since James Herriot settled in Yorkshire."
Booklist
"Gentle. Nostalgic. Gulley is one of a kind."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061869846
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 10/13/2009
  • Series: A Harmony Novel
  • Sold by: HARPERCOLLINS
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 240
  • Sales rank: 7,330
  • File size: 281 KB

Meet the Author

Philip Gulley is a Quaker minister, writer, husband, and father. He is the bestselling author of Front Porch Tales, the acclaimed Harmony series, and is coauthor of If Grace Is True and If God Is Love. Gulley lives with his wife and two sons in Indiana, and is a frequent speaker at churches, colleges, and retreat centers across the country.

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One



Home to Harmony



When I was in the second grade, my teacher, Miss Maxwell, read from The Harmony Herald that one in every four children lived in China. I remember looking over the room, guessing which children they might be. I wasn't sure where China was, but suspected it was on bus route three. I recall being grateful I didn't live in China because I didn't care for Chinese food and couldn't speak the language.

I liked living where I did, in Harmony. I liked that the Dairy Queen sold ice cream cones for a dime. I liked that I could ride my Schwinn Typhoon there without crossing Main Street, which my mother didn't allow.

I liked that I lived four blocks from the Kroger grocery store, where every spring they stacked bags of peat moss out front. My brother and I would climb on the bags and vault from stack to stack. Once, on a particularly high leap, my brother hit the K in KROGER with his head, causing the neon tube to shatter. For the next year, the sign flashed ROGER, which we considered an amazing coincidence since that was my brother's name. He liked to pass by at night and see his name in lights.

I liked that we had no curfew and after a certain age could wander anywhere in town we pleased. My parents were not lax; this was the usual order of things in our town. Harmony presented so few temptations that it took a resourceful person to find trouble, and we were not that clever. This was a burden to us. We wanted to wreak havoc and be feared as hoodlums, but the town would notcooperate.

Most of all, I liked that Harmony sat on Highway 36, which began in Roanoke, Ohio, near the Cy Young Memorial and ran west through Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, and Kansas to Commanche Crossing, Colorado. There was a map at the Rexall drugstore that showed all the towns along Highway 36 with a gold star stuck on Harmony. Most folks don't know about us because, when you open the Rand McNally map to our state, we're hidden underneath the left staple. That's fine with us. We're modest people, inclined to shun attention.

On summer days I would sit on the bench in front of the Rexall and eat Milk Duds and watch the license plates. Then I would pedal home and eat Sugar Pops cereal down to the bottom of the box, to the free license plate in every box! I would reach down, pluck out that license plate, blow the sugar off, then hang it from my bicycle seat and pretend I was from Rhode Island or Arizona or wherever the license plate dictated.

But pretending was as far as it went. I never wanted to live anywhere but Harmony. When I went away to college and other students asked me where I wanted to live after school, I would tell them Harmony. They said I lacked ambition, which wasn't true. They confused contentment for stagnation, a common mistake. Even at that young age I knew contentment was a rare gift and saw no need to seek it elsewhere when I had found it in Harmony.

On my first Sunday back after college, Dale Hinshaw, an elder of the Harmony Friends Meeting, asked me what I was going to do with my life. I had given considerable thought to that question but hadn't reached any conclusions. I told Dale I wasn't sure, but when I found out I'd be sure to let him know.

That was when Dale prophesied that God was calling me to the ministry.

"Sam Gardner," he declared, "the fields are ripe for harvest. Go ye into the fields."

I took him seriously, for Dale Hinshaw was rumored to be wise, though I would learn later that rumors of his wisdom were circulated only by persons who did not know him well.

I went to seminary, despite Dale's warning that theological training would be my undoing. He said, "You don't want to go there. That's a nest of atheists at that school. They talk about God being dead. Boy, won't they be surprised."

According to Dale, God was going to surprise a lot of people.

But I went to seminary anyway, graduated after four years, then took a church in the next state over, where I pastored twelve years before leaving for health reasons: I was sick of them and they were sick of me.

I had met my wife in college. Her name was Barbara, and she was the first woman besides my mother to show the faintest interest in me. It took six years to persuade her to marry me. What I lacked in charm I made up for in persistence, and I finally wore her down. We had two sons, Levi and Addison.

Now I was taking my family to live with my parents in Harmony. I was sorely depressed. Thirty-eight years old, married with two children, and living with my parents.

I began praying God would provide a job. I prayed every day. I wasn't picky -- any job would do. In the thick of my prayers, Pastor Taylor of Harmony Friends Meeting died. Both his parents had died of heart problems, which he feared would happen to him, so he'd begun to jog and was hit by a truck. This was not the answer to prayer I had envisioned, and I went to Pastor Taylor's funeral burdened with guilt.

He was buried the week before Easter. The church held a meeting to decide what to do. Fern Hampton, president of the Friendly Women's Circle, seemed less concerned with Pastor Taylor's death and more concerned with his poor timing.

"For a minister, that was pretty inconsiderate of him to go and get killed during Lent," she...

Home to Harmony. Copyright © by Philip Gulley. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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Table of Contents

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First Chapter

Home to Harmony

Chapter One



Home to Harmony



When I was in the second grade, my teacher, Miss Maxwell, read from The Harmony Herald that one in every four children lived in China. I remember looking over the room, guessing which children they might be. I wasn't sure where China was, but suspected it was on bus route three. I recall being grateful I didn't live in China because I didn't care for Chinese food and couldn't speak the language.

I liked living where I did, in Harmony. I liked that the Dairy Queen sold ice cream cones for a dime. I liked that I could ride my Schwinn Typhoon there without crossing Main Street, which my mother didn't allow.

I liked that I lived four blocks from the Kroger grocery store, where every spring they stacked bags of peat moss out front. My brother and I would climb on the bags and vault from stack to stack. Once, on a particularly high leap, my brother hit the K in KROGER with his head, causing the neon tube to shatter. For the next year, the sign flashed ROGER, which we considered an amazing coincidence since that was my brother's name. He liked to pass by at night and see his name in lights.

I liked that we had no curfew and after a certain age could wander anywhere in town we pleased. My parents were not lax; this was the usual order of things in our town. Harmony presented so few temptations that it took a resourceful person to find trouble, and we were not that clever. This was a burden to us. We wanted to wreak havoc and be feared as hoodlums, but the town would not cooperate.

Most of all, I liked that Harmony sat on Highway 36, which began in Roanoke, Ohio, near the Cy Young Memorial and ran west through Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, and Kansas to Commanche Crossing, Colorado. There was a map at the Rexall drugstore that showed all the towns along Highway 36 with a gold star stuck on Harmony. Most folks don't know about us because, when you open the Rand McNally map to our state, we're hidden underneath the left staple. That's fine with us. We're modest people, inclined to shun attention.

On summer days I would sit on the bench in front of the Rexall and eat Milk Duds and watch the license plates. Then I would pedal home and eat Sugar Pops cereal down to the bottom of the box, to the free license plate in every box! I would reach down, pluck out that license plate, blow the sugar off, then hang it from my bicycle seat and pretend I was from Rhode Island or Arizona or wherever the license plate dictated.

But pretending was as far as it went. I never wanted to live anywhere but Harmony. When I went away to college and other students asked me where I wanted to live after school, I would tell them Harmony. They said I lacked ambition, which wasn't true. They confused contentment for stagnation, a common mistake. Even at that young age I knew contentment was a rare gift and saw no need to seek it elsewhere when I had found it in Harmony.

On my first Sunday back after college, Dale Hinshaw, an elder of the Harmony Friends Meeting, asked me what I was going to do with my life. I had given considerable thought to that question but hadn't reached any conclusions. I told Dale I wasn't sure, but when I found out I'd be sure to let him know.

That was when Dale prophesied that God was calling me to the ministry.

"Sam Gardner," he declared, "the fields are ripe for harvest. Go ye into the fields."

I took him seriously, for Dale Hinshaw was rumored to be wise, though I would learn later that rumors of his wisdom were circulated only by persons who did not know him well.

I went to seminary, despite Dale's warning that theological training would be my undoing. He said, "You don't want to go there. That's a nest of atheists at that school. They talk about God being dead. Boy, won't they be surprised."

According to Dale, God was going to surprise a lot of people.

But I went to seminary anyway, graduated after four years, then took a church in the next state over, where I pastored twelve years before leaving for health reasons: I was sick of them and they were sick of me.

I had met my wife in college. Her name was Barbara, and she was the first woman besides my mother to show the faintest interest in me. It took six years to persuade her to marry me. What I lacked in charm I made up for in persistence, and I finally wore her down. We had two sons, Levi and Addison.

Now I was taking my family to live with my parents in Harmony. I was sorely depressed. Thirty-eight years old, married with two children, and living with my parents.

I began praying God would provide a job. I prayed every day. I wasn't picky -- any job would do. In the thick of my prayers, Pastor Taylor of Harmony Friends Meeting died. Both his parents had died of heart problems, which he feared would happen to him, so he'd begun to jog and was hit by a truck. This was not the answer to prayer I had envisioned, and I went to Pastor Taylor's funeral burdened with guilt.

He was buried the week before Easter. The church held a meeting to decide what to do. Fern Hampton, president of the Friendly Women's Circle, seemed less concerned with Pastor Taylor's death and more concerned with his poor timing.

"For a minister, that was pretty inconsiderate of him to go and get killed during Lent," she...

Home to Harmony. Copyright © by Philip Gulley. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 23 )
Rating Distribution

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(20)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 23 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 11, 2003

    comfort food for your mind

    What a wonderful book. If you love to watch the Andy Griffith show, if you love comfort food, or anything that gives you that warm feeling that you get around good friends and family, this is a must read. It just makes you feel good, as do many of Philip Gulley's books.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 24, 2006

    True to the word

    My father was a Methodist minister, mostly in small towns. This book brought back a rush of memories of both small town living and church life. Just like the settings, Gulley's 'Harmony' books are filled with humor and warmth. I regularly found myself calling my siblings to read aloud a portion of the book because Gulley had so perfectly captured a person or a moment exactly like those with which we had grown up. Gulley's easy-reading writing style adds to the intimate feeling you have with the characters, especially Pastor Sam. And the gentle way Gulley lays in his faith and common sense messages is comfortable and unthreatening, even for those not looking for a lesson. I'm sure cityfolk who understand that their community is like a small town will appreciate the down home flavor of the book. People are people. However, I'm not certain the unchurched would find the book very appealing. That, of course, leaves them two options. Get to church and get to know Gulley's people. Or, miss some really enjoyable reading.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 16, 2004

    one of my all-time favorites

    This book leaves you smiling, laughing out loud, and pondering what ministers actully have to put up with in our churches. It is a real 'feel good' book that left me loving visiting Harmony.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 5, 2014

    Kitchen

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 15, 2009

    It will make you smile.

    This, as all the books in Gulley's Harmony Series, contains subtle, delightful messages about the human condition. Broad appeal! I have given it as gifts or loaned my copy to a diverse group of people, and all want to read more.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 19, 2004

    Wonderful audiobook!!

    I rented the audiobook from the library and listened to it in the car while on a trip with my cousin. It was wonderful, we are from a small Iowa town, and wish our pastors had been so wise. This is priceless.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 3, 2003

    What a great book

    I enjoyed this book so much, at times funny, touching and full of good, biblical truths this book is a breath of fresh air in today's hectic world. I only wish that I could live in Harmony, although I could do without Dale Hinshaw, I know his double!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 8, 2014

    Harmony- I've been there!

    This is the best book I've read in a long time. It's so easy to get into. It is funny, as the other reviews say. But it's so real. We used to live in a small town 30 years ago and as I read, I can put a name or a place from that town on every chapter I read. I'm only half way thru the book and can't put it down. Worth every penny!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 14, 2014

    Rirrioka

    Struggles

    0 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 15, 2014

    Z

    Gets up off her anduts his pants back on and befire he leaves her says "enjoy the kids"

    0 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 19, 2013

    Laugh out loud funny and a book I couldn't put down. It's on my

    Laugh out loud funny and a book I couldn't put down. It's on my "best books" list.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 16, 2013

    charming

    Love the dry humor of Philip Gulley - if you are in need of a smile or a peaceful read this is the book for you. Occasionally there is a good laugh to add to the fun. The author defines his characters well - so much so that one gets to know them and feels if you could stroll into Harmony that you could address some of them by name.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 3, 2012

    Loved it!

    Reminds me of places and parts of my childhood insightful and funny touches the heart

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 31, 2002

    Loved It!!!!

    A joy to read! Gave me many laughs, and thought provoking at the same time. I have read 2 of Philip Gulley's books, and bought 2 more.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 24, 2002

    What A Wonderful Book!

    I think I just finished a new 'all-time favorite'. This book will make you forget your problems and count your blessings. Mr. Gulley has a wonderful way with telling a story. You will laugh; you may cry. I guarantee you will have a lot to think about after this one. Please come to Harmony and spend some time there!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 25, 2002

    Terrific book

    I read this book and the other (Just Shy of Harmony) and thoroughly enjoyed both of them. They were very much like the Jan Karon 'Mitford' series. I certainly hope that the author continues this series.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 15, 2000

    Sam Gardner is a true Joy!!

    This is a fabulously funny, warm and wonderful audio tape. My husband and I couldn't wait to get back in the car to listen. It will restore your faith in the basics.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 10, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 21, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted February 28, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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