When thirteen-year-old Jim discovers Sam, a stranger, in his favorite fishing spot one day, he has no idea his life is about to change. The two of them quickly become friends, and as the summer unfolds Jim learns there is more to Sam than he ever imagined-and that life's most valuable lessons are often the most painful.
A lifelong Texan, Jim Black was born in Center, Texas in 1953 and today lives in Wichita Falls with his wife Lorrie. To learn more about the author and his writings, visit www.jimblackbooks.com
|Publisher:||Dog Ear Publishing|
|Edition description:||New Edition|
|Product dimensions:||5.00(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.48(d)|
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
COOT ONCE SAID that life dealt Sambone a straight flush and then canceled all bets.
All I knew was he was in my spot. My own private fishing spot. I watched him for a while, saw he wasn�t leaving, and finally made my way down the bank.
�Having any luck?� I asked.
He looked up, surprised.
�Oh yeah, oh yeah,� he said. �Done caught supper. Workin� on breakfast now.� He reached down and lifted up a rope stringer with two big catfish on it.
�Dang, those are nice ones,� I said. (They were, too.) �What�d you catch them on?�
�Kidney,� he said. �Best bait there is. Yessir. You know you can get it for free down at McWhorter�s Food Store?�
�No,� I said. �I�ve been using shrimp.�
He shook his head in disappointment. �Nope, that won�t do. Just won�t do, son. Got to be kidney here.�
�I�ve been having a little luck here, too.�
�Have I got your spot?� he asked, like he was apologizing.
�No, not really. I�ve fished here a couple of times, but I never caught any that big.�
�Well, sit yourself down here, and let�s see if you can.�
I sat down beside him and started to bait my line.
�Try this here,� he said, handing me a piece of his bait.
I placed it on my hook, and just as I was about to throw it out, he stopped me.
�Hold on there!� he said as he caught hold of my line. �Yep, just as I figured.�
�What�s wrong?� I asked.
�It�s that sinker of yours�it ain�t near big enough. You got to get a bigger one than that.�
�Son, people just don�t give this here river enough credit. Current�s way too strong for that piddly little thing.�
I glanced out at the slow-moving water.
�I know it don�t look it on top, but down below, that river�s busy. Ain�t no way that thing there can get you to the bottom where you need to be. Here, use this.� And he handed me a rusty old lug nut. It weighed a ton.
�Will this work?� I asked.
�Sure. Those fish don�t care what it looks like.�
I tied it on and threw it out.
We sat for a while and just fished. I glanced over at him and noticed his eyes were closed. He held his pole in one hand and his line between the thumb and forefinger of the other. He looked to be about sixty years old. His hair was closely cropped and spotted with gray. He had on a tattered pair of khaki pants and worn-out sneakers. He was thin as a rail, and his plaid cotton shirt seemed much too large.
Finally, he opened his eyes.
�My name�s Jim Black,� I said.
�Samuel Joseph Washington,� he replied. �My friends call me Sam, and you can, too.�
Just then a raggedy old dog came sliding down the bank and, after coming to a stop, sat down beside him. He cocked his head and looked at me.
�Who�s that?� I asked.
�This here�s Tick the Dog,� Sam answered.
�That�s a funny name for a dog.�
�Only one he�ll answer to, and that�s the truth. Probably sounds a little classier to him than just plain old Tick,� Sam said with a wink.
�What kind of dog is he?�
�Take your pick,� he said, smiling. �Whatever you choose, most likely he�s got part of that in him. I�ve always said he�s the purest mutt around�oughta be registered.�
�Where�d you get him?�
�Found him right up there along the fence thirteen years ago. I�s walkin� along and heard somethin� whimperin� down in the brush. When I bent down and looked, all I seen was these ticks. They was all over somethin�. They was all about to bust, they were so big. Then I seen it was a puppy. Couldn�t have been very old at all. So I carried him back to the house and lit the end of a hickory stick and burned �em off, and all the while, he kept lookin� up at me with those sad eyes. And there was somethin� else�he looked confused. It was like he was askin�, �Who are you? Why are you doin� this?� It was like he thought that was the way life was supposed to be�nothin� but sufferin�. I�ll never forget that look in his eyes. Anyway, I nursed him back to health, and he�s been with me ever since. I guess there just ain�t nothin� he wouldn�t do for me.�
I watched Sam lovingly scratch the old dog�s head and suspected that, the truth be told, there wasn�t anything they wouldn�t do for each other.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
River Season is an outstanding novel that appeals to readers from teens to one hundreds. Because of its simplicity in format with short, flowing chapters, River Season is also a draw to the unseasoned reader. It will elicit emotions from laughing aloud to crying like a baby. The setting is small community America in the mid sixties. The characters are three dimensional, warm, sensitive, realistic, eccentric and sometimes despicable. River Season takes the reader back to a time when life was simpler and makes him/her long for that lifestyle today. The book revolves around Jim, a thirteen year old, as he experiences deepening friendships, first love, loss, and other life lessons. I highly recommend this book. It is suitable for classroom reading and study at the highschool level.
The story, as told by the narrator as he looks back over thirty years to his childhood, more specifically the year in the 1960s when he was thirteen, is set in Archer City, a small town in America. That was the year the young Jim Black met and befriended Sam, an ageing black American, a decent and wise old man. Their friendships started as they were both fishing and grew from that with many discussions about fishing, baseball and life.Jim also tells of the many escapades he and his two close friends, Gary Beesinger and Charles Luig, playing practical jokes and making their own adventures. Gary and Charles are initially wary of Sam but are eventually won round by Jim, but there are still those townsfolk who disapprove of the friendship, and along with Sam's account of his past we are aware of the prejudices of the time, but not in such a way that this takes over the story, it is just how things were.River Season is a beautiful and gentle story of a time when three young boys could make their own entertainment, get up to mischief without getting into trouble and yet at the same time to perform acts of great kindness. Jim becomes very attached to Sam, who in turn thinks the world of Jim; and Jim's friendship with his two pals Gary and Charles is something to be admired.While this is presented as a novel, it is in fact largely autobiographical, a story where the names have NOT been changed - the story having first been self-published and circulated among the author's friends. As word of the book got out, the book was enlarged and published but still keeping the real names of the characters.What it amounts to is a most appealing account, the numerous chapters are very short making it a very easy read, there is not great drama or plot, although sad things do happen, there is also a tough of mystery or rather the unexplained, but as with other aspects of the story there is no great emphasis on this - it all adds to the atmosphere of a more peaceful, less hectic era.
This is a warm and touching story of three boys thirteenth summer in a small Texas town. Very well written and easy to read. Character development is warm and believable. The story is both amusing and tender. One of the best books I have read recently.