What can we learn about life, love, and artillery from an 82-year-old man whose favorite hobby is firing his homemade cannons? Visit by visit - often with his young daughters in tow - author Michael Perry is about to find out.
Toiling in a shop Perry describes as "an antique store stocked by Rube Goldberg, curated by Hunter Thompson, and rearranged by a small earthquake", Tom Hartwig makes gag shovel handles, parts for quarter-million-dollar farm equipment, and - now and then - batches of potentially "extralegal" explosives. As he approaches his 60th wedding anniversary with his wife, Arlene, Tom, famous for driving a team of oxen in local parades, has an endless reservoir of stories dating back to days of his prize Model A, and an anti-authoritarian streak refreshed daily by the four-lane interstate that was shoved through his front yard in 1965 and now dumps over eight million vehicles past his kitchen window every year. And yet Visiting Tom is dominated by the elderly man's equanimity and ultimately - when he and Perry converse over the kitchen table as husbands and as the fathers of daughters - unvarnished tenderness.
I listened to the audiobook version of this book during my long drive to work everyday. Michael Perry can tell a great story , if you like to listen to "A prairie Home companion" Garrison Keillor then you will enjoy "Visiting Tom" its both funny and send a good message about home and family. At the end of the book you can send Mr. Perry an email about the book as I did and he actually sent a reply thanking me for reading his book. And this was not a form letter that gets sent to every reader, he took the time to reply personally.
San Antonio Texas