The collection of stories called Sweet Tea and Jesus Shoes has tantalized me for years, but no library I worked at owned the book, and I didn’t know enough of the authors in it to buy it. But, when the publisher sent me a note saying it was free for Kindle for a short time, I scooped it up. I am a big fan of Deborah Smith, one of the authors. I enjoy her books, and loved Sweet Hush. And, Donna Ball is an author I discovered this year, the author of one of my favorite books of 2011, Keys to the Castle. So, now I had the perfect opportunity to accept their invitation to sit on the porch and listen to some Southern storytellers.
Every one of the women who contributed stories to this collection can sweep the reader down south. Sandra Chastain’s “The Jesus Shoes” takes readers to Vacation Bible School where a little girl learns a big lesson. And, then there’s the lesson about interrupting Grandmother during her soap opera, as shown in Virginia Ellis’ “No More Mickey Mouse.” Deborah Smith, Debra Dixon and Nancy Knight also tell stories of family, food, and animals, stories you could imagine being told on some porch as family gathers. But, two of Donna Ball’s stories stood out, “Storytelling” and “Fingerprints.” And, “Fingerprints” exemplifies the entire spirit of the book, Southern roots, family, food, and tradition. It’s the story of a family that honors tradition and the elders, while teaching new family members the legends, and bringing them into the fold.
If you want some of that Southern cooking to go with the stories, recipes are included for everything from sweet tea to fried chicken. These authors know how to tell a story, how to carry a reader into the South, into a family. If you enjoy Southern stories, Southern life, and some time on the porch with sweet tea, you just might want to pick up a copy of Sweet Tea and Jesus Shoes.
(Note – And, you might want to try Deborah Smith’s Sweet Hush and Donna Ball’s Keys to the Castle, two of my favorite books.
Bellebooks' website is www.bellebooks.com.
Sweet Tea and Jesus Shoes by Deborah Smith, et al. Bellebooks, Incorporated, ©2000. ISBN 9780967303505 (paperback), 192p.
FTC Full Disclosure – This was free on Kindle.