Musin’s and Thinkin’s

A Monthly Stroll Down Folksy Byways

with Jack Pendarvis

Tinkle, tinkle, tinkle. What is that delicate yet eerie sound of ice bobbing gently against glass? Why, it can be none other than our mysterious hero, tiptoeing down the dark hallway to lead the tots Sally and Bill on another exciting adventure.

Readers of a certain generation will immediately recognize that I am referring to the series of children’s books by L. P. Eaves, featuring that marvelous creation old Rye-Head himself, his head a cunningly crafted glass ball, joined in the middle by a screw top, and half-filled with small-batch Kentucky rye whiskey on the rocks. Would Rye-Head be in a good mood, or would he just yell at Sally and Bill for the whole book? Finding out was part of the fun!

Of course, in this day and age we are supposed to shelter our children, and I mean literally. We are expected to provide them with some sort of rudimentary structure to protect them against wind and wild animals, and I for one think it’s a real shame. My grandmother thought nothing of our present-day “political correctness” as she sat by my bed, reading to me from Rye-Head Meets a Friendly Tapeworm or Rye-Head’s Immigrant Problem in her terrifying voice, wearing the devil mask with which she loved to playfully tease me on such occasions. I doubt whether our current crop of youngsters could weather such a vigorous ribbing.

We hope you enjoy this excerpt.

To read the full piece, please purchase a copy of the magazine from The McSweeney’s Store.

Jack Pendarvis has written three books.


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