Friday, December 19, 2014
Forgotten Books: Christmas at the Ranch - Elmer Kelton
CHRISTMAS AT THE RANCH is a collection of three autobiographical essays by Elmer Kelton that was published in 2003 by McMurry University in Abilene, Texas. Kelton writes about childhood Christmases spent on the ranch where he grew up and where his father was the foreman, as well as other holiday seasons spent at his grandparents' ranch. The middle section of the book concerns the Christmases of 1944 and 1945, the one just before he shipped out for Germany as a member of the U.S. Army and the one he spent in Austria with the family of the girl he wound up marrying. In the final essay he describes a holiday trip he and Ann took back to Austria in the Eighties. As always with Kelton, the writing is clean and unadorned, without any pretentiousness, with a poignancy and beauty of its own. Those of us lucky enough to have spent time with Elmer can hear his voice in the words. Highly recommended.