Lawn Darts and Lemonade
Celebrating the life of someone who passed is often distinct to each family and person. Herbie our narrator and middle child, takes the spotlight once again, and as they do what they refer to as a Redneck Shiva Going through their father’s things and rehash life lessons and fun times.
That’s the present as once again author Steven Manchester takes us back to 1984 and we take the journeys, pranks, and wild times as school ends, summer has arrived and Wally gets his first job as a dishwasher, Herbie takes his paper route and Alphonso aja Cockroach is now in charge of dealing with his mother’s errands and keeping her supplied in cigarettes.
Each chapter allows us to join the boys and some friends in their antics. Herbie even gets to see where Wally works and Cockroach spill about the game of lawn darts. Then talking about sharing chores, parenting, and their mom having her way of expressing herself and demanding they remain outside all day in the summer. Why?
Reminding us of the programs long gone, the music of the times, and the great food they had at home. Clothes and fashion changes, attitudes, and dealing with having a girl, Herbie lights the way in every chapter and let’s not forget the magic 8 ball. Atlantic City was where they got to play on pinball machines, more soundtracks heard, and the Centipede game. Life seemed like one huge playtime and antics all summer.
Outings with their dad, smoking cigarettes playing cards, and their mom’s unique dinner, before the internet, live television, movie rentals, and the coolest candy treats, sugar daddy, twizzles, bubble gum, different kinds of ice cream, and Mister Softee brings back memories to readers. Live in the present or you’ll miss the precious moments of your life. Does anyone know? Parachute pants, scrunchies for your hair, Green Stamps my grandmother had books of, and brown paper bags as book covers money safer, the author keeps readers in the past with more stories about his Uncle, and let’s not forget Mr.Potato Head. Games at the stadium and the beach in 1984 and wild antics in the car with Cockroach sticking his head out the car window, Wally gassing off, and what their mom did at the beach when they got out of the car well that’s part of the fun you’ll have to learn for yourself. Herbie is dealing with having a girlfriend and is frustrated tested when not able to meet her to talk on the phone. The cockroach is funny, speaks his mind, takes chances, and sneaks things but is so lovable. Wally is older and tries to seem wiser and all three brothers bring something of their own to the story but mom has a cool personality y and dad lukewarm at times and yet breaking the rules and not worrying about the results keeps readers reading more to see where it all winds up at the end of 1984.
The summer flew by and Herbie wanted crime with Donna, Cockroach collected matchbox cars and Wally seemed to want to on his own. Aunt Phyllis has her take on things and we get reminded about Woolworths, Filenes, and music that is great to dance to and more. Camping in Hell’s Kitchen, in August 1984 and then September 1984 and remember scratch tickets my father told us about them and Country Time Lemonade plus variety shows line Donnie and Marie raising money for MDA and the different stations like lawn dart game, one tent with three softballs and one with a dartboard plus well you need to join the fun to learn more plus the final total. Then school starts and remember dad in the present. On page 309 read what Herbie tells his sons are the three things he asks of them. Read the final pages and the beautiful poem the author dedicated to his mom.
Told from the hearing by Herbie and reminding us about the love of God, needing his strength and guidance, and remembering your family cares for you as you take the journey along with Herbie, Wally, and Cockroach always rep the fun of playing Lawn Darts and drinking ice-cold Lemonade.
Fran Lewis just reviews
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