June 30, 2022
Book Review: Rock Killough’s Front Porch Stories
Hardback, 107 pp., illustrated color
Copyright 2022 God Manifest Publishing
By Chris Warner
On Easter Sunday I was at the Flora-Bama celebrating Joe Gilchrist’s 80th birthday when I fortuitously ran into the quintessential Damon Runyan character, Rock Killough, hawking copies of his attractive hardback book, “Front Porch Stories.”
Rock Killough is a living legend of sorts; having run the gamut, experiencing life fully on both spectrum ends before settling into his golden years of reflection, happiness and peace atop the mountain; inside his humble, happy home at the end of the road.
So I was as surprised as I was elated to see him—and get a copy of his book—as I was interested in his musings. Years ago, before I jettisoned social media for mental health preservation, I enjoyed Rock’s many inspiring posts that harkened to a much simpler time.
Rock sat at one of the many strewn, weathered picnic tables under the tent next to an open box of books. I greeted him with a smile and asked to purchase one. He signed a copy and handed it to me, refusing payment. I later that evening gave him a signed version of my newest book, a double novel set at Flora-Bama, “Saved at the Alabama-Florida Line,” as I couldn’t let him get away one up on me. But of course, he did.
In hindsight, after reading “Front Porch Stories” I feel like I still owe Rock something, as reading it made me contemplate things I had not; and reflect on many others…issues I did not want to tussle with; but knew they were there…in the back of my mind: The reminder that happiness comes in the simplest of forms, and that one can cultivate this God given state of mind, with a little planning and dedication.
Meaningful stuff like the wonder of pets and gardening and love and friendship and the changing of the seasons…you know…ephemeral trappings, tried and true stuff practiced by the ancients yet today forgotten and replaced with facebook, twitter, meta and the like. Or has it?
Rock Killough makes a strong case for getting back to the basics of life: A connection to the Earth, the sun, the moon and the stars— things we had before life became so complicated and deluded by technology. As I read I found image-filled lyrics from some of my favorites like Shaver, Kristofferson and of course Rock’s departed friend, the talented Billy Ray Reynolds, woven into the meaning and message.
I imagine there are many young fifty-somethings like me thinking about their departed grandmas when they read stuff like this. These things Rock talks about in his book are the things their generation lived for and loved. It’s a shame for those of us who have forgotten; but even worse for the younger folks—those that never knew these wonders, in the first place.
So grab a copy of this wonderful book if you can. It has real value. Engage the foil of your mind at the forefront. Step onto Rock Killough’s front porch; and get right. Sit and sip a while. Take it all in. You’ll be glad you did—my friend.
Perdido Key, Florida
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