Short Trips with the Loudermilks
One big advantage of digital publishing world is an author’s ability to repackage their work for a new audience. That’s what Gar Anthony Haywood has done with Nowhere to Go and All Day to Get There. This is really a collection of two short stories he has written with Joe and Dottie Loudermilk, the stars of two earlier novels. As a fan of those novels, it was fun to check in with them again.
If you haven’t met Joe and Dottie before, they are sixty-something retirees who decided to sell everything and hit the road in a trailer once they retired. That means each story finds them in a different location, which is part of the fun, at least for me since I’m longing to travel again. I should also point out that the stories originally came out in the 1990’s, and so there may be some dated elements. Just know that going in.
The first story, “A Mother Always Knows” finds Joe and Dottie making a pit stop in Amarillo, Texas. Joe runs inside a convenience store for a quick sugar fix, and that means both of them are present when someone tries to rob the store at gun point.
Meanwhile, in “Better Dead Than Wed,” the couple get involved in an abusive relationship when they stop at a rest stop in the middle of the night on their way to Salt Lake City.
Again, I will point out that these are short stories. How short are they? I read both of them in half an hour combined. These are not complex tales. But they are quite fun. I laughed a few times while reading these stories. A good short story will have a twist of some kind. In this case, I guessed one of the twists, while the other caught me off guard.
Joe and Dottie are the only characters that are in both stories, but we got a good sense of who the other characters are in each story.
Both of these stories are fun. The fun usually comes from Joe and Dottie themselves, especially their reactions to each other. The situations help add to the fun as well.
If you need a quick trip, I definitely recommend you get Nowhere to Go and All Day to Get There. If you haven’t met Joe and Dottie yet, it’s a good introduction to them. And if you already know the characters but haven’t read these stories yet, you’ll be glad you visited a couple of old friends.