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By Rolland Love

Editor’s Note: This is the first installment of Rolland Love’s memoir Born Dead on a Winter’s Night, which will be serialized and posted every Sunday morning throughout August and September. For more stories by Rolland Love, visit www.ozarkstories.com. Chapters 1-4, Chapters 5-8, Chapters 9-12, Chapters 13-16, Chapters 17-20, Chapters 21-24, Chapters 25-28, & Chapters 29-30.

New Release: Born Dead on a Winter’s Night a memoir by Rolland Love 

On a snowy December night in 1939, a light shines through the window of an Ozark Mountains farmhouse. Doc Barnes works feverishly by the flickering light of a kerosene lamp only to deliver a baby boy, not breathing, no heartbeat, and still as stone. With nothing to lose, he takes the baby outside and rolls him in the snow. Thanks to his quick thinking, Rolland Love lives to tell his tale of growing up in the 1940s and 1950s, living off the land, having next to nothing and not realizing it, experiencing wonderful and sometimes frightening, life forming, outdoor adventures that are reminiscent of Mark Twains writings set in the Forests and on the Wild and Scenic Rivers of the rugged Missouri Ozark Mountains. An engaging story of survival, family self sufficiency, fascinating insights into the Natural Environment of the area, and just a rollicking good time. A must read compelling and unforgettable coming of age story.

AMAZON KINDLE — Featured Author Review — Rolland Love “Love’s writing transfigures his Ozark Mountains stories into a series of fantastic tales Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer could have only dreamed of.”


“There was never yet an uninteresting life. Such a thing is an impossibility. Inside of the dullest exterior there is a drama, a comedy, and a tragedy.”
—Mark Twain.

Chapter 1

Born Dead

I was born dead. In the dead of winter. Still as a stone. Blue as the smoky haze that sometimes settles on the Ozark Mountains. I know because my mother, Helen Love, my father Ray Love and Aunt Maude told me so. I can only imagine the scene: Doc Barnes, a tall rugged-looking man with bushy white hair, worked frantically when he realized there was trouble. His white shirt covered in blood and the flickering light of a kerosene lamp added ghost-like dimension to the scene. Cold enough to see your breath, the only source of heat came from a cast iron wood-burning stove in the living room. I was saved because Doc carried me outside and rolled me in snow that covered the ground from a midwinter storm. The cold caused me to take a breath and I began to cry.

I’m pretty sure starting life dead has had an effect on me. Often, I feel or see or think about something and it stalks me. It might be a word, a name, an animal, a place… This syndrome has been my companion since I was a kid.

Here’s an example: “The first time I can remember something being different I was five years old. Before trouble raised its ugly head I had a feeling something bad was going to happen. I actually got a lump in my throat. Within minutes, a mean old Billy goat jumped the fence without me being aware, rammed  into my backside, and knocked me down. I was covered in mud, but was not badly hurt. The experience set the stage for many premonitions and intuitions to come.

Up until now I’ve only talked to a few people about my frequent recalls. When I have, they said stuff like, “Hell, things like that happen to lots of people” so I quit saying anything about my mind being out of kilter. But I often felt a sense of knowing something was going to happen when I felt a lump in my throat.

That’s the end of me talking about this for now we’ve got other important stuff to investigate.

Chapter 2

Stomping Tomatoes and Fishing with Dad

I got my first spanking when I was four years old. I walked into the garden and stomped on a ripe tomato. I laughed as red juice squished between my toes. It felt like the puddles in front of our house after a rain. Dad picked me up, carried me to a picnic table in the backyard and told me to stay put. As soon as he walked away I scampered back into the garden, stomped on another tomato and laughed even louder.

After the second offense, Dad swatted by my behind and said, “We don’t stomp on food we need to eat.” I cried and my dog Trouser, a black and tan hound we occasionally used to coon hunt, licked away my tears. That was the only time my dad ever spanked me. Sometimes when I look at a tomato, even after all these years, I think about what happened. As it turned out, we had more tomatoes than we could eat that summer. Even though I was only four years old I learned a lesson about obedience; when my dad said to stop doing something, I did.

I was five years old when I caught my first fish. I hurried to keep up with my dad as we walked toward the pond close to our house, each carrying a cane pole with corncob bobbers tied on the line. Along the way, Dad caught half dozen brown grasshoppers with yellow wings to use as bait. He put them in the breast pocket of his blue denim overalls and snapped a button so they couldn’t escape. When we arrived at the pond Dad threaded one on each of our hooks. Soon after we tossed our lines into the water I bobber disappeared under the surface and something was trying to pull the pole out of my hands.

“I’ve got a fish,” I yelled.

“Hopefully it’s not a snapping turtle,” Dad said and he laughed.

As I walked backwards to drag the fish onto the bank I stumbled over Trouser and fell to the ground. As usual when I needed him to give me lick on the face he gave me a couple.

“It’s a big blue gill,” Dad said. “Get half dozen more fish this size we’ll be eatin’ high on the hog, so to speak.”

During the next thirty minutes we caught a couple more bluegill, a largemouth bass and Dad caught a catfish weigh a couple pounds. After we got back to the house, Dad skinned the cat and scaled the other fish. He chopped off their heads and gutted them. Mom rolled our catch in cornmeal and fried them brown in a cast iron skillet on a wood-burning stove. Along with corn and potatoes from the garden, we had a feast for dinner.

In addition to a tasty meal, I loved the thrill of catching fish. The earth’s beauty was intoxicating:  the high-pitched melodious call of a red-winged blackbird swaying on a cattail stem, a bellowing bullfrog resting on a lily pad under the shade of a willow tree, dragon flies with iridescent blue wings skimming over the water. There had been a heavy fog early in the morning. The air smelled fresh, like after a summer rain. I had seen a rainbow in my mind as I awaked that morning and here in from of me blue, red and yellow colors in the form of a giant arch appeared.

Even though I was only five years old, I’ll never forget my Dad saying, “Fishing jumpstarts the imagination. If you want to escape from the daily routine, go fish.”

A couple days later I decided to fish on my own. I dug a half dozen worms from the garden and put the brown, wriggling creatures in an empty red Prince Albert tobacco can. I picked up one of the cane poles Dad had stored beside the house.  Before leaving the yard I strung one of the worms on my hook. I wanted to be ready when I reached the pond. With the line dangling from the pole, I walked through the gate where a flock of clucking chickens pecked at some corn I had tossed them earlier. I swung the baited hook in front of a large Rhode Island Red rooster, and he gobbled the worm in one swift peck.

The rooster jumped five feet in the air when I raised the cane pole, hoping the hook would dislodge. It didn’t. Feathers flew and hens clucked as they ran toward the big bird, who was obviously in distress.  Dust billowed up off the dry ground in the barnyard. This rooster was accustomed to being king of the flock, but his life was about to change since I came along. The comfort of a dozen brightly feathered female companions, a newly constructed chicken house Dad built only a couple weeks earlier, and all the corn the rooster could eat was about to become something of the past. A streak of fear ran through me as the rooster fell to the ground, flopping and spinning around.

The backdoor slammed and my mother yelled at the top of her voice. “What’s going on out here? Is that fox after the chickens again?”

I froze and told my first lie. “Old rooster chased me and tried to steal my worm.”

“Looks like he caught it,” Mom said. “He’s hooked ain’t he?”

Mom rushed to the smoke house and picked up a hatchet. She grabbed the rooster by his hind legs and, quick as she could carry him to a stump, chopped off his head. Blood flying from the severed neck, the headless body of the rooster flopped around out of control. There, for all the world to see, poking out of the headless neck was my wriggling worm on the hook.

“Don’t dangle your worm in front of any more chickens, okay?” Mom took the rooster to the table we had set up by a water pump where we cleaned all the critters we killed and wanted to eat.

Dad walked up, looked at the rooster and said, “I raised the old boy from a chick. Happy for him he got to tend to the flock for a number of years.” He looked at me and shook his head. ”Before somebody did him in.”

“Go on an’ fish,” Mom said. “Take a stringer. If you catch enough we can have your grandpa and grandma over for dinner. They’d be proud to share your first catch. Don’t worry about the rooster; everybody makes mistakes.”

That was truly the temperament my mother had her entire life. It’s one of those things where you look back and wish you had been a better person for her sake.

I caught five catfish weighing at least one pound each. Even a bullfrog leapt off his lily pad and swallowed my worm. During the cleaning process, one of the sharp horns stuck in the tip of my finger. Blood oozed out and formed a red puddle on the table. I wiped it up before Mom saw it and could say once again, “Be more careful.”

Grandpa and Grandma were impressed by the big white platter of meat surrounded by a half dozen ears of corn and a bowl of mashed potatoes. Grandma baked a pie with apples from a tree in their front yard. As usual, I wished we had churned a gallon of homemade ice cream.

Chapter 3

Guarding Mom’s Garden

Born Dead Chapter 3 Scarecrow

On the first day of spring, I walked into the kitchen and sat down at the table to eat breakfast. Glad winter was over, it was bitter doing chores in the dark. The only thing made it tolerable was watching the sun come up over the ridge. It gave me new life to start the day. Soon, I would be swimming and catching fish. Normally, Mom gave me a wink and a nod and Dad asked if I slept well. But this morning, they paid me no mind.

“Something wrong?” I asked.

Dad picked up his cup and sipped steaming, black coffee. “We’re caught in a dry spell. If it don’t rain soon we’ve got ourselves pack of trouble.”

“What kind of trouble?” I looked around wondered how things could be much better. There were half dozen fried eggs on a platter with a slice of ham, a couple of fried quail breast and rabbit legs from a hunt the day before. A jar of honey, biscuits and a pitcher of mild.

Mom shook her head. “Nothing grows without water. We need hay and corn to feed the livestock. The milk cow needs grass to eat.”

“No rain means scrawny vegetables in the garden,” Dad said. “We need to store a lot of canned goods in the root cellar to get us though next winter. And we need corn for cornbread and mush and all those other dishes your mom makes for us out of cornmeal.”

Mom reached across the table and patted the back of my hand. “I’ll tell what you can do to help.”

I straightened up in my chair. “What would that be?”

Mom got up and opened the oven door on the black cast-iron cook stove. The smell of cinnamon filled the air. She grabbed a dishtowel, lifted out a steaming apple pie, and set it on the cabinet next to the water bucket.

“Your job this summer is to stop the critters,” Mom said. “We lose a lot of our food to them. This year we can’t afford to lose any. Grandma and Grandpa can no longer plant their own garden. Vegetables for both families will have to come from our patch this year.”

“How can I stop them? Critters eat whatever they want.”

Mom smiled, bowed her head, and started the breakfast prayer. “Lord, we thank you for the food and all your blessings. If you see fit to bring us some rain soon we’ll appreciate it.” Mom’s voice quavered when she asked the Lord to keep Grandma and Grandpa safe, as well.

“Amen,” Dad said. He forked a slice of ham, a quail breast and a couple of eggs onto his plate. He looked at me and raised his eyebrows. “Everybody has to pitch in during a time of need. The job of keeping critters from eating our food is all yours, son.”

I started to say that everybody knows nobody can win against Mother Nature then decided it would do no good. For the first time ever I assumed a responsibility that made me know what it feels like to be grown-up. When you live off the land and what you do affects people’s lives, scaring away critters from the food supply is serious business.

I forked a biscuit onto my plate, spread on some butter, and coated it with honey. As I washed down the warm, sweet bread with milk, I thought about what kind of animals ate from our garden. The list was long. My job would be more than just building some dumb looking scarecrow. I would have to be a lot smarter than that to stop birds and animals from eating our food. I asked to be excused from the table.

“We’ll help anyway we can,” Dad said as I started out the door.         “Your grandpa and grandma know a lot about keeping away varmints, too.”

With the banding of the screen door ringing in my ears, I walked into the garden to survey the situation. I knew Mom would start planting in the next few days, so I had no time to dilly-dally around. From helping plant the garden in the past, the first seeds in the ground would be peas, carrots, beets, turnips, radishes, and potatoes. A week or so latter would come lettuce and cabbage, then tomato and pepper transplants. The last thing to get covered with dirt would be kernels of sweet corn, a favorite of deer, crows, blackbirds, Mom, Dad, Grandpa, Grandma, and me.

The next day was Saturday. I would tag along with Dad to the livestock sale barn. Figured I’d run into folks in addition to Grandpa and Ira who would have remedies, I needed to make a list of questions to ask while Dad and I did chores, milk the cow, sloped the hogs, fed the chickens, and gather eggs, we could talk about my plan to scout things out at the sale barn.

“That sounds like a great idea and the smartest thing you could do,” Dad said. “Always good to have a plan.”

I sat under an oak tree in the front yard with a pencil and paper to list the names of all the critters I must keep out of the garden, starting with blackbirds and blue jays. Mr. Rabbit, the biggest nibbler of all was at the top of my list. Next were squirrels, raccoons, moles, crows, and deer. I drew pictures of the critters next to their names to make the project more interesting and that would help me find my place when I wanted to make a new note. Next to the pictures, I listed things I thought I would use so I could compare what I already knew to what I learned at the sale barn.

The next morning Mom made one of my favorites for breakfast, crispy-fried bacon and pancakes with chopped black walnuts mixed into the batter. I rolled the bacon into a pancake sandwich and filled it with melted butter and syrup.

After Dad and I did chores, we headed for town in the pick-up. On the way, I pulled out my list and asked a couple of questions to see what he would say, compared to what I had written down.

“You ever heard of laying a few pieces of rubber hose around in the garden to keep out the rabbits?” I asked.

The look on his face said I should check that one off my list.

“You might fool a snake into falling in love,” he said. “But I doubt you’d scare away rabbits. I’ve heard rabbits are scared of their own reflections. You might set mirrors around.”

I crossed out rubber hose, wrote mirror, and put away my paper. When we pulled into the sale barn lot, I saw half dozen people whom I figured would know the best thing to do about critters, including Ira and Grandpa.

He seemed more stooped over every time I saw him it made me sad. I walked up to ask him how to keep out birds.

He put his hand on my shoulder and steadied himself. “I hear you’re gonna save the garden crops from critters this summer.”

I smiled. “I figure you got some good advice. How am I going to keep away crows, black birds, and blue jays?”

“Whatever you do don’t let them get into a daily feeding habit,” Grandpa said, “Once they get a taste for the crop, it’s harder to chase them away.”

I waited for more.

Grandpa stroked his chin. “I’d build a scarecrow with lots of shiny buttons. Put a cowbell on it and tie that to a string. Every time a bird comes near the garden, pull the damned string.”

“Great idea!” I said. “Only thing is, I can’t sit out in the yard all day long.”

“Tie the sting to a tree branch, so when the wind blows, it rings the bell. Another thing you can do is tie some string across the garden. Birds don’t like string and wire strung around.”

I could build a scarecrow to do just what grandpa said without any trouble. I thanked him as I looked into his pale blue eyes. He walked away slowly with careful steps. He was such a kind person helped so many folks, I wished he would live forever.

My next critter to find out about was Mr. Rabbit. Ira would be the one to tell me what I should do about the most persistent pests of all. When I asked him, he seemed in a playful mood.

“The only way you can keep out rabbits is to dig a trench around the entire garden and fill it with water.”

I knew he was kidding. “This is important stuff,” I said. “If it don’t rain we’re going to need every carrot and ear of corn.”

He stepped back and grinned. “OK. Here’s what you do. It’s a bit of work, but it’s the only sure way to keep ’em out. Put up a 2-foot-tall, chicken-wire fence with the bottom tight against the ground. The mesh needs to be 1 inch or smaller to stop young rabbits from going through. There’ll be plenty of those little critters.”

“Where can I get wire?” I asked. “And what about the post? How long will it take?”

Ira slapped me on the back and shook his head. “It won’t take anytime at all. I’ll help you. I’ll even bring the wire. We can cut oak saplings from the woods for posts.”

“Thank you,” I said. “I need to do it quick.”

“This afternoon soon enough?”

I nodded. “What about stopping squirrels?”

Uncle Ira pointed at Bill Thompson, the barber. “Go ask him.”

“You could use a haircut,” Bill said, the way he always did when he saw me. I let his comment slid by and told him what was on my mind.

“I’ll give you a big bag of hair. If you mix it into the soil, there will be no squirrels in the garden. They cannot stand the smell of humans.”

I thanked him for the suggestion, but wondered if what he told me was right. I asked another man standing nearby.

”If Bill Thomson says it’s so, it is,” Jack Curtis said.

So I wrote hair to the side of my squirrel drawing.

Willie Simmons had the biggest truck patch garden in the county—5 acres or more. He grew watermelon, cantaloupe, pumpkin, and sweet corn, which he sold at the sale barn.

“You want to get rid of deer?” Willie asked when he heard me talking to Jack.

“I sure do,” I said. I always liked the way Willie dressed, he looked like a farmer, a man of the earth. Bib overalls, red plaid shirt, straw hat that looked crusty as something he might have borrowed from a scarecrow and brogans soiled with barnyard manure.

“Smelly old shoes will do the trick. Put half dozen pair on top of tomato stakes, deer won’t come near your garden. In this dry weather, I’d water them once a day so they’ll smell to high heaven. I’ve seen hungry deer circle a pair of my old boots and never set one hoof inside my truck patch. The smell helps keep away birds, rabbits, and other critters, too.”

My next worry was moles, which attack root crops. I’d seen them chew away a carrot under the ground, leaving the green tops looking good, but when I pulled it from the ground, nothing was left.

Reverend Leroy used to be a preacher—until he ran out of anything folks cared to hear him say. I asked him my next question, his big garden used to be the pride of his life. That was before he moved to a river called Big Creek and took up living in a cave.

I told him what I was up to. “How do I get rid of moles?”

“Why didn’t you ask me about raccoons?” he said. So I did, which was a mistake. He got up close to my ear like he was whispering a secret and his breath smelled as bad as five-day-old road kill on a blacktop road in hot summer sun. “Plant enough corn for both man and beast. The Lord will bless you for helping feed his creatures.”

“OK, thanks,” I said, heading away from the smell of his breath still lingering in the air.

“You want to know how to keep moles out of your garden?” Reverend Leroy shouted.

I stopped in my tracks. “Yes.” I looked at Ira and Grandpa, who were both grinning.

Reverend LeRoy ignored them. “Mix up a spray of three parts castor oil to one part lye soap. Put 4 tablespoons of this in a gallon of water, then soak the mole entrances and tunnels. They’ll go away in a jiffy once they get a snoot full of that concoction.”

“Really?”

Reverend Leroy’s disgusted look told me I had gone too far. “Wouldn’t you?”

I drew a circle in the dirt with the toe of my shoe.

“Hey, boy,” Reverend Leroy said. “Did I ever tell you about the time I got struck by lightning?”

No doubt he lingered from the effect.

The auctioneer had started his rapid-fire talking to sell the first cow. Before he was done there would be fifty or more cows, horses, pigs, goats, sheep and a dozen or more chickens and turkeys auctioned. I loved the sound of his rapid fire chant. It was like hearing a good song.

“Who’ll give me fifty dollars for this fine yearling steer? Forty five dollar bid, now fifty, will you give me fifty?

Dad didn’t buy anything we had everything we needed for the time being. On the way home Dad asked, “What did Reverend Leroy have to say?”

I told him about the tips.

“Tell you about being struck by lightning?”

I nodded.

Dad chuckled. “The blast was actually from a stick of TNT. He was illegally dynamiting fish. After that, he quit making moonshine and got religion.”

That didn’t surprise me. I turned my attention to my pest control problem. My list looked good—everything was something I could find and make-work. I could hardly wait to start the projects. Ira came by that afternoon and helped me put up chicken wire. During the next week, I followed the rest of the advice I picked up at the sale barn.

The garden had a nice yield and Mom canned plenty of vegetables for us and for Grandma and Grandpa. At summer’s end Dad said we had had the fewest number of critters in our garden of any year he could remember.

Chapter 4

Gathering Eggs at the Chicken House

I walked out the back door of our farmhouse on a warm summer morning carrying a wooden basket lined with blue and white gingham. One of my jobs each day was collecting eggs and feeding the chickens.

The air was heavy with the sweet smell of new mown hay. A ray of sunlight streaked through the leaves of a big sycamore tree that shaded the smokehouse where cut up parts of a hog I helped my grandfather butcher were stored. I blinked and looked away as I walked down the path toward the chicken house.

I opened the door and used a metal bucket to scoop up corn from a wooden storage bin. I walked back outside and stood in the middle of a feeding frenzy as a dozen Rhode Island Red hens gathered around me, clucking and pecking the corn I tossed up off the ground. The rooster who was king of the flock sat on a wooden fence post crowing. It was as if he had gotten word from the big bird I hooked that ended up dinner I was not to be trusted.

Rhode Islands are big birds with dark red feathers. A rooster can weigh up to ten pounds, and the hens go as much as eight. The reason Dad bought that breed is each hen can be counted on to lay one egg every day, which was all we needed. Mom usually fried half dozen eggs for breakfast and used the rest for baking. Sometimes she would pickle a few along with some pigs feet.

I helped Dad when he cut down an oak tree in the woods on our farm and used the lumber to build a new chicken house to replace the old one that burned down after lightning struck it. The old one was just a cobbled up affair but the new one was pretty fancy. I had a pitched roof. The north wall was shorter than the south wall. A half dozen windows on the taller wall gathered light and heat, which helped keep the flock laying eggs during winter. In a loft under the roof, we stored the straw I used when I cleaned out the twelve chicken nests, which lined the wall from one end of the fifteen-foot-long building to the other.

I carefully placed the egg from each nest into my basket as I worked my way down the line of wooden boxes. I thought I heard a noise and stopped. On occasions I had encountered rabbits, possums, a skunk, mice and a rat who wandered into the shed seeking shelter. It must be the wind, I thought, as a gust rattled one of the windows. The distraction caused me to make a big mistake. Without looking firs, I reached in the next nest and touched something that moved. The next thing I knew, a three-foot-long black snake slithered up my arm, fell onto the dirt floor and wriggled away over the top of my bare foot.

“Ahh! Ahh!” I screamed, ran out of the hen house and jumped up and down, shouting. “Snake! Snake!”

Dad rushed out of the house from the screened-in back porch. “”Did you get bit? What kind was it?”

Some of the snakes on the farm, like copperheads, were poisonous. I shook my head.

“I don’t think so,” I said.

“You know better than to reach into a nest without takin’ a look first,” Dad said.

I hung my head so he wouldn’t see tears well in my eyes. “Hope I didn’t break the eggs when I dropped the basket?”

“Come on, son. Let’s go back in the hen house and see. We’ll get the rest of the eggs.” Dad put his arm around my shoulders, and we went inside. Only one egg was broken when Trouser ate. We gathered the rest and headed back to the house. All the hens and the rooster followed us through the barn lot.

The pattern of seeing things in my mind then they happened was starting to become more frequent. The day before I saw a dead black snake in front of our house that had been run over. I had seen copperheads, king snakes and a couple I didn’t know what they were, but never a black snake until that day.


Author’s Note: This is a collection of memories that Rolland Love has written about moments or events, both public or private that took place in his life from birth until he entered college. The assertions made in the work are understood to be factual. Born Dead on a Winter’s Night is based on Love’s experiences growing up in the Ozark Mountains; however, this is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, brands, media, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Chapters 5-8.

More works by Rolland Love include:
Ozark Mountains Back in the Day Memories
Dark Side Stories
Toe Tags & TNT

Born Dead on a Winter’s Night

All rights reserved. Copyright © 2016

Other reviews:
A memoir requires the voice of a great story teller and a sense of place. Explore what it was like to grow up in the Ozarks where silence shelters dreams and rushing streams foster reality. This author gives the reader a retreat, lets us return to a place where the heart quickens to remember our own youth and days of discovery. Judith Bader Jones, author of award winning poetry https://www.facebook.com/JudithBaderJones?fref=ts

“Travel back to a time when families were self-sufficient and lived off the land. This memoir has the feel of a Mark Twain story, with tales of pigs and possums and adventures in the caves and on the rivers of the Ozark Mountains.” Mary-Lane Kamberg, best selling author
http://www.kansascitywriters.com

“Rolland, you are such a rare, witty, and honest writer! You bring us with you on every page.” Deborah Shouse Special to The Kansas City Star https://dementiajourney.org

 “Your story is unique. The style of writing makes it hard to stop reading. It flows from one vivid image to another. It should be a quick, enjoyable read for all ages. You’re a natural storyteller who has a huge library of stories.  It must be a lot of fun to write this book.” Scott Mansker, History Teacher, founder of MR-340 longest canoe/kayak race in the world. http://www.kansascity.com/news/local/article29101705.html

“Rolland the, philosophical fisherman, hits many marks with his true story.  Readers cannot help but return to their youth as they read of Rolland’s experiences and insights. Nature, adventure, danger, and wisdom earned and learned. Born Dead has it all! ” Sam Giordano, Health Care Consultant

 “Rolland has a wonderful way of bringing one back to simpler times and making you feel as if you were there. Poignant and at times humorous, this story of growing up in Ozarks is a lovely account of days gone by.” Janet Chandler, RN,

“Rolland, the way you write makes me feel like I’m along on the journey with you.” Jeannie Evans, Social Worker. Author of beautiful things.

 “I found your memoir very interesting and fun to read. Those of all ages should love your stories. The title “Born Dead on a Winter’s Night” is great. I think the chapters would be excellent resources for the classroom/children activities. Kids would be captivated.” Michael G. Gerken, Author Creating a culture of Valued Leadership 

“A Pleasant Read About Simpler Times. I knew I would like Born Dead because I have enjoyed Love’s novel Blue Hole — social media posts with the author indicated that this book, while being a true memoir was definitely connected. As I read, I could see the relationship. I grew up in a less complicated time, as the author did. I am several years older than my brother, so had a lot of similar days on my own or with cousins to fill. We had to be creative to occupy ourselves throughout the day, especially on hot summer days. Time to dream, imagine and invent. The style of writing is rather rambling and non-edited….sort of the way you would expect a person’s real story, not the ‘doctored’ story to appear. I highly recommend this book, Blue Hole and sequel River’s Edge from Rolland Love.” JudyAnn Lorenz, Author

Rolland, your book is really good I liked it a lot.  You certainly went through some hair raising experiences and I can relate to some of the snake stories as I experienced many of the same as I fished the murky waters of The Pawnee Creek looking for catfish and being careful to sidestep the snakes which were numerous. Tin Foil Girl certainly sounds like a keeper! Lynne Sieverling, CPA

Readers also had this to say about “Born Dead on a Winter’s Night.”

… Awesome, Philosophical Fisherman, True Story, Nature, Adventure, Danger, Wisdom, Unique, Vivid, Enjoyable all Ages, Natural Storyteller, Simpler Times, Great Story, You Think Outside The Box, Know How To Make Things Happen, Intriguing, Premonition and Intuition, Felt Like I Was Along On The BORN DEAD Journey, Excellent Resource for Classrooms, Kids will be captivated, Born Dead has it all! Congrat’s on a masterfully written book. You also seem to know how to make things happen, intriguing. I believe in premonition and intuition has always been a guide for me. Keep me posted. WOW, Love the writing and editing you have done with the Born Dead on a Winter’s Night memoir. 


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