My conversations with Cheddar are not confined to the house or backyard. They occur during our walks in the forest, in the park, and during the running of our many errands. On these outdoor adventures, our talks cover many non-walk subjects, but every park and forest conversation includes the weather, squirrels, cats and dogs and their owners, trees, and other vegetation. Cheddar has contributed greatly to my knowledge of the outdoors and canines.
Chaos cluttered the streets of New York City back then, which in the 1960s was all about Burn, Baby, Burn, especially in the ghetto neighborhoods where buildings were being incinerated. The cops were pigs. Revolutionaries were stirring up trouble on the Lower East Side. Squatters moved in everywhere. Lots of heroin was going down. And the French Connection was strong. The city was a place where nobody gave a rat’s ass about anybody but themselves.
…So begins the story of “A Collection of Bummer Summers.”
“The mostly true stories in the first section of this book are reasonably accurate, although in several cases the truth has been rubber-banded. Interspersed are short stories composed entirely of lies. Plus, I’ve sprinkled in a few poems because poetry slows us down, forcing us to take time to ponder. Pondering seems to be in short supply these days.”
“Hankering For The Way It Was is about me trying to grow up on a large farm during the 1940s and 1950s. It is about the dangers, the losses, and some of the fun, too. I loved my dogs, my 1949 Red Ryder BB gun, my genuine four-strand lariat, Saturday’s double-feature movies, and the joy of trying to keep my hardworking dad awake in church. ” — Roger G. Ritchey
The Unnatural Aging of Cheese is a collection of absolutely true humorous short stories that recount the painfully slow maturation process of one New Jersey slacker (nicknamed “Cheese”) as he transitions from wild party animal to mild-mannered parent and bumbling homeowner.