Winniford wonderfully illustrates and interprets the culture of a small, isolated community of Texas as it existed some fifty years ago. She examines the different cultural trends and distinctive storytelling modes of both sides of her family through analogy with the two graveyards where four generations of her family are buried.
Just as the two graveyards reflect contrasting lifestyles and value systems, so do the stories told by the two branches of Winniford's family. On her father's side, stories were told at family gatherings on holiday, during farm activities such as hog killings and cotton picking, and even while taking refuge from vile Texas weather in the storm cellar. Storytellers, who were usually men, told their engaging stories to a boisterous audience.
On the other hand, among members of the maternal side of her family, women were the chief storytellers, and their stories, which emphasized moral lessons and the supernatural, were told to a more quiet and intense audience, either in the privacy of the home or, in memorable instances, while working on the upkeep of graveyards.
With this collection of tales told through a variety of voices, Winniford recreates the personalities of the original storytellers and the situations in which their tales were shared and gives analytic insight into folklore.
Folklore scholars, Texas history enthusiasts, or anyone who likes a good story is invited to join Winniford on her journey home.
About the Author
Published by Texas A&M University Press