W. Floyd Elliott
Outskirts Press (2016)
Reviewed by Paige Lovitt for Reader Views (02/17)
W. Floyd Elliott the author, now past his mid-eighties, reminisces about growing up in the 1930s and 1940s in his memoir, “Tangled Trails.” Growing up in East Texas among extended family provided him a lot of stories to share. Times were a lot different back then–some good ways, and some not so good ways, yet still very interesting to read. Because Elliott turned out well, many of his stories are also tributes to people who had a positive influence on his life. The biggest tribute is the dedication of this book to his wife, with whom he shared sixty-six years of marriage.
Elliott’s tales range from being chased by an alligator while investigating an abandoned graveyard, to watching artificial respiration being performed on his chicks after they had almost drowned. Castrating roosters by reading the directions from a manual was another unique tale! Getting involved with mischief kept Elliott’s life interesting in a way that was fun but didn’t involve really doing anything bad. An example of this is a story about him gaining the title of King of the Sewers! There are also heartwarming remembrances about animals that had an impact on his life, including a horse named Tony. Health care back in those days was also very different. Some examples included having to be quarantined because of scarlet fever, and another one was using kerosene to treat a nail wound in his foot. Things are done very differently today, and in this case, it is probably for the better!
While it would seem like this would only be a perfect book for Elliott’s family members, I must say that I fully enjoyed stepping back in time and feeling as if I was listening to the author narrate as I read along, even though I am not related. It is refreshing to read about adventures that took place during a time before technology, when youth could go out and create memories that didn’t involve being chained to a television or social media. In addition to be an engaging story, “Tangled Trails” by W. Floyd Elliott shows us that wonderful memories can be created and still shared over seventy years later!