I’m sitting in a coffee shop with Dennis King, listening as he regales me with stories about his early adventures in Georgetown.
There was the summer that he and his cousin, Brady, signed up to cut Alec Arsenault’s lawn and how, after four weeks the veteran with the raspy voice had not ponied up with the cash to pay them. So, Brady, who was 12 (King was 10), asked if he could take his old 1965 Ford Station Wagon in trade. He agreed, and the escapade of grand proportions followed.
Suddenly, a wave of nostalgia comes over him and his eyes widen.
“It was an important time in my life,” says King who has included this adventure in his new book, “The Legend of Bubby Stevens”.
The 227-page soft-cover volume is filled with stories about growing up poor in Kings County and the people and the situations that he encountered.
Whether it was living in a three-bedroom house with his 10-member family, his mother Cattie saving pennies at the supermarket with Triple Milk and margarine, the excitement of renting a VCR for the first time or the much-anticipated Kentucky Fried Chicken feast that followed the family’s annual tax return cash-in, there’s lots of funny moments.
“Part of the wonderment of looking back really is you can blaze past the bad stuff and get right to the good stuff…. We editorialize over the difficulties.”
While the book shows the lighter side of things, it has a few serious moments.
“There’s more connectivity woven into them.”
Like the movie, “Stand by Me” there are some coming-of-age stories, incuding the loss of a much-loved pet and dealing with a death in a small community.
“This one shows a different side of me. The funniness and texture are still there, but there’s some seriousness. But I still like to present them in a simple way.”
Dennis King fast facts
Copies of his new book, “The Legend of Bubby Stevens” is available from P.E.I. bookstores
Besides being an author, King is a member of The Four Tellers, a group that also includes Gary Evans, David Weale, Alan Buchanan.
The group is performing Mondays, June 25 to Sept. 3, at Kings Playhouse in Georgetown. Showtime is 7:30 p.m. Later in the summer there are performances at Victoria Playhouse on Sept. 7 and 8, 7:30 p.m. and Sept. 9, 2 p.m.
Sally Cole is an entertainment writer with The Guardian. She welcomes comments about her column as well as suggestions for future columns from readers. She may be reached at sally.cole@TheGuardian.pe.ca or by phone at 902-629-6000, ext. 6054.