The Ta Ta Weenie Club

Review by SB Alec of the Central Vermont Silverbacks

The Ta Ta Weenie Club is a sockdolager in the storytelling tradition, a collection of rollicking tales that made me whoop and laugh. [Editor’s note: For others who had to look it up, a “sockdolager”is a powerful thing, or person]

To borrow a phrase from author Bill Torrey, I was “as happy as a dog with two tails” when I discovered them. Whether you’re joining Bill in “Horsing a Potato Hook” or “Turd Grade,” grab the book with one hand, your favorite beverage with the other, and settle into your easy chair. You might just be there for a while.

This fella knows how to tell a story. If you want to listen to Bill’s stories rather than read them, you can go to his website and see where he is performing, or you can find him on youtube. One common denominator in his stories is colorful—and I mean colorful!—language. He is a master of hilarious comparison.

When Bill and his new buddy Harvey Mallard sneak onto the Ethan Allen Firing Range in search of super trout, and an army helicopter strafes the beaver pond where they were poaching fish minutes earlier, Bill’s “eyes bug out like a stepped-on toad’s.” One of Bill’s characters is so cold he “shakes like a dog passing a pine cone,” and another is “nuttier than a squirrel turd.” But the colorful language and humor you’ll find in stories like “Bush Buggy” and “Joy” are not all Bill Torrey has to offer. In the poignant tale, “A Walk in the Garden,” he talks about how his mother died on the operating table at fifty-three and how this affected what he did with his life afterward. Anyone who has heard, but not really understood, Ethan Allen’s declaration that the “gods of the hills are not the gods of the valleys,” may gain insight into Allen’s thought from Bill’s story “On the Hunt.” In “Nine to Five,” Bill discovers that vandals have broken the gauges on his logging equipment at a remote jobsite. Suspense builds when he waits for the perpetrators with a baseball bat and a camera, but the outcome is a surprise. “Celebration” reveals a romantic side to Bill Torrey, a man who well remembers his father’s warning that “life isn’t all romance.”

A vein of humor runs through all these stories, not because Bill thinks everything is hee-haw funny, but because he understands that humor is just a special pair of eyeglasses. If you’re wearing those glasses, you can watch life turn bottom-side up and go in the ditch, but you’re still game to get your wreck back on the road and shift it into go-forward. Thanks for the ride, Bill!

Learn more at: billtorreyvt,com

Alec Hastings is a Silverback, an outdoorsman, a flutist, and a famous Vermont author. although not necessarily in that order.

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