Bambi and the power of a good story.


It’s not the book you read that’s important.

It’s the power of the story in the book.

I saw an old friend this afternoon, Larry Turner.

He and I had gone to school together a long time ago and in a galaxy far, far away, and rarely do we cross paths.

However, we do know each other better now than we did then.

Larry was a member of the cool set.

He ran with a different pack than I did.

They wore black leather jackets.

They snapped their fingers when they walked.

They wore long, slicked-back ducktail haircuts.

They looked like they rode motorcycles.

They didn’t, not all of them anyway.

They didn’t want to look like Elvis Presley.

Elvis wanted to look like they did.

And the black leather jacket pack loved two things.


And girls.

In that order.

And they liked their cars and their girls the same way.


And sleek.

I watched them from afar, and only from afar.

I was out of their league.

Larry and the black leather jacket boys were out drag racing.

I still rode the school bus.

They were swinging the girls around a jukebox.

I had a radio station that picked up two stations.

Country music.

And static.

Larry Turner had no business making it through Kilgore High School.

That’s what he told me.

He was sharp.

He was far smarter than most.

But he thought sharp had to do with jell in his hair and the creases in his jeans.

It wasn’t cool to be smart in those days.

Larry looked at school.

He looked at algebra.

He watched Miss Hill look for X.

He preferred cool.

Miss Hill could or couldn’t find X as far as he was concerned.

He hadn’t lost it.

He wasn’t looking for it.

Don’t blame him if he was gone.

And Larry said he certainly didn’t have time for reading.

He thought the three R’s stood for ‘riting, ‘rithmatic, and racing.

“I didn’t start reading until I retired,” he told me.

“Why start at all?” I asked.

“It wasn’t until then that I found a book I wanted to read,” he said.

“What was it?”

“You’re gonna love it,” he said. “Guess what it was.’

“Can’t,” I said.

“Bambi,” he said. “I found a first edition in a second hand bookstore down in Austin, and thought it looked interesting.”

“Did you see the movie?” I wanted to know

“What movie?” he asked.

I shrugged.

“It changed my life,” Larry said.


“Bambi.” He grinned. “Until then, I thought reading was just a bunch of words,” he said. “Bambi taught me different, and now I’ll read three or four books a month.” Larry paused a moment, then added, “It changed the way I look at life, too.”

“How’s that?”

“I live out in the country,” he said.

I nodded.

“I have some of the most beautiful berry bushes you’ll ever see,” he said.

“I’ve picked many of East Texas blackberries,” I said.

“Now I come home at night, turn into my driveway, and the headlights will sweep across as many as six or seven deer in the yard.”

“It must be a beautiful sight.”

“They’re all eating my berries,” he said.

“What do you do?”


“Why not?”

“One of them might be Bambi,” he said. “Bambi’s got to eat, too.”

It wasn’t the book.

The choice of words didn’t make any difference.

It was the power of the story.

It always is.


Please click the book cover image to read more about Caleb Pirtle III and his books.

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