What can we learn about life, love, and artillery from aneighty-two-year-old man whose favorite hobby is firing hishomemade cannons? Visit by visit often with his youngdaughters in tow author Michael Perry finds out.
Toiling in his shop, Tom Hartwig makes gag shovel handles, parts forquarter-million-dollar farm equipment, and now and then batchesof potentially extralegal explosives. Tom, who is approaching his sixtiethwedding anniversary with his wife, Arlene, and is famous for drivinga team of oxen in local parades, has stories dating back to the days ofhis prize Model A and an antiauthoritarian streak refreshed daily by theinterstate that was shoved through his front yard in 1965 and now dumpsmore than eight million vehicles past his kitchen window every year. Andyet Visiting Tom is dominated by the elderly man's equanimity andultimately when he and Perry converse as husbands and the fathers ofdaughters unvarnished tenderness.
About the Author
Perry holds the Howard J. Trienens Chair in Law at Northwestern University Law School.