Includes the following short stories:
- Uncle Sidney and the Mexicans
- The Pilot
- Taking a Second Look
- We Build Churches, Inc.
- When It’s Decoration Day
- Lower Me Down with a Golden Chain
- The Convict
“Uncle Sidney and the Mexicans” focuses on a maverick tomato picker, fired for petty reasons and deprived of a day’s pay, who is hired by the narrator’s uncle and enabled thereby both to revenge himself on his former boss and to teach a lesson about Mexicans to the local bigots.
A younger narrator, in “Losses,” is troubled in the confessional by his priest’s reluctance to condemn. Only long afterward does he comprehend the arrogance youthful innocence that refuses to countenance human flaws.
The closing sentence in “When It’s Decoration Day,” about a young Civil War soldier, elegantly epitomizes the subtle impact of Burke’s storytelling: as a shell bursts, the boy “thought he felt a finger reach up and anoint him casually on the brow.”
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