Ken Mather has rounded up some favourite stories.
The Spallumcheen historian has compiled 60 of his columns from The Morning Star into a new book, Ranch Tales: Stories from the B.C. Frontier.
“Our heritage is really rich. I think it will fill a need,” he said, adding that the goal of the stories is to keep people entertained.
They’re about 500 words long so each one is a good read.”
Mather first started writing columns for The Morning Star in 2007, and the public response has been overwhelming.
“People stop me in the street and say how much they like the columns,” he said.
He hopes that will translate into an interest for the book, his fourth but his first self-published. One thousand copies have been printed.
“It’s a gamble because they could sit in a box for 20 years but I think there are 1,000 people who liked the columns,” he said.
The books will be sold through www.kenmather.com and he may have some available in book stores.
When asked which is his favourite story, he replies, “They’re all like my children.”
But, when pressed, Mather admits his favourite is The Big Kid, the tale of Jim Madden, a ranch hand in the Nicola.
One story revolves around Madden inviting a guest to stay for dinner.
“The visitor felt somewhat dismayed when he spotted a long black tail, which bore a suspicious resemblance to that of a muskrat, protruding from the pot. Sure enough when lunchtime arrived, the Big Kid pulled from the pot, a muskrat, complete with hide, guts, feet and eyes,” wrote Mather.
“Then, before the visitor’s astonished eyes, he stripped the skin off and placed the cooked carcass on a plate. Carefully spooning out wheat that had been boiled in the same pot, he dug in with relish.”
For Mather, The Big Kid has the right mix of both history of humour.
“He was a real character,” said Mather.
Mather continues to write a column for The Morning Star.
“I have a lot of material yet — good stories,” he said.