Tulsa Times – By Merrill Davies
Angry and betrayed, Jonny disappears from his job in Michigan in 1929 and drives his T-model Ford west, hoping to leave his troubles behind. He arrives in Tulsa, Oklahoma, with nothing except a few clothes and his last paycheck. His admirable work ethic leads him to work in both the oil fields and a local hospital, but his lack of education holds him to the lowest-paying jobs.
During his seven years in Tulsa, Jonny watches people struggle with dust storms and depression-era economics. He buys shoes for children in soup lines and enjoys going to Cain’s Ballroom and hearing Bob Wills in the evenings. A dear friend helps him understand that he can’t run away from his troubles. When his friend dies of dust pneumonia, he decides to return to his Kentucky home, where he has recently been declared dead. Amidst family and friends who are not always sympathetic with his plight, he begins the long journey toward a better life.
Merrill Davies taught high school English for 31 years and served as debate and literary events coach and yearbook advisor. The Best Version of Alice is her fifth novel, and she has published one volume of poetry, Branches of Love (Nurturing Faith, 2018). She is active in Toastmasters, Rome Area Writers, and her church.