This is a memoir from one of the South's best writers. Happiness is precious. For some people happiness is hard-won, slowly distilled from the grit of rasping days. For others, like Sam Pickering, happiness has come easily. In ""A Comfortable Boy"", Pickering describes the early years of childhood, rolling back through time on the wheels of anecdotal memory. With an eye peeled for detail, he recalls family and places. He meanders farm and school, roaming Tennessee and Virginia. He notices things that others sometimes miss or at least neglect. Recently, he wrote that he saw two stickers on the rear window of a rusting Pontiac, the warning 'Baby on Board' inexplicably beside the command 'Drive It Like You Stole It'. He owns three dogs, all mongrels rescued from the streets of Hartford, and he calls the trowel he uses to scoop up their droppings 'Excalibur'. For Pickering life's pleasures are endless, lurking amid the wildflowers of field and wood or sprouting in paragraphs written to his great-grandmother during the Civil War. In part ""A Comfortable Boy"" reveals what made Pickering a successful teacher and writer, not the wound of the suffering Romantic but instead the simple joy and gratitude for being born in the South at a certain time in a particular place and in a specific family among people, he writes, 'whom it was impossible not to love and not to laugh at and with'.