Forward by Hugh Downs
Xlibris, 2002
ISBN: 1-4010-0377-X
There's something about From Thunder to Breakfast that is undeserving of a book review. Perhaps it's that to call this a "book" would be misleading, or that "review" is such a narrow term, suggesting summaries and strong opinions narrowly held. How can you review a life? In an honest moment, biographer, eulogist, and friend each would confess inadequacy. Mere words won't do.
        But when those words come from such a savvy storyteller as Hube Yates, and when they are recorded by so expert a writer as Gene K. Garrison, sensing the spirit behind the stories no longer seems impossible.
        From Thunder to Breakfast is a collection of anecdotes from the life of "Arizona pioneer, firefighter, hunting guide, dude wrangler and storyteller" Hube Yates. Add father, husband, preacher, and fearless adventurer to that list and you begin to understand the scope of this little book. Far from an autobiography, with all the self-aggrandizing nonsense that typically entails, Thunder is the most delightful book I have read in the past year. Its charm lies not in its thoroughness or even in its honesty--the reader will suspect Mr. Yates of traditional hyperbole upon occasion--but in the humility and personability of its narrator. It is easy to see past the pages, to imagine Hube Yates to be your friend, and to imagine yourself as the first person to whom he has told his tales.
        From Thunder to Breakfast narrates Hube Yates' arrival in Arizona with his family in 1914, his boisterous youth and unorthodox courtship. The reader follows him into old age and is unsurprised to find him enduring injury and the gradual decline of his physical ability with wry humor and good spirits. Through his eyes we participate in practical jokes and embrace his children's births; we watch as he rescues an old man caught in a flash flood and as he fends off 'highway' robbers who threaten all who dare to brave New Mexico's inhospitable desert.
        Because of the book's natural language and fluid structure, it's easy to forget that the stories it tells are authentic pieces of history, and that the smiling face on the cover is not that of an actor or model, but of a man who lived a life whose merit cannot adequately be measured by words. There is no accounting the number of lives his simple acts touched and improved. He embodied the American spirit. Progressive and traditional, temperate and outrageous, flexible and morally astute, Hube Yates was a role model for the pioneers of his age as well as for the young men and women of today.
        From Thunder to Breakfast is an emblematic journey into the life of a man who lived in an America that still lingers beneath the haste and wastefulness of everyday life. It is highly recommended to students of folklore, history, and human nature.