The second of four presentations on the theme “Family” will be Oct. 20 at the McAlester Public Library.

Robert W. Greenstreet, professor of communication at East Central University in Ada, will lead the discussion.

Greenstreet and participants in the “Let’s Talk About It, Oklahoma” program will take a close look at “This House of Sky: Landscapes of a Western Mind,” by Ivan Doig. The book, a memoir about growing up in Montana, is a tribute to a disappearing way of life.

Discussions begin at 6 p.m. and conclude at 7:45 p.m. Two other discussions are slated for later this fall.

“This House of Sky” begins with the death of Doig’s mother at 31, when the author was only six. From that day on, he and his father, Charlie, became inseparable partners and unique friends.

The failure of his father’s second marriage brings the pair closer together and causes the author to feel “as though I was already grown and raised.” Doig recounts “an awareness that I was being counted special by being allowed into this blazing grownup world” of saloons and high adventure on the range.

There are few children in the small Montana town, and Doig tells how he was “boarded out” with other families to attend school in the winter, while his father worked the high country.

To stabilize their small family, the father summons Bessie “Lady” Ringer, the author’s maternal grandmother. Much of the book is taken up with the forging of a family trinity, as mother and son begrudgingly bury their differences in their greater love for the child.

Greenstreet, who is active with the Ada Friends of the Library group, will help local readers understand the forces that shaped the author’s talent as a writer. The father’s daredevil antics and extraordinary stories, as well as Lady’s freewheeling slang, highlight the tale.

Lives that seem harsh nevertheless evoke lyrical descriptions, and actions become heroic as they play out against a Montana horizon. From an unorthodox upbringing emerges an affirmation of traditional virtues embodied in the Doig family’s closeness and their honesty with others.

The ECU professor has a Ed.D. in higher education and speech communications from Oklahoma State University. He earned his master’s degree at Western Washington University and his Bachelor’s at the University of the Pacific.

He has taught communication at ECU since 1984. He has hosted the Oklahoma Intercollegiate State Speech and Debate Tournament, published over 20 academic pieces and made presentations at conferences, workshops and seminars. He is an active Rotarian.

A lifetime member of the Phi Kappa Phi academic honor society, Greenstreet has been awarded for teaching excellence, Rotary Club service, and work with libraries on local and state levels.

The remaining sessions in the fall “Let’s Talk About It, Oklahoma” program are:

• Nov. 3, “Ordinary People,” by Judith Guest, presented by Lewis Parkhill; and

• Nov. 17, “During the Reign of the Queen of Persia,” by Joan Chase, presented by Trisha Yarbrough.

“The Way We Were, The Way We Are: Seasons in the Contemporary American Family” is the overall theme for the book discussions this fall.

Call 426-0930 for more information.

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