Mossy Creek Readers' Guide

1. Amos Royden, Police Chief of Mossy Creek, is an extraordinary man. Knowledgeable of the law, he tempers justice with common sense. Discuss both the favorable and unfavorable aspects of his application of the law. Could such a police chief really exist today?

2. The town of Mossy Creek is fictional, but could be similar to many small towns across America. Is it more likely that these small towns would flourish in the South? Could some metropolitan areas, such as the boroughs of New York, have a similar atmosphere?

3. Mossy Creekites are proud of their heritage. They love the intimacy of living in a small town. Is it possible that the ethnic neighborhoods of larger towns possess that same feeling? How are the folks who live in those ethnic neighborhoods similar to Mossy Creekites? How are they different?

4. Miss Ida Hamilton, mayor of Mossy Creek, is a feisty, independent woman. She has a small bronze plaque, given to her by her husband, that says: Tradition, Courage. Love. Can you find evidence in the story "Ida Shoots the Sign" of these qualities in Ida? Is she like other women of this century?

5. Mossy Creek's motto is, "Ain't Going Nowhere. Don't Want To." Discuss what this really means. Do you really think it means that nobody in Mossy Creek wants progress? Or does it have more to do with the atmosphere of friendship and caring that exists there?

6. In "A Day in the Life," Sandy practically attacks the woman peering into Miss Lorna's window. Is her behavior rational? Is this just one more indication of the lengths folks in small towns go to in order to protect their fellow citizens? Would this type of behavior ever happen or be tolerated in larger towns?

7. Is the handling of Casey Blackshear's disability believable? Would the courage this woman shows in "Casey at the Bat" encourage others with disabilities to strive to do more? Does her story typify the way "normal" people react to people with disabilities? Does this story encourage you to examine your own feelings toward people with disabilities?

8. What caused Maggie Hart to return to Mossy Creek? Why has she never married? Are her reasons realistic? Do you believe Maggie is hiding behind her mother's illness as a reason to avoid lasting relationships that develop into something more? Discuss Maggie's relationship with Smokey. Discuss Maggie's developing relationship with Tag. Does this relationship show a glimmer of hope for Maggie and Tag?

9. In "Your Cheatin' Dart," is the rivalry realistic? Discuss why or why not? In such contests, is the outcome more important or the playing of the game? What is Michael Conners' philosophy of life? Do you find him intriguing? Would you enjoy sitting at O'Days and discussing politics with Michael and the regulars?

10. Jayne Reynolds and Ingrid Beechum in "The Naked Bean" are both running from their pasts. How are their lives similar? How are they different? What are each of these women doing to overcome the obstacles life has put before them?

11. Do you know people who share Sue Ora Salter's fascination with death? What is her fascination with the subject? Do you believe it stems from a fear of her own death? Discuss how age affects our interest in dying. The humorous manner in which this story is told draws us into the action. Discuss the use of humor in this story and others in Mossy Creek. Is it an effective device for character development? How?

12. The eccentricities of these characters, like most Mossy Creekites, are typical of people everywhere. Is it true that in small towns, our eccentricities are lovable traits, while in larger cities they cause friction between neighbors?