cover image Once More to the Rodeo: A Memoir

Once More to the Rodeo: A Memoir

Calvin Hennick. Pushcart (Norton, dist.), $16.95 trade paper (220p) ISBN 978-1-888889-97-0

Freelance journalist Hennick delivers a moving debut memoir detailing a 10-day road trip he took with his five-year-old son Nile from their home outside Boston to the annual rodeo in Hennick’s “tiny hometown” of Maxwell, Iowa. He endearingly captures the father-son experiences they shared along the way, such as a visit to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y., where Nile saw his first baseball game; eating Chinese takeout in a Motel 6 (“Why did they put gooey carrots in here, too?” his son asks); and playing with Hennick’s old friend’s kids at the rodeo. Hennick’s thoughts are influenced by recollections of his relationship with his father (“a cancer and a toxin”), as well concerns about the life his biracial son will have in America (Hennick is white; his wife is black). Throughout, Hennick ruminates on the nature of fatherhood and how to teach his son “some sort of Cosmic Answers about Manhood” and “to contemplate what it means to be a man, and what it means to raise one.” By trip’s end, he realizes that his biggest fear had been “turning into my dad,” and he is satisfied in his efforts to make Nile’s trip “the most fun anyone’s ever had.” Hennick’s touching memoir captures both the fear and fun in raising a son. (Dec.)