Sitting down with Park’s first book, ‘The Best/Most Book I,’ is like sitting at the foot of your grandfather while he spins yarns about the good old days.
Interspersed throughout the book, Park regales the reader with tales of his childhood, schooling, and beyond.
Tunkhannock’s own Bob Parkison, who penned the book under the nom de plume of Park, said the reason for writing the book was, “to enlighten and entertain the reader, to document these experiences and stories for posterity, and in the hope that each reader will glean at least one jewel that will enrich their life.”
“Most of the narratives are from things that happened long ago and as a consequence, my memory may be a bit hazy,” he wrote in the book’s introduction.
In his hardcover novel, he introduces short stories in groups of four. The first three are labeled ‘The Best’ and the final entry is ‘The Most.’
Each chapter begins with a title referencing an aphorism, a short phrase that expresses a true or wise idea. Then, he partners each saying with a personal anecdote.
“I just wanted to get all my experiences written down in one place,” said Park. “My friend Chuck Pirone helped me get it all organized and put together for the publisher.”
Park tells stories, most of which have a sports theme or relation, and peppers in some famous athletes.
In “The Most outrageous story I ever told,” Park relays a quip about his “fight” with all Big Ten and All American football player Ray Nitschke, who went on to play for the Green Bay Packers.
In “The Best no doesn’t mean no story,” he talks about his time at the 1996 Olympics, while working at the volleyball venue, denying world renowned player Karch Keraly’s wife access to the court. Interestingly, this story also has appearances by then Vice President Al Gore, and NBC news commentator Katie Couric.
Some stories, such as “The Best secondary effect story” reflect recent events, such as Northeast Pennsylvania’s devastation by Hurricane Irene, and some stories are his recollections of his father’s ball-playing days in 1938, like “The Best that’s how bad we need a second baseman story.”
A personal favorite is “The Best newspaper article I ever wrote,” because it is a relatable story.
Park was a sports writer in his earlier days, and after a brief tale to set the background story of where he was in 1951 for Bobby Thompson’s pennant-winning home run, long known as the “shot heard ‘round the world,” he explained a later-in-life meeting with the New York Giant.
“The occasion prompted me to write an article about hearing live his momentous round-tripper and my later meeting him,” wrote Park. “A few weeks later, a neighbor ...handed me a copy of my article encased in plastic and signed by Thompson. Thompson was a neighbor of her parents in New Jersey.”
Not all stories are sports-related, as Park tells of his childhood days in Illinois, and one snippet even talks about a two-story outhouse.
Stories like these make the concept of Park’s book relatable, and leaves the reader asking for more.
That, he explains in his introduction, is why he ended the title of the book with the Roman Numeral I, because if the book is a success, he wants the option of writing a sequel.
The book itself, is in its first printing from the self-publishing group, Newman Springs Publishing.
Park recently received five copies of the tome and is waiting for the details from the company on how to obtain more.