Southern Scribe
    our culture of storytelling


  Memoir  Review    


Rough as a Cob: More from the Juliette Journals
By Ed Williams
River City Publishing, 2003
Hardcover, $ 24.95    (149 pages)
ISBN: 1-57966-037-1



Southern humorist Ed Williams got his feet wet as an author with Sex, Dead Dogs and Me.  The surprising success of what he expected to hand out to family and friends, put Williams on the chicken banquet tour as an entertaining speaker; made him a syndicated columnist; got him nominated for the Georgia Author of the Year Award in Creative Non-Fiction; and was his ticket to meeting his favorite rock band Bachman-Turner Overdrive (BTO). 

In Rough as a Cob, his second collection of essays, Williams expands from his own escapades to those of his father (Ed Jr.) and grandfather (Ed Sr.).  It is clear that his straightforward honesty, bawdy sense of humor, and love of family and tradition are well-rooted in Juliette, Georgia.   

The cover of the book features an outhouse (for those too young to remember, think proto-potty at home).  The title “rough as a cob” is in reference to the object used for ….hmmm….wiping afterwards.  And we all thought that the Sears catalog was the only thing used back then.  Seems that corn cobs were placed in a bucket for that purpose.  The title essay is a memory of William’s father when the family got indoor plumbing, but the older boys would still have to use the outhouse in the morning, so they did not disturb the rest of the family at that hour.  Well, that didn’t sit well with the boys.  And later, it didn’t sit well with their sister, when one broke the indoor toilet. 

There are the dating lessons from Ed Sr. and Ed Jr. that will have the reader laughing so hard that they will cry.  Ed Jr. gives the young author a lesson in poetry that would turn a first grade teacher’s hair blue.  His father also takes care of a visiting preacher on Super Bowl Sunday. 

The Brotherhood (Ed Williams and his friends Ray and Hugh) return in book two with more road trips and outrageous fun.  Bored at Georgia College, the boys and about 60 male friends head to Macon’s Georgia Championship Wrestling to cheer for the bad guys (the one the rural crowd would not be for).  Talk about tempting fate.  They egg on a crowd of angry country folk with bad teeth, and live to tell about it. 

After Sex, Dead Dogs and Me, Ed Williams became Internet friends with BTO’s Robin Bachman, which led to an invitation backstage at a Charleston, South Carolina concert.  The Brotherhood hit the road, but of course, this couldn’t be a simple drive over.  There was an incident of public exposure to a busload of travelers, then Ray and Hugh had to share a bed.  It was a touchy situation. 

The bawdy nature of Williams humor did cross a line at one point with the publisher.  One story – “Sally the Screamer” – didn’t make the final cut.  But Ed Williams will e-mail you a copy, if you buy the book.    

The state of Georgia finally has a humorist to pick up the torch left by Lewis Grizzard.  Georgia Tech alumni finally have a humorist for their team.  Funny, we’ve been laughing at Tech for decades. Oh, hush, I’m a SC Gamecock.


Joyce Dixon
Southern Scribe Reviews


© 2003, Southern Scribe Reviews, All Rights Reserved