HUBE YATES — did you ever hear of him? He was a superb storyteller, and Gene K. Garrison a savvy writer, as a fine reviewer called her.
Hube is no longer with us, but people who knew him can hear his voice when they read the book. If you didn’t meet him during his lifetime, this is your opportunity to get acquainted with a Southwesterner who has been described as colorful, warm, delightful, rugged — a whole list of impressive adjectives.
Hugh Downs, who wrote the foreword, said in part, “Every subject or event that intersects his life, every experience he files in his almost computer-like memory is stamped with the grace of an outlook that is humane and helpful, devoid of self-centeredness or bitterness, and amused by most of the cosmic panorama.
“These are the attributes of large-souled people and if the shoe fits, knowing Hube, I doubt he’d trade one of his boots for it. On top of all this he can be as funny as any narrator I’ve listened to.”
The title, From Thunder to Breakfast, comes from a Texas expression: from hell to breakfast, but Hube didn’t say hell. He was a preacher’s son. It means scattered all over the place. For example, when he was a teenager (about 1919) he drove his younger brother and sister from Colorado to Gallup, New Mexico in a Model-T Ford in order for them to catch a train to Phoenix. The car loaded with suitcases, boxes, three kids, and good old bulldog Sam was wending its way over the switchbacks of Wolf Creek Pass.
“I kept afeelin’ my brake to see if it was getting’ hot. I finally decided it was, and shoved it down in low. I tried my reverse. I tried them all. The first thing I knew, I didn’t have anything. I was goin’ about thirty miles an hour around one of those bends and there was no way to stop . . . I just laid that car upside-down right in the middle of the road, all four wheels in the air. The luggage and everything else we were carryin’ went from thunder to breakfast all over the road.”
So there you have it — the meaning of “from thunder to breakfast.”
The phrase reminded me of the memories scattered throughout Yates’ life, which became the subject of the book.
Hube Yates’ charming vernacular, and the ability to tell a story captured my attention. He had such a memory for detail that he could take you back to events that happened before you were born, and you got a mental image of it.
He was a hero too — saved an old man from drowning in the
flooding Salt River in a hailstorm one night in 1931. Although he was a Phoenix fireman at the time, his actions were above and beyond the call of duty. He received the Carnegie Hero’s Medal of Honor for that one. The medal was impressive, but the thousand-dollar check paid off his mortgage. That was a happy day!
Let’s Look At A Few Reviews
Rebecca Brown, Editor of RebeccasReads.com
It is 1914 and Hube Yates is all of eleven years old when his minister father uproots his family from the 160-acre claim which he had homesteaded when the Cherokee Strip was run. With his wife and seven children, two wagons pulled by mules, they headed out from Guthrie, Oklahoma to faraway Phoenix.
Along the way they came across Indians and bandits, posses and pigs, quicksand and bears, rivers and the Roosevelt Dam — all perfect adventures for a boy of eleven.
And so the stories keep coming . . . stories of another time in another place, told with quiet, understated turn of phrase . . . stories uncluttered and simply told, with the cadence of an old-time storyteller. . .
Legendary Hube Yates caught the attention of Gene K. Garrison, a freelance writer, and he kept her spellbound. From Thunder to Breakfast is the appealing result of their collaboration of talents.
Ann Hagerty, Today’s News-Herald
Known for his easy-going nature, his dislike of bullies and his extraordinary practical jokes, Yates was a Phoenix firefighter, a minister, boxer, hunting guide and one heck of a storyteller. When freelance author Gene K. Garrison met him she already knew his life was made of one interesting story after another. She kept hearing about his exploits.
Yates arrived in Phoenix before most of its streets were paved, and explored countless Arizona wildernesses. The extraordinary man’s adventures include saving several lives, winning a long-distance bicycle race from Tucson to Phoenix, surviving an attempted ambush by bandits in the desert, accidentally walking off the side of a snow-covered cliff while carrying an elk carcass, causing ruckuses, defending underdogs, going on a deep-sea fishing expedition, and showing up to perform a wedding, only to discover that it’s at a nudist colony.
Master storyteller’s tales of early Southwest overflow with humor and charm.
Hugh Downs in the foreword to From Thunder to Breakfast:
Hube Yates was not among the surprises I expected when I moved to Arizona. I had certain sets of ideas about what I could encounter on taking up residence here. I knew there were rugged individualists and reliable, honest men embodying old-time virtues now somewhat eroded in other parts of the country. Hube is all of these, but this is not all of Hube.
When you first meet him you can see he is rugged. You would judge him to be dependable in a pinch, because he looks like he must know the land; and a look in his eye steers you to the notion that he is probably pleasant to be around. You might conclude that he is the strong silent type. On this you would be exactly fifty percent right. He is no weakling, but “silent” is not an adjective that easily adheres to Hube Yates. To our considerable good fortune, he has no reticence to loquate.
What can this book do for you?
For starters, it will surely put a smile on your face. You’ll read a little history here and there without even realizing it. You’ll discover a man who lived through a practical-joke period. You’ll wonder how he and his friends could come up with such creative wildness. You’ll be amazed by his memory — so precise about long-ago occurrences. The book is full of image-rich phrases. To read his stories is to heighten one’s awareness.
What to do:
Of course you can buy From Thunder to Breakfast at any time, but if you do it exactly on November 29 it will help make the book an Amazon best-seller on that particular date.
Here’s how: Go to http://www.amazon.com and
search the title.
If you would rather make a toll-free phone call to the publisher, call 1-888-795-4274. The URL IS http://www.xlibris/bookstore.
Sample chapters are on both websites.
The book is available in both soft and hard covers.
Prices are $21.99 and $31.99.
After you order the book, e-mail me at and tell me where you ordered it (Amazon or Xlibris). In appreciation, I will e-mail you two special gifts:
A touching story I wrote about this remarkable man,
titled Hube and His Dad, published in 1979. At the time of the event Hube was only six years old—five
years beore the family started off from Guthrie, Oklahoma in covered wagons, heading for the unknown—Phoenix, Arizona.
The second gift is an e-mailed audio of Hube Yates
telling a portion of a story. I found my audio tapes six years after they disappeared. They are so rare
that I am the only person who has them. It was great
to hear his voice again even though he died in 1980.
Please forward this to people on your mailing list. Thank you! May you enjoy From Thunder to Breakfast.
Gene K. Garrison