“The stories are all true,” said Dan Steinbeck about the more than 250 family stories in his first book, “Nuts, Squirrels, and Knotholes in the Family Tree.”
Steinbeck, a lifelong Canton, Mo., resident, has been involved in the publishing business for many years, but this is his first book. His parents, David and JoAnn Steinbeck, formerly owned the Canton Press-News, where Dan and his two sisters also worked at various times. Now Deana’s family lives in Indianapolis, while Jennifer’s family is still in Canton.
After the Steinbeck family sold the paper in 2010, Dan continued to serve as editor until July of 2012. He is now advertising coordinator for the Missouri Baptist Convention journal “Pathway” and also pastor of Southern Baptist Fellowship Church in Wayland, Mo. Dan and his wife, Carla, have two children, currently high school and college students.
Several generations of the Steinbeck family are included in the book, and some stories were written by David Steinbeck, who died in 2005.
“I’ve enjoyed this project, and it is generations in the making, since a lot of the stories happened before I was born,” Dan said. “We had weird things happen. Everybody does, and not everybody writes them down.
“We love to laugh,” he continued. “Laughter and joy have been such hallmarks of the Steinbeck family for so long. Much of that laughter came from recounting family stories through the years, although there are some tales of pranks as well.”
The book idea came from his family, Steinbeck said. “For years we would tell various stories, and my father told one I loved hearing him tell it. He told the story over and over. ... Through the years the family said ‘you need to write this down for a book.’ I took it up as a challenge, with their blessing.”
Popular story told by his father
David Steinbeck’s popular story was an experience of by his grandfather (Dan’s great-grandfather) Smith. “He ran a general store in Villa Ridge, Mo.,” Dan said. “A traveling salesman came in, trying to peddle cakes. He was sure Grandpa’s dog, Gyp, would eat it.
“The salesman opened the cake for the dog and the dog just sniffed at it and looked at Grandpa and would not touch it. Others tried to get the dog to eat it. Then the salesman got mad and left it.
“The salesman did not know the dog was trained and was only going to do what Grandpa told it to do. Once the salesman left, the dog wolfed the cake, and Grandpa got a big laugh out of it.”
Page 2 of 2 - The book includes Dan’s earliest memory, when he was only 18 months old. “We were on a fishing boat in the Florida Everglades and throwing paper plates in the swamp. I remember the paper plates catching the wind and going sideways.”
Some stories “I wrote from memory, but there were others I wrote about from being told about,” Dan said.
Some are church-related, while others feature his dad’s experiences with the Golden Eagle Showboat.
The book may be purchased from Dan Steinbeck, by email at email@example.com or by phone at (573) 288-3043. It also is available from the publisher, Xlibris, by calling (888) 795-4274, from Amazon.com or Barnes and Noble, and in an electronic version through Kindle.
Although this is his first book, Steinbeck has had other book ideas, “but none of them has materialized yet. I have started some others and am starting to collect stories for a possible second book of family stories, but I am also working on some Christian resource books.”
He encourages other families to write down their memories. “I love these family stories. ... Through the years times change. If it is not written down, it’s hard to remember.
His family “had a happy upbringing,” Dan said. “Laughter has been prominent. We have known how to laugh at ourselves. Families that have had a good family life - those are the ones that ought to write those down to remember the wonderful times.”