Master storyteller one of Rockford’s treasures

Author Tom Rademacher

Author Tom Rademacher hands Jim Healey of Hudsonville his personally signed copy of "Splitting Wood." In the center is Healey's wife, Pat. The Healeys were featured in one of Rademacher's columns when in 2005 the couple, golf enthusiasts, accomplished what seems an imposible feat. In a period of 61 consecutive days, they played 18 holes of golf in each and everyone of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the 10 Canadian provinces—an astounding total of 1,098 holes of golf! Photo by CLIFF HILL

by CLIFF AND NANCY HILL

The sun had not yet risen last Saturday morning when long-time Rockford resident, Tom Rademacher, found himself ensconced comfortably at a table in front of the Coffee Ranch counter at Herman’s Boy.

A regular at Herman’s Boy, Rademacher had been invited by his close friend, the store’s owner Floyd Havemeier, to hold a book-signing for the recently released “Splitting Wood” authored by Rademacher himself.

After retiring last year from a 31-year career at the Grand Rapids Press, the last 21 years as a columnist, Rademacher chose and compiled his 100 favorite columns from the over 3,100 he had written into a first book.

“Tom is one of Rockford’s treasures,” said Havemeier. “People were lined up outside the front door even before we opened this morning at 7:30 a.m.”

Responding to the book-signing event that had been announced earlier in the week in both The Rockford Squire and the Grand Rapids Press, everyone wanted a copy of the book personally signed by the singularly popular award-winning columnist.

The book is a compelling and uplifting easy read. They are the stories, for the most part, of everyday people authored by an everyday kind of guy. In a time when it seems that all one hears and reads in the media is economic gloom and doom, governmental dysfunction, and sky-is-falling weather forecasts, the columns featured in “Splitting Wood” are a breath of fresh air.

The book is composed of 10 chapters in which the columns are categorized into 10 one-word titles, interestingly enough, all beginning with the letter L, opening with Life and moving on to Lilt, Legacies, Lore, Loss, Labels, Leagues, Losers, Lessons and ending, of course, with Love. There is something for every reader and leaves us, at the book’s conclusion, hoping that in the future other books may follow.

There were a limited number of books left as the signing ended, and Rademacher personally signed each of those. They are available for sale at the front counter of West Michigan’s popular and eclectic Herman’s Boy, located at 220 Old Northland Drive in Rockford. A portion of the sale of each book goes to the Santa Claus Girls.

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