"My brother Snap and I were Mark Twain's Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn with one major difference. We actually did all this stuff and somehow lived to tell about it."

In this episodic memoir, writer John W. Bruner recalls the pranks, embarrassments, and hilarity of growing up in the 1950s-60s. John and his younger brother Snap seemed to have a penchant for trouble. The most innocent activities, like raiding the neighbor’s apple tree or engaging in a peeing contest in the boy's bathroom at school, seemed to land them in hot water. In their close-knit Iowa community, they were constantly facing the confessional at church, the wrath of nuns at school, or their father's belt at home. Often, ignorance was their salvation. Assembling a raft out of trees cut down beside a local lake, they were nearly drowned when their creation, named Titanic because they thought that was the name of a battleship, split apart, leaving them scrambling in gooey silt to get to shore. At home, their mother, seeing that they were covered with stinky mud and hearing their story, informed them that it was illegal to cut trees by the lake and that the Titanic was not a battleship but a passenger ship that, like their raft, sank on its maiden voyage. Luckily for them, she didn't really believe their preposterous story about the raft. They were occasionally punished, and even when they escaped without their crimes being discovered, they usually suffered pangs of boyish guilt.

Bruner, who taught high school before becoming a financial planner, has pulled together these short reminiscences as an entertainment for family, friends, and others. His writing style makes every happening funny, though beneath the humor surrounding his youthful antics one can sense the core of old-fashioned morality, respect for elders, and religious faith that always subtly underpins his stories. Me & Snap is a charming take on a small town American childhood lived in simpler times.

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