That homegrown humorist Milton Davis has scored again—not with the kind of humor a la Hennie Youngman — “Take my wife, please” — but with the stuff of southern genre that is designed to provoke a homely chuckle or two.
So, Davis’ “Toad Suck Tidbits” offerings daily in the Log cabin Democrat are not out of any lush pasture of literary pageantry, yet they are the kind of stuff that pleases, being the products of 20 years of toil behind a story board emanating from a seemingly inexhaustible supply.
His clever homilies, some better than others, are no match for the gigantic presentations in the big time publications, but for the effusive and unrestrained “Mayor of Toad Suck Square” they are good enough.
Only recently, Davis extended his literary focus and published a vehicle titled “Coffee Shop Tidbits”, in which his penchant for humor hopes to find a more intimate audience. His handiwork is augmented by cartoons from the facile pen of the one-time history professor, Foy Lisenby.
PAGE 1—Four men of dubious “smarts’ are languishing in a coffee shop. One says “It is what it is. “No it ain’t”, offers another. And another chimes in “I thought it was”.
The fourth gent says, “Well it ain’t what it ain’t.”
Regardless of the inanities above, Norbert Schedler, the retired director of the honors college at the University of Central Arkansas, hits it out of the park writing in the forward of the book: “Milt Davis’ humor startles me, plays tricks on me, and the person I confront in his humor is a Conway treasure.”
On frequent mornings in Conway you hear friends call to one another. ‘Did you see Milt’s cartoon today?’ And just as frequently you see the look on their faces that says “I GOT IT”’.
Samples—Jessie says it’s too bad that all the great minds that know how to run the country are being wasted. They’re all down at the coffee shop arguing.
Or: After a bad day at work, Lizzie tells Hubert: “Cheer up. You may be the low man on the totem pole at work but you’re second in command here.”
Davis: “You may not be, but I’m proud of my work” he laughs at the juxtaposition of the sentence which may actually work for one of his tidbits.
This self-annointed “Mayor of Toad Suck Square” keeps a notebook filled with words and phrases that he feels will touch the funny bone. And for inspiration, he sweeps across occupations, personalities, news of the day—anything his facile mind jumps at. He is so engaged he turns out tidbits almost by the bushel full. The editor holds her breath when Davis comes by and drops on her desk 30 or so pieces of work at one visit.
Davis’ work history found him at a major bakery in Memphis doing myriad executive chores before moving into the brokerage world with Edward Jones. He recalls a time during his formative days with the firm attending a learning session. He doodled away the time drawing.
1. His artistic output caught the eye of a fellow conferee who took Davis’ stuff and posted it on a bulletin board. He won so many plaudits that he wondered if he was in the wrong business. He wasn’t, of course, and Davis went on to become one of the brightest stars as a financial guru for the Edward Jones enterprise, working out of his office at the corner of Oak and Front Streets.
Our hero grew up in Little Rock, was schooled at Central High, Little Rock Junior College and the University of Central Arkansas where he garnered a degree in business. At one point he suffered military service in Korea.
In his western Little Rock neighborhood he found Claudia whom he married after a struggle for her hand, winning her over his best friend, Will Counts, who became a Pulitzer Prize photographer for the marvelous photos he took during the integration struggle at Central High school.
Davis’s keen sense of humor led him into cartooning and publishing several cartoon books and at one point he fashioned weekly cartoons for some 20 newspapers under the title “Toad Suck Country.”
Davis has been and continues to be a force in his community, serving on several boards and commissions. He and Claudia, his wife of 60 years, and his family of four children, six grandchildren, and five great grandchildren are regarded as a stellar family in the community. His generosity is a matter of record being a substantial giver. He is particularly proud of the number of endowments that carry the Davis name.
“Coffee Shop Tidbits” is available on Amazon.com or request a copy at email@example.com.