Glasco,Kansas, is the site of the annual Rhubarb festival where folks blessed with gluttony for rhubarb can chow down on all sorts of rhubarb pies, cobblers, rolls, puddings, etc. Who else to invite there but the rhubarb author himself, Jerry Engler, whose first two books, Just Folks: Earthy Tales of the Prairie Heartland and A Heartland Voice: Just Folks Two, include at least five stories with his character, Bird, and his appetite for rhubarb.
Joan Northern, a committee member for the annual rhubarb festival in May in Glasco, Kansas, came away from the Kansas Sampler Festival at Concordia determined after meeting book author Jerry Engler to have him be a speaker, read his stories, and stuff himself with rhubarb at the festival.
Before she called him, however, she closed the door to the bathroom with her husband trapped in the tub to read him Engler's story in Just Folks: Earthy Tales of the Prairie Heartland, about the banker with the heart of gold (cold, hard and shiney) caught up in cattle loans.
She said his belly laughs at the tale proved its authenticity as well as humor because her husband once operated the livestock sales barn in town, and had his own experiences with cattle loans and bankers.
As for the festival itself, Northern said the participants were delighted with Engler and his stories of his character Bird in the pursuit of rhubarb pie, "not that red, sweet rhubarb, but the good old green sour pucker the mouth kind of rhubarb." The people in Glasco still mention it as an outstanding event with a smile, she said.
Northern said she hopes Engler returns to the Rhubarb Festival every year as a mainstay of the event.
"I guess you can say," she said, "add Jerry and all the rhubarb dishes, and you have one sweet event."