“Whistling at Snakes,” the book containing the collected writings of the late Baptist Courier columnist Horace Sims, can now be read in its entirety at www.baptistcourier.com/whistling.page.
Originally published by The Baptist Courier in 1999 after Sims’ death, “Whistling at Snakes” – which includes all of Sims’ “At Large” columns published in The Baptist Courier, along with stories, essays and poems published elsewhere – went through two subsequent printings and sold more than 8,000 copies.
Several stories include drawings by award-winning cartoonist Thomas Addison.
“It is next to impossible not to pick up and thumb through a book with the title of ‘Whistling At Snakes,'” wrote Courier editor Don Kirkland in his introduction to the book, “and difficult to put it down after sampling the wit and wisdom of Horace Sims.”
The Courier published the first batch of his short essays, “Horace Sims At Large,” in 1997, followed by a second compilation of his columns, “Horace Sims Still At Large,” in 1998. Both were timed for distribution at the annual meetings of the South Carolina Baptist Convention in November.
“These books, like his ‘At Large’ pieces, achieved immediate and lasting popularity with the Courier’s readers,” Kirkland wrote. “Many turned to his column first before reading anything else in our publication.”
“Horace always managed to take life seriously while looking at it lightly. He could always find at least a little, and often a lot, that was funny. And this was so whether the egg was all over his or somebody else’s face.
“He had no peers as a teller of sidesplitting tales. Some were even true. Asked about that, he explained, ‘All the stories I’ve written are based on real events. They tell true happenings.’ Then, breaking into a smile, he added, ‘Some of them may have been embellished for the enjoyment of the reader.'”
“His writing, so deceptively simple that many never realized how much work he put into his craft, quickly captured a huge audience that stretched well beyond South Carolina and even the United States. In fact, readers in at least 14 states and 27 foreign countries requested copies of his books.”