Reviewed by Amy Gruzesky
“Love, laugh, cry, and dream, these are the emotions I hope will rise within you as you read them. These stories are my columns,” says David Sunday, self described entrepreneur, businessman, philanthropist, adventurer, adrenaline junkie, author, winemaker, artist, romanticist, husband, and friend, in the forward to this book.
In the first story, “Hunter and the Hunted,” the reader joins Sunday on a drive through south Texas, with a massive bird migration taking place. Rather than being annoyed at the intrusion of literally hundreds of birds of prey flying through the area, low to the ground as they are looking for sustenance, Sunday instead creates a predator/prey tale that involves not just what he sees as the wonder of the sight of these birds, but another similar situation that evolves unexpectedly in front of him involving a coyote and a deer.
It is a basic survival story of predator and prey, that he wraps up in a story about driving and enjoying the open road, and somehow, it works.
“Things That Stir My Soul” gives us a glimpse into who Sunday is, and is a compilation of the simplest of pleasures, both personal and external, that he has taken the time to slow down and notice over time. From his wife telling him she loves him, to watching a herd of horses run, he infuses each simple phrase with emotion, depth, and feeling that allows you to feel it, too.
In several columns he mentions his age–fully aware, as he writes in one, that he is closer now to the winter of his life, and no longer considered a young man. And a common theme throughout is driving, whether it be for pleasure or because he is on his way somewhere. Sunday finds a way to take the ordinary and mold it into something more meaningful and significant.
By the way, Sunday likes cars. And driving. So that is a common theme throughout and, pardon the pun, serves as the perfect vehicle to take you through this book.
The stories read well and quickly, yet in a way, they slow down time for the reader, reminding one of life’s simpler pleasures, combined with personal memories, deep thoughts, and a depth of emotion most people don’t feel comfortable expressing to strangers.
In these challenging times, Sunday’s book of columns is just what I think a lot of our minds and souls need: a throwback to simpler, less stressful times. There are times when Sunday could have easily kept on driving, keeping his eyes and mind on the road, focusing on what tasks lay ahead. Instead, he mentally pauses, drinking in the moment, noting in the detail of what is before him and the significance and meaning it can have. And it’s why this book exists.
Sunday is hyper-aware of his feelings, his good fortune, his surroundings, and the significance of what some might consider insignificant things.
While reading this book, I came to a conclusion: I like David Sunday, and I would love to be on one of his drives through Texas, listening to him detail what he’s noticing, what he makes of it, and giving a deeper and greater meaning than “just” a flock of birds in the sky, a deer running across the road, or the trees and flowers he passes by.
One thing I do know, going forward, is that now I will be more cognizant of my surroundings and the significance of ‘insignificant’ things.
I also feel that anyone reading this book will feel, at least a little bit, the same way I do.