Ray Bradbury turned Americana into fantasy (and sometimes horror). But Dandelion Wine is his love song to small town America circa 1928. And one of the lessons he tries to teach is that progress doesn’t always mean improvement. Too bad the family is one of the things that doesn’t look like it will survive 21st Century America.
You want to see the real happiness machine? The one they patented a couple thousand years ago. It still runs; not good all the time, no! but it runs. It’s been here all along.
Hesitantly, Grandfather, Douglas and Tom peered through the large windowpane.
And there in the small warm pools of lamplight, you could see what Leo Auffman wanted you to see. There sat Saul and Marshall, playing chess at the coffee table. In the dining room Rebecca was laying out the silver. Naomi was cutting out paper-doll dresses. Ruth was painting water colors. Joseph was running his electric train. Through the kitchen door, Lena Auffman was sliding a pot roast from the steaming oven. Every hand, every head, every mouth made a big or little motion. You could hear their far away voices under glass. You could hear someone singing in a high sweet voice. You could smell bread baking, too, and you knew it was real bread that would soon be covered with real butter. Everything was there and it was working.
Dandelion Wine (1957)