Monday, November 29, 2021

Three Junes by Julia Glass


This excellent book has been kicking around my house for over a year. I'm not sure if it came from a library book sale or was loaned to me. I generally keep loaner books separate but I just don't know...'

Anyway, I finally picked it up and started in. And I loved it. I shouldn't have been surprised-- a National Book Award winner in 2002, a NYT Notable, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. A debut novel, no less.

And, I find, it was made into a movie.

Well, I don't get out much. And in 2002 I was so deep in writing my own stuff, that I didn't allow myself to begin a new book--only old favorites that I could dip into and put down.

Three Junes is a wonderful chronicle of family life, relations and interrelations, and the tangled webs woven by life.  This excerpt from the National Book Award citation says it perfectly: " ...Julia Glass weaves gold into straw into gold again in this novel that proves to us that neither ancient privileges nor modern passions absolve us from the regrets, losses, comforts, and ineffable joys of family love. Perhaps not since E. M. Forster have we been led down the ladder of the generations with such simple majesty...

The characters are all people I was happy to spend time with and unhappy to leave when the book ended. But, aha! There quite a few more novels by Glass and the next, The Whole World Over, features some of these same folks.

Oh joy! Oh riches!


Saturday, November 27, 2021

Jenny is Thankful the People Finally Got the Message

NO MORE LEASH! It only took a couple of weeks of peeing and pooping in the house till The People released me on my own recognizance.


They were worried that since I'm a hound, I might take off on the trail of something and get lost.

I could do that--take off, I mean. There are lots of very interesting smells around here. Small furry things . . .

And woods! A whole mountainside of them just behind the house!

Barbed wire fences don't stop me.

But the thing is, it's really cold out here. 

And I always get a treat when I come back in. So, I go out a lot. And then I come back. 

It works for all of us.


Friday, November 26, 2021

Where's Josie?

Sixteen people (all (except Josie) vaccinated and mostly boosted) and assorted dogs gathered for the festive meal.

Josie was seated on my right and didn't appear in these pictures--drat it! She wore a beautiful butterfly dress and had a fine time with her puppy and the rest of us.

With major effort from John and Justin, our living room was cleared of its normal furnishings and turned into a a banquet hall.

Everyone brought food--there were five pies and a plate of little cakes.

And everyone helped with clean-up. 

It was a fine gathering!


Thursday, November 25, 2021

Thankful and Mindful


    I'm a fan of Thanksgiving--when considered as a harvest festival and a gathering of family and friends. Uncontaminated by the pressure of gift-giving and/or religious observations, it's a nice holiday.

But I'm not talking about the sanitized Thanksgiving version I was taught in primary school, complete with Pilgrims in tall black construction paper hats and friendly Indians in construction paper feather headdresses, cheerfully sharing food with the same people who were stealing their land and would massacre and enslave many of them.

I've read too much history to be able to think of that version with anything but contempt and sadness.  This place we call our farm was once a hunting ground for the Cherokees--they left artifacts that turn up after plowing.  The government "removed" them to make way for white settlers.

I think mindfulness of this history is appropriate today--along with thankfulness. Bountiful food, friends and family all come together yet another year.  In my case, there's a bit of ancestor remembrance too as I make my grandmother's cranberry gelatin salad and her pumpkin chiffon pie and pull out extra silverware from John's family to add to what we already use.

This year we'll be sixteen at table, including a niece and a grandniece I haven't seen in years, as well as another grandniece I don't believe I've met, old friends, assorted in-laws, and various co-persons.

It's too good an occasion to skip. But I'll skip the happy Pilgrims and accommodating Indians and be thankful for what we have--while remembering . . .

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

We Still Quilt

Not as much as we used to but our community still comes together now and then to produce a quilt. This beauty was designed and facilitated by a friend of mine whose first grandchild is on the way. Folks were asked to embroider their name on a strip of red fabric--all of which were put together to make a lovely inner border. A few people sewed together the sailboat blocks, the grandma-to-be put the top together and a few more folks did the quilting.

The sister of the mama-to-be arranged for a baby shower at which the quilt was presented. I remember a similar shower, about forty years ago (really, could it have been that long?)  when the community presented a quilt to this same sister, who was a new-born at the time.

Ay law. Hit don't seem possible.


Monday, November 22, 2021

What's More Fun Than A New Dog?

Another new dog! Claui and Josie brought back this Pit puppy from a recent jaunt to Arkansas. Her name is maybe Lottie or perhaps Otter or could be Dave . . . (me, I'm holding out for Bob.)


Jenny is fascinated by her--treating her as if it were her own puppy and licking her all over. The new pup will likely spend a fair bit of time with us--which will be good for Jenny. 

Justin brought her up for a visit and when they went back home, Jenny was distraught, running all over looking for her puppy.

Good times ahead!


Sunday, November 21, 2021

The Idea of Justice


 The not guilty on all counts in the Rittenhouse case just doesn't feel like any kind of justice. The letter of the law may have been followed but to my non-legal mind, seeing that person walking free is a mockery. There needs to be accountability. It's uncomfortably like the old joke about the fellas who killed his parent and pled for mercy because he was an orphan. It also raises a number of questions of my mind. 

 The first is: How would this case have played out if Rittenhouse had been a Black teenager, carrying a gun and feeling threatened? I suspect there would have been no case as the police would have shot him right away rather than ignoring him as they did at first.

The second question: What about "the duty to retreat" that I was taught in concealed carry class?  And I seem to remember that it wasn't legal to kill in defense of property. No shooting the fella who's making off with your TV. Which would mean this young vigilante had no reason to be there defending others' property with his big gun. But maybe that's just in North Carolina--gun laws are different in every state.

Third: As the Right turns this sniveling little punk into a hero (truly worthy to be an intern to the likes of Gosnar, Cawthorne, and Gaetz) will we see even more gun-wielding teens, chaos tourists looking for thrills? Anti-abortion vigilantes in Texas, hunting down women suspected of seeking to terminate a pregnancy? Guns brandished freely everywhere?

Fourth: If I were all-powerful and unconstrained by technicalities like the letter of the law (because sometimes the law is an idiot,) what would be my judgement? I believe him when he says he feared for his life--he was in way over his head and that gun he was carrying offered a quick way out. But, considering that he put himself in that situation, I'd have to rule that he deserved a punishment. Yes, his victims put themselves in their situation also. But, boy, were they punished.

I think I'd be tempted to mandate that he enlist in the Marine Corps for a four-year hitch. Let him play with guns and pretend to be a big man there. And when he comes out, if he does, keep him on parole for a very long time. Do not allow him to become a mascot for the Proud Boys and their ilk.

Then I think I'd go after  the gun laws. Since I'm all-powerful.

Just dreaming.


Friday, November 19, 2021

And Here It Is!

 And the Crows Took Their Eyes is one of five finalists for the Thomas Wolfe Memorial Literary Prize, the winner to be announced in December! This is a Big Deal to me because it's a validation for the many years of research and writing that went into this book of my heart.

Below is information from the email I received. Crows is such good company--it's an honor to be included!

The WNC Historical Association presented the first Thomas Wolfe Memorial Literary Award to Wilma Dykeman in 1955 for The French Broad. Last year the winner was Dr. Sandra Muse Isaacs for her nonfiction work, Eastern Cherokee Stories: A Living Oral Tradition And Its Cultural Continuance. Others who have received the award include Wiley Cash, John Ehle, Charles Frazier, Gail Godwin, Michael McFee, Robert Morgan, Ron Rash, Fiona Ritchie, and Lee Smith.


This year’s five finalists were chosen from a wide range of original nominations. Listed alphabetically by author last name, they are:

Mary Othella Burnette

Lige of the Black Walnut Tree: Growing Up Black in Southern Appalachia

 Wayne Caldwell


 Annette Saunooke Clapsaddle

Even As We Breathe: A Novel

Vicki Lane

And the Crows Took Their Eyes

 Matthew Wimberley

All the Great Territories


The award ceremony will take place via Zoom this year on Thursday, December 9 from 6:30pm – 8:00pm via Zoom. .

Good News Coming!

 But I can't share it till 12 noon EST. Stay tuned!

Thursday, November 18, 2021

Making a Start . . .

In between taking Jenny out to potty (about every half hour as she's not clear yet about the appropriate place to pee and/or poop,) I made a start on wrapping some Christmas presents. And just for fun, painted some gift labels.

That and fixing dinner pretty much was my day. And then it was evening and, after one more potty out, dinner, another potty out, it was time to watch Dalgliesh. We had just finished watching all of Foyle's War yet again. Foyle and Sam are such decent people and so many of the ethical/moral dilemmas posed in this series have counterparts today, that I find more to love with each re-watching.

But all good things come to an end. We moved on to The Long Call--pretty good but not near as good as Vera in our opinion. And it didn't go on long enough for me to feel I really knew the characters.

Now we're onto Dalgliesh. Most of the episodes are somewhat familiar to me as I've read most of the novels. I'm enjoying what we've seen so far. Dalgliesh is an interesting fella--a Chief Inspector and a noted poet. A little humorless, at this point, as he's also grieving the loss of his wife and child. But I loved the novels and will look forward to the rest of the series.

Oops, time  for another potty out before bed.