THURSDAY THOUGHTS

This was a short piece, a narrative I wrote in undergraduate school.  I found it when clearing out an old file folder, and thought it might be worth sharing.

We had taken inventory at Woolworth’s that night, and I was late coming home from work.  I dragged myself upstairs, prepared to face high school homework, and tiptoed through the room where my twelve year old brother was sleeping  and into my own attic bedroom.  Dad had divided the attic between us and had done a good job converting it to bedrooms. The paint on the walls was battleship grey, appropriated from the Naval Base, and the door between our rooms was a few inches too short for the frame, allowing heat from the register to heat both rooms.

I lay down to sleep and was immediately startled by a rustling noise that sounded like crumpled paper scratching across the linoleum.  The noise seemed to be coming from under the bed!  I had been terrified about the idea of mice ever since at the age of nine, one had tried to make a nest in my long hair in this very room. Turning on the bedside light, I searched quickly, not really wanting to find anything. My heart sickened as I lay down and turned out the light again when the noise resumed. This time I leaped far clear of the bed, unfolded the double bed spread on the twin bed, and kneeling peered under the bed itself.  I almost had my nose snipped off by an old snapping turtle!  MICHAEL MARION MASON, I yelled at my brother, come get your snapping turtle out from under my bed!

Mother said she heard us both barrel down the stairs, then Mike with no explanation to anyone, opened the side door and threw something frisbee-shaped out.  Poor me.  Poor turtle. Poor confused parents. Lucky Mike, for he received no punishment.

Tuesday Teaser

This meme, hosted by the Purple Booker, asks readers to grab the book they’re currently reading, copy a few sentences in an attempt to get readers to show interest in your “read.” Why not play as well, put your sentences in the comments section, being careful not to give away anything vital–no spoilers. Please remember to include title and author.

Here is mine for this week: From Taylor Caldwell’s Tender Victory

“They had finished dinner and the children were in bed, and there was the good hearty sound of Mrs. Burnsdale, washing dishes in the kitchen.  Dr. McManus and Johnny sat in the study-parlor; the muggy air barely stirred in the close confines of the room. The doctor laid down a heavy brown paper parcel of x-rays.  He lit one cigarette after another, his big face moving, his eyebrows jerking, his mouth pursing.  Johnny waited, his hands clenched on his knees, praying for some hope in the older man’s verdict. But the doctor continued to sit there, dropping ashes on his thighs, muttering in his squeaky voice, scratching his ear.  Four hospital calls had come for him, but he had snarled into the telephone, and had suggested aspirin or a “jolt of morphine, and tell him to shut up,” and he still sat there, the mound of ashes increasing on his soiled light suit.  There were great sweat marks under his monster arms, and his shirt collar had become gray.”

What a way to build suspense; they don’t write detailed description like they used to.  This reader, for one is waiting with held breath to see if an operation can help Johnny’s young foster soon. Caldwell’s old-fashioned novel does everything right and keeps the reader turning pages and staying up late to read another chapter.

Now add your teaser. Scroll down to “About the author” and type your teaser underneath into the box provided.

VANISHING GRACE: WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE GOOD NEWS? A Review

This 2014 publication by my second favorite inspirational author (second to Max Lucado), borrowed from our church library, was one of four books the author, Phillip Yancey, wrote about the “endangered state” of Grace.  In this book he asks Christians some vital questions:  Why do so many people dislike Christians? Why does the church stir up such negative feelings? Why has the church lost its respect, influence, and reputation in today’s world?  In doing so, he infers that the answers lie in actions and attitudes we as Christians hold which cause these questions even to be asked. Max Lucado states that this book is “worth reading,” and BONO, a leading activist recommends it as well.

It deals with how artists, activists, and pilgrims are “expressing their faith in ways that disarm even the most cynical critics.” Section one, “A World Athirst” specifies how to reclaim the Good News. Section three poses the question, “Is It Really Good News?”, dealing with “The God Question,” “The Human Question,” and “The Social Question.” These two sections alone make the book a worthwhile read.  Yancey deals as well with the ticklish issue of Christians and politics.

In Vanishing Grace, Yancey reminds all Christians that Hebrews 12:15 admonishes us to, “See to it that no one misses the grace of God…” This book will help the thoughtful, caring Christian to do just that in an acceptable manner.

Sunday (Evening Post)

This week has been filled with trips to the mall to visit and walk the mall with a friend from Las Vegas, and going four days in a row (each day a larger percentage off) to an estate sale down the road where we purchased a bedside table in anticipation of visitors from Boston in June and a roll-top desk as an early anniversary present to each other. We also brought some smaller items none of which we needed, but all  nice additions to our house and lifestyles.  Because of the unusual busyness, I did very little reading.

I finished Vanishing Grace by Phillip Yancey, borrowed from the church library, which I returned this morning.  A review follows soon.

I am continuing to read The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas which deals with a white on black shooting and is so interesting that I am halfway to three fourths of the way through.

I started an old book, Tender Mercies by Taylor Caldwell that a friend brought to donate to my LFL when she attended a book party, and I am wondering why I haven’t heard of it before? It is old-fashioned, but wonderful.

I have been cooking this week: Greek lemon-roasted golden potatoes, spaghetti and meatballs, roast beef in the crockpot, and fresh green beans and new potatoes from a friend’s garden.  We are eating well.

It is hot on the Gulf Coast of Texas, hitting 90 degrees, at least, each day with 0ver 85 to 90 percent humidity.  Whew! With washing clothes, taking extra showers, and watering the plants, I dread seeing my water bill!

The Powerful Women Readers’ “Hen Party” is next Sunday, so I have another busy week ahead, shopping and cleaning in anticipation of that. I have read and prepared book talks on all three “assigned” books, but this get together will focus on food, fellowship and fun.

Communion Sunday

I was 12 years old, old enough to know better. My cousin Betty Lou and I were allowed to sit together during church as long as we remained in line of sight of our parents, and didn’t whisper, giggle, or pass notes. This particular Sunday was communion, what we Baptists called the “Lord’s Supper”, and was served from a table with the words, “This do in remembrance of Me” carved on it.  We never knew what communion was going to look like from one First Sunday to the next. The Welches’ grape juice in the little cups  was a standard, but the bread was never the  same shape twice. Once, the bread was white paper-thin wafers with a cross and other symbols embossed on it. Shades of Episcopalia!  I thought I was supposed to lick the back of it and stick it on my dress like a visitor’s button. This particular Sunday we had little squares of white bread cut into crouton size.

Another difference in our communion was that one did not go up front to get it. Instead, the juice and bread was passed from row to row by the deacons, much like the offering plate. We silently congratulated ourselves on our superiority as we waited for the prayer to end before we put our empty cups in the receptacles on the pew ahead of us. All around us, we could hear the click of ignorant adults returning their cups before the minister had finished the prayer.

I was slightly distracted when the deacon approached our row with the bread.  Betty Lou had bent  down to get her bulletin out of her Bible which was under the pew in front of us. Taking two “croutons,” one for each of us, I silently passed the tray to the lady next to her across Bet’s back.  All of a sudden she straightened up whacking the tray.  Little crumbs of bread went flying everywhere!  Time stood still.  Then a veritable snowfall of the bread descended upon us.

It was then that the giggling started.  Tiny explosions of laughter spurted from our tightly closed lips likes bursts of steam from a locomotive. Squeezing my eyes shut to stop the tears, I felt a tug on my sleeve. My cousin, overcome with laughter herself, could only point at the lady next to her.  The lady had bread in her hair!

We could feel our parents approaching, worse, much worse than the wrath of God. They snatched us up and made us sit with them for over a month until they could trust us again. I still think of that communion Sunday whenever I take the Lord’s Supper, and I am sure God doesn’t mind if a smile slips out when I remember my cousin, Betty Lou and our communion misadventures.

MANY WATERS by Madeline L’Engle: A Review

Published in 1986       Takes place sometime after the Wrinkle in Time Trilogy

Sandy and Dennys Murry, twin brothers of Meg and Calvin Wallace Murry (from A Wrinkle in Time) are the “dull,” “ordinary” ones in the family until they interrupt their physicist dad’s computer experiment.  Then, they are in trouble, not just with their dad, but in cosmos-changing trouble.  Many waters were coming soon to the dessert oasis where they “landed”, and stories their mother told them as small children from the Bible, as well as many mythologies and folktales of a world-wide flood come rushing to their minds.

Unknown to them, their dad was experimenting with time travel, and the Genesis (from the Bible) people’s reaction to them, as well as their reaction to the people of “this other place” is the premise for the story.  Unicorns, mammoths (miniature size ones), seraphims, and nephils all appear in this book. Both boys, young teens, fall for the same girl, Yalith, and for the first time, the twins do not tell each other “everything.” Will they get themselves home in time to avoid the “many waters?”/The Great Flood? Will they get home, period? L’Engle’s philosophy shines through as the boys engage in conflicts both on a personal level and on a universal level.

The writing, plot, and characterization are brilliant. This is one of my favorite authors whether she is writing YA novels, memoirs and philosophy, or anything. I highly recommend this book.

THE EDUCATION OF DIXIE DUPREE: A Review

Donna Everhart’s debut novel, available in large print, like any novel about childhood abuse, is hard to read.  This one is even more so because it is told from the child’s point of view.  From the opening of the story, we know that Dixie’s Uncle Ray is in jail.  As the plot unfolds, Eleven year old Dixie’s “spidey sense” that something is just “not right,” alerts the reader to expect the worst.  Dixie and her brother, AJ, already have a rough life living with a depressed  mother who has anger issues and a father who drinks to escape. Set in Alabama in 1969, Dixie struggles with the need to lie to cover for her mother and to keep the other girls at school from labeling her family as “white trash.” She becomes a deliberate and accomplished tale-teller, resorting to lies even when they aren’t necessary. When she tries to tell AJ and later her mother what Uncle Ray has done, no one will believe her.  Seldom have I met a heroine so young with such spirit and courage.

This is a difficult book to read as it peels away layers of family secrets leading to the eventual harsh ending.  There is a ray of hope at the end, one thing I require of any book I read before I will say it is a good book.  This is not an enjoyable book but one that book clubs and individuals might take on to open thoughts or discussions about a very serious problem.