My Nation’s Broken Heart – A Tough Read

I rarely feel the need to start my post with a disclaimer, but this one has been boiling inside me for days now and I am giving fair warning it may have unbridled thoughts, triggers, and stress inducing ideas. Read at your own risk.

Friday I decided to get my second COVID booster in preparation for attending my granddaughter’s high school graduation in Charleston. I was fortunate to experience very few side effects.

We had a great weekend. We started at the newly built Farmer’s Market where my husband played music with a small local group of musicians. Our daughter and his family came to see him play. We had a nice visit and they all went to lunch while I went to to ice my knee.

Saturday night we had a lovely dinner with our friends out on their deck. Their house is nestled in a beautiful clearing and is as peaceful as you can imagine. It was one of those rare nights of friendship and easy conversation surrounded by nature’s best.

Sunday my niece and her family came out for lunch (we had not seen them since the pandemic began). It was a lovely visit full of good food, catching up and lots of laughter. A much needed reunion.

Monday was a quiet day, my husband out and about with our potter friend.

Tuesday night was our four-year-old granddaughter’s graduation from pre-kindergarten in Florida. It was during her graduation ceremony the news started to trickle in about the school shooting in Texas. Suddenly, the world seemed to stop, just as the lives of more innocent people slipped away like their blood leaving their bodies.

I cannot get the mental images out of my mind. Children locked in a room with a mad man – watching their peers get shot and killed one by one. I cannot get the expressions of fear on their tiny faces out of my mind. Did they scream out for their parents? Parents that could do nothing to save them? Did they plead with a terrorist not to kill them? Did they expect a good guy with a gun would save them? And now, there are accusations that those who could have helped did not take the risks to save these innocent children. I know their parents have those same images in their minds, except they are the faces of their own beloved children, dying alone, terrified and calling for their parents in vain.

I don’t care how many arguments you try to state to the contrary, our lawmakers have blood on their hands. With each horrific shooting in this country, the blood gets thicker and stickier. They may as well have been holding those guns themselves. They sit deep within the pockets of the NRA and the gun manufacturers who continue to make money hand over fist selling weapon grade guns to anyone with money. It makes me sick to my stomach.

These legislators are the same ones who cowered in fear when armed terrorist surrounded them during the insurrection. And those people who terrorized the capital are the same ones that want their gun rights protected – all at the expense of the citizens in this country who try to abide by the law. They feel nothing when innocent children are killed for no reason. And citizens of color targeted and killed while simply shopping at a grocery store or people choosing to practice their faith. None of them had security to rustle them off to a safe holding area. They died in terror.

I cannot help but think about the parents. Do they shut the door to their child’s bedroom, or do they sit on the edge of their bed, or sit on the floor among their toys sobbing uncontrollably. Or what of the sibling who shared a room with their brother or sister who will never again whisper good night after the lights are turned off, looking forward to the days to follow.

I am tired of the memes that are posted all over social media. People post to show their concern – everyone is at a loss as to what to do. I knew I could never write another lighthearted post until I got this out of my system. I have donated money to organizations fighting for gun control. I am seeking out every hardworking organization fighting for gun control that I can join, sign petitions, or support, but it is not enough. It will never be enough until children can feel safe going to school. Until we all feel safe just living withing our communities.

And to my fellow bloggers who live in countries with gun control, I know you look on our country with disdain because we do not have gun control. We look on with disdain as well, but we need your support and empathy – not for our legislators, but for the children, parents, grandparents, and every day law abiding citizens who continue to fight for change, often beating our collective heads against a seemingly impenetrable brick wall. Our country is grieving and we are fighting for change. We are fighting a ferocious monster that grows two new heads each time one is cut off. We fear for our children.

I am in no mood for insulting or gun supporting comments. So if that is all you have to offer, don’t stop here, just continue on your merry way. If you have suggestions for effective ways to combat this disease that has infected our country, I am open to suggestions my weary mind cannot yet see.

I know it is not enough to write about it or post about it. I just need to grieve then find a way to fight non-stop to change it.


Throwback Thursday #39 – Reading Culture and Books

Welcome back to Throwback Thursday. This week we are going to tackle the kind of reading culture you grew up with. Should be fun.

If you care to join us, it’s easy.

  • Write your own post sharing your memories and leave a pingback to this post in the comments.
  • You can use the photo above in your post to make it easier to find.
  • Tag it with #TBTMemory or #IRememberWhen.
  • If you do not wish to write your own post, feel free to tell your story in the comments below.

This week’s prompt is: Reading Culture and Books

Think about how your grandparents, parents, siblings and friends felt about reading. Then consider how this impacted your life as you matured.

You can respond to the following questions as they are, or you can use them to spark your own memories and write your own post.

  1. Who were the readers in your family?
  2. Were there some people who did not like to read or could not read?
  3. Did your family subscribe to the newspaper?
  4. If you did get the paper, was your Sunday newspaper considered special? What part did you enjoy?
  5. Did your home have books strewn around? Hardbacks or paperbacks?
  6. Did you frequent the library at school?
  7. How about the local community library? Did you have a library card?
  8. What was the first book you remember reading?
  9. Did you have a collection of books (Nancy Drew, The Hardy Boys, Happy Hollisters, etc?)
  10. Did you read comic books? If so, what titles?
  11. Did you end up a bookworm, a casual reader, or someone who read only when required?
  12. Is there a book from your childhood you would like to read again? If so, what book?
  13. What book or books have been extremely meaningful or influential in your life?
  14. BONUS QUESTION: What book(s) do you frequently gift to others? Why?

My post follows.

Everyone on my mother’s side of the family were avid readers, including my mother. It was about the only source of entertainment they had. I seldom saw my mother without a book in her hand. Both my sisters were also avid readers. I think I resented all the reading for years – I felt like most of my family always had their nose stuck in a book.

My paternal family on the other hand were quite the opposite. My grandmother had classic hardbacks and a number of religious books – always kept neatly in a bookcase upstairs. My father seldom read and my grandfather could not read. He could sign his name and that was it.

Gradually I got over it. I fell in love with my Weekly Reader in school. I loved our school library, but it was small. The closest county library was too far away from us so we relied on the Bookmobile which I loved!

The first book I clearly remember reading was Charlotte’s Web. I refused to put it down until I finished it. I remember so well crying my heart out over that spider! I loved all my Nancy Drew books. My cousin had the entire set of book – I only had a few of them. I really coveted her collection. I loved her adventures and her (what seemed to me) rebellious spirit.

We read comic books, but not religiously, nor did we treat them with much care. We read them, passed them around to friends, then sent off for whatever crazy thing was advertised on the back page. I also loved Mad Magazine!

We did not get the newspaper until I was in high school. I read Sydney Omarr’s astrology column and Ann Landers or Dear Abby and The Daily Chuckle. I also loved doing the Daily Jumble. On Sunday, everyone rushed for their favorite section of the paper. I liked the ‘guts’ of the paper most – The Parade Magazine, the Comics, etc.

My reading has varied through the years. Sometimes I am an avid reader like my mother and sometimes I have detested reading like my father. Now I read for pleasure when the mood strikes me. I love to read for enjoyment. I also love to research things which means a lot of reading. I am not a huge fan of self help books. I love fiction and historical fiction. In high school I was a Ray Bradbury fan but I seldom read science fiction now.

As far as books I have gifted the most:  Listen to the Warm by Rod McKuen, A Short Guide to a Happy Life by Anna Quindlen, The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams, and Meditations for Women Who Do Too Much by Anne Wilson Schaf.


One Liner Wednesday – Things I Think About

Seedless watermelon
Photo by Patrick Fore on Unsplash

Where do they get the seeds to plant seedless watermelons?

One Liner Wednesday is brought to us each week by Linda Hill.


Monday Missive

It is a cool but muggy morning. A little overcast and foggy. It feels like a Monday morning in every sense of the word.

  • My ability to read has been stalled again for the last several months. I think the reality of war and the subject matter of war was getting me down so I shelved the book in favor of The Overstory by Richard Powers. Wish me luck.
  • Today is my annual eye exam. I never look forward to it, but at least with the tech advancements, I no longer need to have my eyes dilated. Hopefully all goes well.
  • My knee is already improving. The very simple PT exercises are doing wonders. I am resisting taking the arthritis meds unless I really need them. I am not a cure by pill kind of person.
  • We had a great chance to see the lunar eclipse last night until a huge cloud rolled in and obliterated our view. Did you see it? Was it beautiful?
  • This week the predictions are for temps in the low 80s. I am not ready for summer weather. My spring seems to have declined so quickly!
  • We are going down to spend a few hours with our grandson this week before he starts his summer internship. We always look forward to hanging out with him. This fall he moves into his first apartment. Man, life just flies by sometimes.

I hope you have a good week. I will leave you with this short clip of our recent visitor.


Sam’s Place – #TDWC

Photo by Dan Antion from No Facilities, used with permission for TDWC

The short story that follows is my contribution to the Thursday Doors Writing Challenge. Enjoy!

“What the hell were you thinking?” Sam chastised herself as she caught her reflection in the antique bar back mirror.

What was it her realtor mother told her? “Location, location, location!” Yeah, this place had none of that. There was no parking, the cars shook the top shelf liquors as they passed over the bridge, and if there was room for 20 customers she would be lucky.

“Ambiance counts for something,” she sighed under her breath. A local artist had been commissioned to create the new sign. Sam’s Place would be welcoming, friendly, and unassuming – just like her.

She had rehearsed all the criticisms her father would have. Crowded, questionable egress, poorly ventilated, inaccessible, horrible location, dark, and musty. Other than those few faults, surely he would think it was charming.

”Well, hey there friend. You open for business?”

Startled, Sam turned to see a slightly unkempt man standing in the narrow beam of light streaming through the open door.

”Oh, umm, hello. No, no, I’m sorry. I should have locked the door.”

”Oh, don’t worry. It was locked. I just used my key.”

Sam stared in disbelief as the man tipped his hat and walked past the bar top into the back room.

“Excuse me, where do you think you’re going?” She threw her wet rag into the sink and followed after him. “Sir? Hello? You cannot be in here. How did you get a key?”

The back room was small – adequate to store a few cases of beer without going downstairs – so it took no time to realize her surprise visitor must have gone into the basement. She had watched this scene play out in horror films too many times to risk going down those steps in pursuit.

Cell service inside the bar was lousy so she stepped onto the corner to call her realtor. When Marci did not answer, Sam decided to lock up and drive to the police station. She fought the urge to call her father for advice knowing where that conversation would lead.

After a too-detailed explanation to the officer at the front desk, Sam was asked to take a seat in the waiting room. Luckily, this was a small village and crime wasn’t exactly running rampant in the streets – only on her corner it seemed. She was finally called back to meet with a slightly balding, slightly overweight officer, Sgt Matthews.

After relaying the story yet again, the officer rolled back in his chair and smiled. “I think I know who your culprit is. Mr. McCreely. We haven’t seen him around much lately, but a few people told me they saw him milling around down near the tavern.” The officer described the man and the description matched perfectly.

”Well, how did this Mr. McCreely get a key to my bar? Explain that!”

”Oh, that’s easy. He used to own the place. He’s a likable fellow once you get to know him.”

”I have no intention of getting better acquainted with him. I insist you arrest him for trespassing. Can you come with me now? He is probably still there.”

”I’m afraid I can’t do that ma’am.”

”And why not?” Sam was furious now.

”I’m afraid dear Mr. McCreely died two years ago.”