What do you do for an encore after becoming a #1 Best Selling Author? That wasn’t exactly the way my dad asked the question. It was more like, “So, other than bragging rights, what good does it do you to have the title of #1 Best Selling Author?” I about fell over and for probably the second time in my life, I was speechless. I very quickly regained my composure and I fired back, “Well, why not ask Stephen King or Danielle Steel that same question.” Yeah, I told him, didn’t I. But inside, I was seriously pondering his question. Does the title have any value to anyone other than me? And, now, what do I do.
Reading cannot only be fun but also something healthy! Back in 1999, The Association of American Publishers launched National Get Caught Reading Month. Celebrated every May, the aim was to help children through the sharing of early language experiences. This would help their brains develop quicker, thus offering them the opportunity for a brighter future. These days, the guardianship of this program is being handled by Every Child a Readerhttp://www.everychildareader.net. Along with the support of the Children’s Book Councilhttp://www.cbcbooks.org the aim is to inspire a life-long love of reading in young people of all ages.
May has the fewest letters of any month in our calendar, yet it is packed with activity. We have weddings, graduations, Mother’s Day and of course, the unofficial start of summer on Memorial Day. Farmer’s Markets are opening, garage sales are springing up like dandelions and folks are airing out their cabins and cottages for the coming vacation season. People take advantage of the sunshine to beautify the house and garden and if they own a boat, they are preparing it to take to the launch for some lazy days floating on the water. If you have nothing to do in the month of May, you aren’t paying attention.
What part of a human body that most people would agree they dislike? Their feet! Not because of what the feet do for us but because of their looks. True stuff here. Most people would rather hide their feet in shoes, socks or slippers than to allow their tootsies to be visible.
I write this after reading about the sudden death of a man I have known for nearly 30 years. When we met, we were both in our early 30’s, in charge of the businesses that employed us and had worlds to conquer. Each of us swaggered when we walked, barked when we talked and felt completely invincible. The world was ours. For many, we were superheroes!
I love me some April. We turn the corner from winter to spring and that means fresh, green and new all around. I can see the buds on the cherry tree in the front yard, wanting to burst forth and I know that one of these mornings, I will be greeted with the glory of nature’s joy!
I believe in the power of fire, because I have seen what it can do to food and forests. I believe in the reality of water for I have stood in my shower early in the morning and felt it washing over my body. But what about truths that go beyond intellect? Are there some mystical, magical powers in fire or water? Energies that we cannot see but that we sense may exist?
For as long as I can remember, music has played a significant role in my life. Not only were both my parents musically inclined but there was always some sort of music program in the schools I attended. This meant we were offered the opportunity to learn to play a musical instrument or there was a vocal music class where every student participated in learning how to sing. Having music as part of my growing experience, enriched my life beyond what mere words can convey. To this day, I have a radio in every room of my home, and a collection of recorded music that includes everything except 8-track.
As I was growing up, I used to hear people say, “Well, you learn something new, every day.” Of course, it generally followed an “ah-ha” moment for them and was a pretty clever way of them owning their humility by admitting they didn’t know everything there was to know. Naturally, I didn’t appreciate any of it until I reached an age when everyone expected I should pretty much know everything. After all, what are people in my age bracket doing on this earth if not to be a reputable source of wisdom and knowledge! How happy was I, now that I had everything all figured out!
I recon, there’s plenty I need to cotton to in this life. Now, there’s an expression one doesn’t hear too often. To “cotton to” something means to get to know more about it, or to understand. My research tells me that this expression does reference back to the cotton industry, yet I will need to dig deeper to fully understand how or why.
It’s the shortest month of the year yet, there’s so much to be done in February. Don’t you feel that way? I do. I look about and see piles of trash and treasures that need to be dealt with. I see things that I swept out of view to make room for holiday decorations or I have even acquired so many new things, that I truly need to reorganize.
When I was growing up, it was never fashionable to call someone an S.O.B. In fact, it was a bloody insult! Our mothers would wash our mouths out with soap and our fathers may have taken the strap to our tender behinds. Cursing was not acceptable and to intentionally insult another, well, that was a double whammy!
I am an unabashed popcorn person! If there is a choice to be made between, let’s say, potato chips and popcorn or pretzels and popcorn, I will always choose the popcorn. You can use an air popper, toss a bag in the microwave, stick it in a basket and pop it over an open fire or pick it up at the store, pre-popped in a bag and I will be happy. Of course, my favorite way to make corn pop, is to put some olive oil and butter into a sauce pan, turn up the heat, add the kernels and let the magic happen! The only way I have never had popcorn is to keep it on the cob and somehow cook that, but give me time…
December was quite the month. Many holy days to honor and celebrate, which our family did, in fine style. It turned out to be a month of goodbyes as well. Not only to the end of the calendar year, but to physical lives of friends and family. Beginning with Christmas Day, there was phone call after phone call, alerting us to the fact that someone near and dear to us had departed. Only one of those was a family member and oddly enough, that was the only one that wasn’t a surprise. So, here we were, with hearts filled with cheer and slowly the cheer was trying to be edged out by tears.
Do you have voicemail on your phone? Do you see that calls come in and think to yourself, “Yeah, I’ll get around to returning that call, one of these days” then, you get to the end of the week, month, or year and you never got around to it?
When you were growing up, was there someone you looked to for guidance? Perhaps, you were simply mesmerized by a teacher and the way they were able to command the classroom. Maybe, the neighbor who knew everything there was to know about gardening, was a person you found yourself shadowing. One might say that you were mentored by these folks, intentionally or otherwise. Mentors are an important part of our culture, without them there is an incredible amount of information that would be lost. To pass along what we know how to do, to the next generation, helps to ensure that traditions can live beyond our lifespan. But it’s more than that. When someone takes another under their wing, they are not only doing so to share information but to aid the underling in the absorption, processing and utilization of said information. There are strong bonds being built through those connections. We teach each other to value each other.
I read a quote once that said that without ART, the earth would be nothing more than EH. That’s not the exact quote but it makes sense. I mean, I you took the ART of out the word EARTH, then you would be left with EH. . Yeah, I figured that you “got it” but I wanted to drive the point home.