Saturday, May 29, 2010
Hello Everyone and Happy Memorial Day!
Wonderful news! The last novel in my Chesapeake Heritage Series arrived yesterday! Chesapeake Visions continues the story of Baron's Hope, a plantation in the fictitious town of Somerset on the Eastern Shore of Maryland.
In Chesapeake Visions, we meet Jewel LeCompte, daughter of a prosperous planter who keeps a few slaves in the period just before the start of the Civil War. Blind, Jewel wonders how she will manage when Emancipation changes the way farmers do business. Jewel marries, but loses her husband when a hurricane sweeps the coast and when her father dies, she is left with not just one - but two big farms to run. Her overseers are competent and care deeply about Jewel, who must make a choice between them in order to find fulfillment in her own life.
This book was dedicated to my great friend Jewel Banning, who passed away unexpectedly early this month. She knew about the book, which I dedicated to her, and was anxiously awaiting the arrival of Chesapeake Visions. I hope she would be pleased with this last volume in the set.
Cover art for this last book in the Chesapeake series was done by Snow Hill artist Dawn Tarr and features a steamboat and strawberries. The steamboat was the main mode of transportation for people and goods around the bay and the Eastern Shore was once known as the Strawberry Capital of the World - they seemed appropriate for the cover of this special book.
The Chesapeake Heritage books are available in Cambridge at Luna Chic, Bay Country Shop as well as Amazon.com and Kindle. Contact me directly for a special price for all four books in the series and keep on the sunny side! Terry
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
I was browsing through some clip art and was reminded of my novel Ancient Memories when I saw this drawing.
Ancient Memories is the story of the soul's journey, following the lives of two souls bound in a single lifetime. It is a story of love, love lost, love denied and finally love affirmed.
I have believed in reincarnation since I sat with my grandfather who taught me some of his own magical beliefs. I believe we are meant to come back to new lives to work out our problems, and to express the love we have known for eternity.
Lately I have turned my hand to poetry and this short poem came to me. I hope you like it and that you always keep on the sunny side. Terry
I COME TO YOU
I come to you through the ages.
I come to you through the love
that sustains the universe and molds the bay.
You know my name
from the wind in the hedge and the willow’s sigh.
I come to you, a tale of hope on a
winter’s eve with one held close beside the fire.
You know my heart, it is folded in the linens
and sits in a corner beside the pink geranium.
I come to you to say the myth is real,
and welcome the one with hard square hands
I somehow knew before.
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
I tend to be an early riser since childhood when Mom called us from our beds to work in the garden. We were pretty young and it seemed cruel at the time, but I don't think we were very well off and the garden work guaranteed a larger food supply - and kept us busy so we didn't get into too much mischief as the day wore on. Once we finished our hour pulling weeds in the garden, we often were given pails and dishes to go out and pick strawberries, black raspberries or gooseberries in the fence rows.
Later in the summer, we walked up to the mountainside across the valley and picked blueberries in 12-quart zinc-lined pails in an area where a fire had denuded a miles-wide swath of forest. When we got home the next thing was to pick all the little branches and bugs out of our harvest so it could be frozen for pies and cobblers during the coming winter.
There were always things to do on the farm, and usually those things involved getting up early, so it wasn't so hard to do the same when I went to the city and worked for a living. Writing for the newspaper was both the easiest and the most difficult. I had to go to the office at 6 a.m. in order to make deadline at 9 o'clock! (Even if I had attended an important meeting that lasted until midnight.)
Now I am retired and still find the urge to wake early and write, which I do, although I admit I sometimes lie lie in bed and listen to the birds celebrating the break of day.
All that said, I wish you a glorious day. Keep on the sunny side! Terry
I’d nearly forgotten how good morning could taste,
There are birds out there, celebrating – or gossiping!
Or, maybe they just tend to business straightaway
So the rest of their day is free.
To fly would certainly make me lose my concentration!
Hey! Maybe they have the idea they can
Hustle the sun up sooner or something.
But the sun moves by its own lights.
See how gently it handles spring
Coaxing each leaf to unfurl its banner –
Green canapés and coupolas for spring.
It did rain, but it isn’t now.
The car tires schlusch through the puddles --
Where red maple flowers float through the night --
First one, then more,
Armored for the day in steel on rubber wheels.
Well, I still have time for my rich black cup,
To smell its hot perfume,
and watch the morning waken up –
I had nearly forgotten how good it could taste.
Sunday, May 23, 2010
I have been compiling a book of poetry lately - some brand new, others that I made years ago. I don't know if they will ever be published, so I am posting them here since my instinct is to share and there are so many piling up in the corners of my rooms.
The photo you see above was taken in Chamberlin, SD, on a trip with my good friend Melanie. She wanted to see some buffalo. I wanted to see my brother in Rapid City. We did both, and I took about 300 photos along the way. Photos are another way to tell stories, so I am posting a few of my efforts here.
My life has been a series of journeys and I have traveled far from the little Appalachian village where I lived and went to school. My favorite occupation - then as now - was reading, and when I have nothing to read, I make things up. I have been writing for more than 40 years, and probably will continue until I die.
One thing I have not experienced in this life was the privilege of staying in the same place my whole life. As a wanderer, my roots are shallow and there is no moss on the stone I roll. Consider yourself fortunate if you have had the honor of staying in the same place from birth to death. Maybe next time ...
Blessings and keep on the sunny side, Terry
What is It Like?
What is it like to live in one place
For all the seasons of one’s life,
To know the same neighbors,
And walk about at night with the lights turned off?
What is it like to have a friend
Known through the backyards of lazy childhood play
Through daunting death and drizzling days
Of rain where you were born to live and stay?
What is it like to know the same
Familiar, kindly faces for the entire span of a life –
The librarian, and the hard-muscled men who
Fix your car and toilet? What is it really like?
What is it like to sing the very same hymns
From Sunday School all the way through
An elder’s years when you can comfortably nap
Through the service on responsibility, and talk
To the Master one on one?
Friday, May 21, 2010
One of my very favorite networks is Animal Planet. The various shows about wild and tame animals are just amazing. I like learning what it takes to raise a baby rhino and how an elephant's pregnancy progresses. I even saw a whale give birth!
What I liked less, but find myself watching mesmerized are the animal rescue shows. I absolutely marveled at the cruelty humans can impose on their pets. Dogs especially seem to have such empathy for the humans that hurt them. All they want is a little love.
When the young man next door brought home a Rottweiler and proceeded to chain the dog in the back yard of his apartment house, I was scared to death as the huge animal lunged at the chain, trying to get loose and perhaps eat me alive. That was the first day.
As time went on, I experienced other emotions as I watched this magnificent animal grow quiet and lie listless in the yard, his chain tangled in a brush pile, his food dishes far out of his reach. What I felt then was less fear than sadness and anger at the person who cautioned me against touching the dog - because he had been in a fight. What sort of fight? I wondered.
I watched all this for a few days and called animal control... in fact it took several days before anyone came out to look at the dog... and then the owner was cautioned against failing to feed and water this dog, but the sad chapter continued and one day the big dog simply disappeared. I don't know what happened to the poor thing but I heard a big dog fighting ring had been busted up a few days before.
I can only hope that the poor dog had the opportunity to have a better life, even though I know that dogs that have been fought for entertainment most often end up being euthanized. I can only hope the poor thing went straight to doggie heaven. I eventually wrote the following poem about the experience.
With that thought, I urge you to support the Humane Society any way you can - oh yes, and keep on the sunny side... Terry
THE DOG NEXT DOOR
The dog next door
Dug a hole to sleep
In the cool, dry earth.
His ears pick up
With every foot fall
On the blighted yard.
The dog next door
Is hope, chained to hate,
With food and water
Past the links that bind him
In dirty, rusted pans.
The dog next door
Paces back and forth,
Unmoved by the
Squirrels that come there to
Eat his food and bury nuts
As if he was not there.
The dog next door
Does not note the singing
Birds that bathe in the
Dirty water he cannot reach –
It is too far away
For him to reach and drink.
The dog next door does not
Lunge or bark or whine.
I think this morning that
He has given up on life,
And I want to weep.
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
Recently a friend suggested I might want to publish some of my poetry in a book and I think it might be an idea - although I have never really considered myself a poet. To my admittedly skewed point of view, poets are airy sorts with their heads in the clouds, people who mangle their subject matter until it makes little sense - but often rhymes.
That said, I thought I might publish a couple of my poems here to see what people think of my efforts. This first story is about the island women I got to know when I was a reporter for the local daily newspaper. The newspaper is now published twice a week and instead of news, it publishes lists and legal notices. The world has changed - for me, for the news, and for the island women who always knew what to expect of life.
She sits, her hands in her lap at rest,
Fingers bundles of broken twigs,
Brown and knotted, scarred,
Big-knuckled from long hours with the knife
Worrying the sweet meat
From horny red shells that cut to the quick.
If she didn’t have all those years
What would there be
Beyond the work?
Her dress is clean,
Faded at shoulder, thigh and breast
Patches over patches
Covered with a familiar apron
Of dim rose print.
Her hair is pulled back each morning
Anchored against the wind –
The constant wind.
Fine lines fan out from
Eyes once as blue as bay and sky,
Now faded into pearly haze.
She was always there
In the house beside the water
Where the fiddler crabs
Clattered their shells
At break of day,
Annoyed at her footsteps
As she tended the goat,
The chickens, the pig.
She doesn’t need much.
The neighbors look in on her.
She smiles, says she is fine.
And they leave, shaking their heads
At her presence at all.
Her voice is now an echo
Of the persisting wind
As she whispers her prayers
Over sourdough batter
Started years before and
Stirred with a tarnished spoon.
Her children live on
In faded portraits ranked
By size and age on the mantle shelf
Where the flu is cold
In the summer damp.
They rarely call.
Her man was heavy of hand,
Shoulders as strong as trees from the tongs.
She loved him when
The two were young,
But then he lay down to sleep
One night, and did not breathe
In morning’s light.
There was a time she waited
On the bridge near the water’s edge,
For the sight of a well known sail;
And now for the Maker’s call.
There’s nothing more.
Her world has passed
And soon will fade her memories
In a tattered book that once
Fell into the green water
So that the ink ran
And the tales were lost.
Keep on the sunny side! Terry
PS: I took this photo when I worked for the local newspaper with Miss Nora's permission. Please let me know if you want a copy of the file. Terry
Friday, May 14, 2010
In July, the Main Street Gallery will present "Chair-ity", a gallery show devoted to chairs. Proceeds from the sale of chair art will benefit local charities!
Yes, we know that chair-ity is not spelled properly, but it is all for a good cause. The Main Street Gallery was kicked off with some funding from the national Main Street initiative, but that prop is about to be kicked out from under the new gallery in town.
It took me a couple of months to think what to do with a chair, because I am much more comfortable with words than with three-dimensional objects. However, I had an extra chair up in my bedroom and I decided I could do something with it - if I could only think of it.
It took me a couple of months to realize I couldn't think of anything! Then one day I was clearing out some of the piles in my office/studio when I came across a seed catalog. The beautiful, gorgeous photos of flowers were so darned pretty I hesitated at the though of throwing it away.
But wait! I could graft the flowers to the chair and add a fancy lace seat and I would have a chair worth chair-ity! At least I hope so.
My goal in participating in the Main Street Gallery shows is two-fold. First, I try to make the art adhere to the various themes for the semi-monthly gallery shows. Second, I try to use things in the art that I already have.
The flowers-forever chair fit both of those criteria! Yay!
Did I mention that the chair art will be auctioned for chair-ity? Yep. So if you like the flowers/forever chair, save your pennies. You might win it at the auction!d
I have been working on the chair for the better part of three days, with a couple of days more to go as I finish pasting on the flowers and then seal the whole with polyurathene varnish. Stinky stuff, that, but I'm game.
It is for chair-ity after all. The chair-ity gallery will open on June 30, so mark your calendar to come out and see all the wonderful chair art local artists have produced. Do that, and keep on the sunny side! Terry
Thursday, May 6, 2010
I have thought about Janis a lot since we were born on the same day - along with Dolly Parton. It isn't possible, but I sure would like to sing with the two of them. How odd it seems that we should all be singers - yes, I sang country and bluegrass back in the day.
Do people born on the same day share similar characteristics? I would like to think so, although there are elements of Janis's and even Dolly's lives I would not want to have to live. I have an idea fame is difficult. Always being on has to be frightening. Always being ready to sing is another thing I never quite managed.
Maybe it was the Christian thing - or having a child at 21. You forge obligations, and as far as I know neither Janis or Dolly had a child. I worked in an adult day care center with the elderly, and I enjoyed that. I wonder if my two astrological sisters got to do that.
My calling was writing, and I have spent my whole life chasing that dream. If you look at www.writewordsinc.com, you will find more than a dozen of my books. I never received the fame Dolly or Janis did, but there is still time. Maybe someday I will be just as famous as Janis and Dolly. If so, I hope I manage to live through it and hold up as well as Dolly during my golden years. So far, I have had an incredible journey.
I hope you have too, and that you walk on the sunny side. Terry
Tuesday, May 4, 2010
My friend Jewel passed on Sunday. She was born with cataracts and spent much of her youth in a state school for the blind. She was teaching a rehab center when she met Donald, the love of her life. She could see only light and shadow. Don is completely blind.
Like Hansel and Gretel, these two very special individuals moved from place to place as work called, and raised three able and beautiful, sighted children. Jewel stayed home with the kids and worked with choirs wherever she happened to be. A beautiful voice and strong abilities as a pianist made her popular wherever she would go. Donald taught special and blind children for over 40 years.
I met the pair when they called me at Pleasant Day Medical Adult Day Care Center asking if they could come to entertain the clients. You can bet I accepted their offer immediately. You can hardly imagine my delight when Jewel asked me to sing with them and invited me to dredge up the words to the big stage plays of the fifties.
We rocked the Surrey With The Fringe On Top and torched Mack the Knife. What fun! I felt as if I had met a sister I did now know I had, and I believe Jewel felt the same way for we were drawn to each other like lovers, although that was not the pull - we both loved music and sharing it made the music better.
I made sure they were on the Pleasant Day calendar whenever they happened to come to Cambridge from their New Orleans home and the two of us were thick as thieves on those visits that were never long enough.
When I made my gospel CD, it would not do but that Jewel come and play piano for the event. What fun to make brand new music with a great piano player. We made great plans for Don's retirement when they would move to Cambridge.
When I think of Jewel, I think of shopping trips and reasons to sing. I think of the iris in my tiny front yard and how she loved big, showy flowers.
I didn't get to say goodbye when Don and Jewel went home after an April visit. I had no idea it was the last time we would see each other, and I don't even seem to have a photo of this sweet friend - although friends do and I hope that if they do, they will share, but I do not need a photo to see Jewel - plowing through life with verve and joy, trusting that her path will be clear.
What a privilege to have known her.
Keep on the sunny side. Terry
Sunday, May 2, 2010
During the week, Melvin Colton and his wife Marlita welcomed every child with a smile. They did not seem to mind the children who stood with nose pressed to glass, trying to decide what to purchase with their pennies. Melvin always seemed to have time to use the little wooden measure to scoop out a penny's worth of Boston Baked Beans - which were reddish brown, and resembled beans baked in molasses, although they did not taste of beans and made a penny go a long, long way. Mr. Colton always wore a striped shirt with a little leather bow tie at the throat.
The trick was to select the candies that filled the tiny, quarter-pound brown paper bags with an eye as to which variety of sweet would last the longest. Mr. Colton would even open a pack of gum to sell you a single stick of Beman's Pepsin or Black Jack, gum we could chew all day long if we kept it quiet. Mom had no patience with popping bubbles or open-mouthed chewing. It is true, the flavor did not last very long, but chewing gum was somehow cool, proof of one's potence in the world.
I liked the little chocolate bears, but they were not so many for a cent, and of Tootsie Rolls, you had but one piece, for chocolate did not figure largely in the varieties of sweets to be had for just one cent.
Marlita Colton was a pale redhead with hair combed exactly the same each day. She only came out into the store if there were more than two or three customers so that no one need to wait while Melvin carved wedges of pungent cheddar cheese from the wheel on the table beside the cash drawer. He wrapped each piece of cheese in white paper tied with red and white cord, which we carefully kept at home in case of need. His wife was a healer of sorts, always ready to fish out a splinter or advise on a poltice to draw out infection when the splinter was not pulled in time.
Collton's store was a marvel of economy, with each shelf stocked to best advantage, but I never quite understood why the Wolverine boots - the only sort of footwear the men wore in that part of the world, were displayed below the mirrored flats where oranges and bananas were arranged, waiting the children who picked up parts of their lunch on their way to school, which was just down the block by the Grange Hall. There were no women's clothing, but you could purchase thread and needles to make your own.
Outside, there was a bench in the shade by the front door to sit upon when it got hot in the summer and had a popsicle of red or blue to paint your tongue and lips with frosty cold. On school days, the bigger boys showed off by pouring salted peanuts into their cola bottles on the theory such a mixture could make you drunk. Girls gossipped about school and friends in town - and who had a bra already.
Colton's store had the only gas pumps in the village, and everyone pumped his own gas and went inside to report the amount and settle up. There was rarely a line, for the farmers had their own tanks and pumps to fuel pick-ups and tractors. They had one at the big house, but Dad got his gas at Colton's store.
One thing about Colton's store. Those people extended credit to people waiting on their milk checks or factory pay to settle up on Friday night. Just about everyone in the village charged things at Colton's store, and sometimes it was a blessing for some hungry child who might not have had anything to eat otherwise.
They don't make places like Colton's store any more. Today businessmen are too busy to wait on children, to learn their names, and be patient while they spend their birthday pennies. You might have a credit card, but you will probably never have the sort of loving, Christian relationship Melvin and Marlita Colton offered to an entire community. Bless their hearts, and bless this memory of a gentler time.
I hope you have a great day and keep on the sunny side, Terry
Terry L White -Author of the Chesapeake Heritage Series
"Travel Through Time With Terry"