Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Remember that one time when Helen Keller went all Pulp Fiction on Nazi Germany?

Helen Keller, to German university students, upon hearing that books (hers included) were being burned in Germany:  “Do not imagine that your barbarities to the Jews are unknown here. God sleepeth not, and He will visit His judgment upon you. Better were it for you to have a mill-stone hung around your neck and sink into the sea than to be hated and despised of all men.”

Ms. Keller’s words remind me of those quoted from Ezekiel 25:17 by Samuel L. Jackson’s Pulp Fiction character right before he shoots the man who has transgressed against his boss,  “And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who attempt to poison and destroy my brothers. And you will know my name is the Lord when I lay my vengeance upon you."

I would not have crossed Ms. Keller.  Nor Mr. Jackson.  Nor the Lord.  To read Ms. Keller's full 1933 letter, visit here.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Happy Mother's Day 2013

This is my beautiful sweet momma when she was a girl.  She raised and showed Brahma cattle.  And then she raised my sister and me, which I'm sure at times was much like raising cattle.  I like her jeans and boots in this photo.

This is my Aunt Marilyn.  I recall her helping me with my math homework on one of her visits to Alabama.  I was far more taken by her glittery owl necklace than the math.  Marilyn also once bought me a very sophisticated two-piece, royal blue, terry cloth Gloria Vanderbilt pantsuit because she thought I could pull it off.  You read right, a two-piece, royal blue, terry cloth Gloria Vanderbilt pantsuit.   Yes, I appreciate the pantsuit, but I appreciate more the encouragement and the confidence she gave me to wear that pantsuit.

And this is my gran, Elizabeth Durham Smith, with the swordfish she caught in Acapulco many years ago.  She was strong in every conceivable way.  I miss you gran.

This is my Aunt Edna (with yours truly).  She was a very sharp dresser and had a gorgeous gap in her front teeth, like Lauren Hutton.  She always smelled good, and would let me play with her perfume bottles.  She was pure magic.  I miss her, too.  This picture says a great deal about the two of us.  Edna was always put together and dignified.  Me, not so much.

Happy Mother's Day to all the moms out there!

Friday, May 3, 2013

Irene & Tex (Part 1?)

Sometime last month, Tex arrived on our porch talking about “this writer, Irene Latham” who visited his school to talk about books.  I couldn’t contain my excitement as I exclaimed that Irene was a friend of mine and that I loved her books more than just about anything!  Tex was grinning and telling me that he knew all about Leaving Gee’s Bend and Don’t Feed the Boy, and was just overflowing with the pride of him knowing me, and me knowing a famous author like Irene, and all of us knowing each other.  Why, he was just pacing the porch with all that pride.  And then, when I asked him which of Irene’s books did he think he would like to read most, he bashfully told me that he’d really like to have Leaving Gee’s Bend, but that he didn’t have the money to get a copy of it.

The very next day, I emailed Irene, who set about making sure that Tex received a copy of Leaving Gee’s Bend with a personal inscription from her to him (Irene has known about Tex for some time, basically since his “one way mirror suit” comments from last summer).

So, after a hand-delivery of the book by Irene to a mutual friend, and then a hand-delivery of said book to me by said mutual friend, I was able to give the gift to Tex a couple of nights ago.  He was beside himself when I handed him the book-shaped package marked TEX, the package that I told him was from Irene.  And rocking from one foot to the other with excitement, he proceeded to try to cut open the wrapping with a knife.  I stopped him as gently as I could and offered to open it for him, lest he cut the book jacket or himself in his glee.   Once unwrapped and in his hands, the book was turned over and over as if he couldn’t believe that Irene had sent him, HIM, a book.  And when he opened the book up to the title page where Irene had penned a personal message to him, he just about lost his Kool Aid.

“But how did she know my real name?!?”  My response was, “Well, I told her your real name.”  Then he laid himself down on our chaise lounge (the one he always acts like he owns) and proceeded to read silently from Leaving Gee’s Bend.  And when he finally decided to get up and go play with the other kids swarming around the neighborhood, he started to take the book with him.  Again, I gently stopped him and suggested that he leave his book on our porch while he played, because the kind of playing he does is probably not good for books.  So, he put the book gently down on the piano bench which serves as our porch table and asked if it was okay that he left it there for awhile.  Of course it was okay.

Tex ran off to play, looking back over his shoulder to make sure the book was still there.  Five minutes later I spied out the window to see that the book and Tex were gone.  I think his mind was too crowded with thoughts of Leaving Gee’s Bend for him to concentrate properly on playing that night.

I'm sure this story is to be continued...