To My Father, Dallas Marlin Ryle, Jr., on Father’s Day, 2016 — mysticalunionincarnation

Reblogging my sister’s post that she wrote for my dad on Father’s Day. Thanks, Patty! I love the memories she shared, beginning with picking blackberries, and the thoughts about my dad.

Blackberry pickin’ Heat and long sleeves Briars and chiggers And pure joy as fingers get pricked like a Sleeping Beauty And stained dark purple. The blackberries plop plop into aluminum pails. We fill them up for jelly, cobbler, But it’s the experience of being with you. My father, my dad Who nursed us when we […]

via To My Father, Dallas Marlin Ryle, Jr., on Father’s Day, 2016 — mysticalunionincarnation

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MAY MEMORIES — Nancy’s Notes

Reblogging “May Memories,” from Nancy’s Notes. This is a post by my mother, Nancy Dendy Ryle. I know you will enjoy it as I did! I wish we had had May Day dancing and May Day baskets when I was growing up! 🙂

Memorial Day brings out the best in Americans, and oh, how we need it now, remembering all that makes our nation so special, during this nightmare of a presidential campaign. At least for one day we feel connected and sing “God Bless America” together, for many of us not just a song but an urgent […]

via MAY MEMORIES — Nancy’s Notes

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Summer

Watermelon, honeysuckle,

lemon tea with mint

Chasing shadows on the lawn

and followed where you went

Too young, the oak trees whispered

Too soon, the river knew

Our promises weren’t false, but then

they weren’t exactly true

I smiled the other evening

when someone said your name

Perhaps the wise, old trees were right

and no one was to blame

Beneath the stars of winter

Earth settles with a sigh

and firelight’s fine for dreaming

of seasons that went by

The sheltering arms of summer

The early breath of spring

I wouldn’t trade a single day

I wouldn’t change a thing

honeysuckle1

First off, let me apologize – I know I’m not a poet. And, really, this sounds like a jump rope jingle. 🙂 It has to do, a bit, with the book I’m working on now. I think this poem could kind of be about the main character’s parents, who fell in love when they were young. Leah, the main character, was born when her mom was eighteen. Cade, from Winter Wish, is a main character in this book, too; it’s sort of a sequel for him. The book will be called Summer’s Secret – if I ever finish it, that is.

The smell of honeysuckle fills the air these days; it is one of my favorite smells.  It never fails to bring memories, although not those in the poem. That is, like the book I’m working on, fiction.

Don’t worry — poems by me, on this blog, will be a highly irregular occurrence! And I use the word “poems” loosely! 🙂

I hope you’re enjoying your wildflowers, or beautiful weeds, and the memories they bring you!

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Lily’s Wish Book Review

barbara  As we get closer to the holidays, it is an honor to me to be able to write a post about the beautiful book in the picture above. The book is Lily’s Wish, written by Barbara Pyett and illustrated by Serena Geddes. Barbara is one of my FAVORITE bloggers! Her writing is delightful, and her personality warm, humorous, and caring. At present, she is taking a sabbatical from blogging, but you will find the link here to her older posts.

https://barbarapyett.wordpress.com/

If you read them, you will, like me, be hoping she returns soon!

And here, you will find the link to New Frontier Publishing, the publishers of the book.

http://www.newfrontier.com.au/books/lilys-wish/446.html

This is a review of her book, Lily’s Wish.

Lily’s Wish is a beautiful, whimsical Christmas book that celebrates the special love between children and grandparents. The story features Lily, a small child who wants to fly. At first, we, as readers, don’t know the reason Lily wants so badly to be able to fly. But then she writes a letter to Santa Claus, and the wish seems to take wings of its own.

The author, Barbara Pyett, has written a heartwarming story that weaves together the magical moments of Christmas with a very real love that exists all year long: the love of Lily for her grandmother. The book is sure to please children as well as their parents and grandparents, perhaps especially grandparents who do not live close to their grandchildren.

The illustrations, by Serena Geddes, are lovely. Children will be delighted to follow the story through pictures and discover the wonderful surprise that is revealed near the end of the book.

This book will enhance story-sharing time around the holidays, both for children and for those of us who are still children at heart, especially at Christmas.

Note: This book can also be ordered from Scholastic  Australia.

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Going Down Highway 41 . . . Summer Lists

 

dad      Griffin, Barnesville, Roberta, Fort Valley, Perry. I recited this litany each time my family made the trip to Perry, Georgia to see my grandparents. The list was of the towns we would pass, once we had driven through Atlanta, on the way to my dad’s parents’ house. I’m sure it was compiled, in part, to eliminate at least some of the question about how much farther it was to Perry.

We didn’t go on the Interstate, not for many years. There was no I-75. We rode down Highway 41, the same one referenced in The Allman Brothers Band’s song, “Ramblin’ Man.” I learned from my mom to call it “The Four-lane.” As in, the four-lane, the only four-lane we had back then in Marietta. It took a lot  longer than it does today.

The list seemed to help. Fort Valley . . . almost there!

41

My conversation with my dad this week somehow again includes a list. Not a straight-forward list, but a kind of list that meanders, that stops to elaborate, or explain, or savor.

The list begins with tomatoes. Homegrown, vine-ripened, and especially heirloom tomatoes. Tomato sandwiches, with mayonnaise of course, on some kind of bread that isn’t really all that good for you. Bread that gets kind of soggy so that the whole thing seems to melt in your mouth. BLT’s, too, the bacon crispy.

tomatoes   Butter beans, crowder peas, lady peas. Vidalia onions, so sweet you can almost eat them like an apple. Fried chicken, the pieces smaller in the past than they are now, more flavorful, and rice and  gravy. Creamed corn, only we called it fried corn. We are making a list of summer foods we love, most of them things we ate in Perry. The list seems to call forth the memories, or maybe the memories call forth the list.

Peaches. Here we elaborate, reviewing how the Elberta peach, which helped the peach industry thrive, was developed near Perry. My dad’s first job was in a peach packing shed, where he packed bushels, pecks, and quarts, learning to put the best peaches on top. He was twelve.

peaches From there it is an easy segue to homemade ice cream, peach or vanilla. My grandmother’s recipe called for her to actually cook it first, like custard. It was indescribably good.

When we get to fish suppers, we pause again. Remember how Katie, my youngest sister, even as a small child always caught more fish than anyone?! Bream and bass, fried in cornmeal, hushpuppies, homemade slaw. “Ooooh,” my dad says, closing his eyes in blissful recall.

I remember my sister, Patty, and I sleeping on the living room floor on a palett. I liked the ritual of my mom and my grandmother laying down quilt after quilt, then a sheet,then another sheet, and then the pillows. Finally all the grownups came in to kiss us goodnight. Mom, Dad, Grandmother and Granddaddy Ryle, and my great-grandmother, Mama Watson.

A drum-shaped fan close to us whirred all night, moving the air around during the heat of a  summer night in middle Georgia. Outside, the cars and big trucks rolled down the highway that ran in front of my grandparents’ house. The sounds were like tree frogs or cicadas for me, soothing, the background music from a childhood memory.

This memory leads to a question and another list. “What was that highway?” I ask. “Was it Highway 41?”

“No, 341,” Dad answers. “It went to Clinchfield and Hawkinsville and Jesup.”

My dad is getting sleepy. His eyes are closing as he lies on the sofa. He will probably nap now.  My mom has gone to play bridge, and I will stay here until the wonderful caregiver comes at four.

My dad can’t get around by himself anymore and needs help for many things. But his memories are sharp and clear, his personality, his humor, and love the same. He is good company.

I love that he appreciates things; that he, and my mom, instilled that in us. I’m glad we can still appreciate things together.

I hope lists comfort him the way they do me.

“So where did 41 go?” I ask. “After Perry?”

“Cordele,” he says. “Tifton . . . Valdosta . . .”

 

 

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Cats (again), A Friend, and a Wonderful Book

atlmdI have been kind of delinquent lately with my blogging. I haven’t blogged since – gulp – January! There are actually Christmas decorations in a picture on my last post. The shame.

In fact . . . that last post was about our new kitty, Dottie, and now we have two kitties, Dottie and Misty.dottiedesk mistymouse   This post isn’t really about them. It’s about a wonderful book that I want to review, And Then Like My Dreams, by Margaret Rose Stringer, or M-R, as she likes to be called.

Where the cats come in, is, well . . . I was hoping to post a picture of me holding the real book, not the “Save Image As”  file that I inserted at the beginning. But the cats managed to knock the book first behind, and then under, a very heavy piece of furniture that we are unable to move or see under, and so. 😦 (Perhaps I should not have left that pile of “things I need” there. Ah, well, the cats did play a role!)

And Then Like My Dreams is a memoir, a love story, and more. It is the story of M-R and her beloved husband, Chic Stringer, who met, fell in love, married, and had an incredible journey on their life together for the next thirty or so years. M-R tells of how her life changed, became something different, after meeting Chic, who was an outstanding stills photographer when everything in the film business was actually shot on film. Reading about the careers they both had in the Australian film industry was fascinating to me, but the book also describes a rich life outside the lively film business.

I was immersed in the  travels to Italy and France, the cuisine, the music, the friends, and the home they (literally) built together. I loved hearing about their lives in Australia. Interlaced with M-R’s wit and humor, the book celebrates the joy and fulfillment of loving someone as deeply as she  and Chic loved each other, as well as her honest sharing of her struggles and heartbreak.

I continue to be moved by this story, saddened so by the loss that we know from the beginning is coming, and inspired by the depths of the love these two shared. M-R’s writing about her anguish and grief at Chic’s illness and death gives even more meaning to the story of the times they shared when he was alive.

This book reminds us how brightly love can shine, how quickly life can pass, and how cherished are those moment we share with those we love. It entertained me; it moved me; it affected me deeply. It inspired me. And for that, I am grateful.

The book is published by Fremantle Press and can be found on Amazon.

http://www.amazon.com/Then-Like-My-Dreams-Memoir/dp/1922089028/ref=sr_1_1_twi_2_pap?ie=UTF8&qid=1434937058&sr=8-1&keywords=and+then+like+my+dreams

On a personal note, I am privileged to call M-R a friend. Even though I have never met her in person, I have become her friend, through her blog, my blog (alas – when I blog!), and discussion and comments on other blogs. Sadly, she is leaving blogging behind, but her archived posts will be up until her birthday, July 8th. You can find them here:

http://adjustingmybackground.com/

Last but not least . . . a bit early, M-R, but Happy Birthday!cake  P.S. I might have eaten the cupcake after I took the picture 🙂

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Learning from my Kitten

I have been a little distracted lately. Okay a lot distracted. After years of being petless, we have adopted a new kitten.We are obsessed. I’ll admit it. And, since I am rather easily distracted anyway, it doesn’t take much to divert my attention.

In this case, it has been a wonderful diversion! Plus, I am learning so much from her.

For example:

xmas Enjoy those special occasions.

stretching  Stretch when you wake up. Plenty of stretching is good for the joints.

messy Don’t worry too much about the mess.

beaz&dottie Cuddle.

adoption Love your family.

mom And your extended family. (Note from my mother, welcoming Dottie.)

helping Help others.

relaxing Learn to relax.

accessor Accessorize.

me And last but not least. . . give joy to others.

Happy New Year, everyone!

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Throwback Picture

image

Throwback picture from last year – this is my husband, Beazer (nickname 😉 ) and son, Ben, last year. This is such a happy memory for me, taken at my book signing.

I used two of my Kindle free promotion days today and tomorrow, which might not have been such a good idea as so many people are shopping or watching football! I know my husband is! (watching football; not shopping.)

Oh well, I am not the best at marketing!

I hope you’re enjoying your day, whatever it holds. I am headed off to write all day. I wrote a book-length rough draft that ended up being mostly back story and/or exploration of the strands of ideas I had. NOW I am writing the rough draft! I was hoping I would be able to write this book faster than I did the last one. . . but maybe not! 🙂

 

 

 

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Grateful

I love this time of year. November brings a sort of stillness and quiet, animals settling in for the winter, people slowing down. (Well. . . they speed back up in December, but then they slow down!)

As Thanksgiving nears, I tend to focus my gratitude in part on seasonal blessings. Focusing is a good thing; it keeps me from going on and on. . . and on and on.

I am grateful for. . .

  • leaves that change from yellow and flame-colored to old gold and bronze maple
  • mist and wind and early morning rain
  • songs about such, like “In the Early Morning Rain”

  • a warm, dry place to sleep
  • fires, candles, blankets, quilts. Oh, and flannel anything (shirts, PJs), sweatshirts when they are new and soft, slipper socks

candle

flannel

  • tomato-based anything: chili, spaghetti, my mother’s vegetable soup
  • reading in bed, especially mysteries
  • family coming from out of town to be together
  • my mother, age 86, and my dad, age 87
  • my wonderful husband and Ben and Gary, our sons – loved, loved, loved everyday
  • spiritual blessings
  • seeing compassion and love, bravery and care
  • hope. . .for more of these, for all creatures great and small
  • hope. . . to do better, be better

And last but not least. . . anything pumpkin flavored: pies, muffins, bread, donuts (yes, I found them this year), lattes, soup. . .

“Hurrah for the fun, is the pudding done?                                                                              Hurrah for the pumpkin pie!”                                                                                                       (from “The New-England Boy’s Song about Thanksgiving Day” by Lydia Marie Child)

pumpkin

 

 

 

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Morning Mist

imageThis morning I headed out early. I mean real early. I woke up at four-thirty and got up shortly after. Around eight,  I decided I might as well drive on up to Red Top Mountain, one of my favorite places.

I’ll confess: I got coffee at Dunkin’ Donuts first. And a donut, a pumpkin donut. Then I headed up the road.

I had planned to write a blog about fall and take some pictures to go with it. Not very original, I know, but I do love fall. And being awake in time to see the early morning sunshine on the first sunny day we have had in a while was exhilarating.

I thought I would take some pictures of fiery maple leaves catching the sun. Of the bright turquoise water and the blue, blue sky. Of dewdrops sparkling in the still-wet grass.

But this is what I got. image

And this. image

A misty morning. The woods around the lake seemed hushed and the mist on the water ghostly and mysterious.

I was reminded of one quarter in college – (we still had quarters back then in the er, um,  70’s) – when my roommate was studying in Germany and I lived with some friends, at Furman University, on campus in a building called “the shack.” Living at the shack was a privilege reserved for seniors, and such a good time we had. The shack looked kind of like a log cabin, smelled faintly of wood smoke, and was all the way across the lake from the regular dorms.

Each morning I would walk across the lake on the footbridge, either to my first class or to “cold breakfast.” (I never made it up in time for “hot breakfast.”) Many mornings mist floated above the water, shrouding my path in mystery. I love mornings – although my husband might disagree because I do not wake up exactly cheerful – but these mornings, especially, I have never forgotten.

Like snow, in a way, mist seems to make familiar surroundings look different. Perhaps they seem a bit strange, often magical. The difference, to me, seems in some ways promising. Who knows what this day will hold?

By the time I left, the mist was burning off and the water sparkled in the sun. I headed back to the “real world” actually glad I had woken up at such an early hour.

 

image

image

 

 

 

 

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