Beyond FINALLY: A Long-Overdue Spring Overview
I’ve been amassing and reading some unique books lately:
Earthly Fathers by Scott Sawyer. I met Scott last year via his wife Joy, a Denver poet and fellow 2007-2008 associate of the Rocky Mountain Women’s Institute. Scott’s memoir is a tribute not only to his father who died when Scott was a baby and his beloved step-father, but to many members of his immediate and extended Texan families who cared deeply for young Scotty and his brother. Surprising turns and tragedies as well as the challenge of reconciling oneself with the demands of a difficult past are explored throughout Earthly Fathers with honest emotion and an ultimate sense of acceptance and relief. Kudos, Scotty!
I Heard the Owl Call My Name by Margaret Craven. I wrap up the Junior Great Books Program at my girls’ school next week with a discussion of this young adult classic. Margaret Craven wrote this first novel in 1973 at the age of 69. A tribute to a British Columbian Native American tribe and its fading unique way of life, I Heard the Owl Call My Name tells the story of a young Christian vicar and his experiences living among the tribe. While this story has been criticized for its portrayal of the white man invading an indigenous people and imposing his religion, I read it as a realistic portrayal of historical events. I agree native people all over the world would have been better off living without the intrusion of foreigners and foreign ways. But missionaries did what they did and various cultures intermixed; by documenting the ways this particular vicar respected and learned so much from the people he’d been sent to serve, Margaret Craven provided us with a lovely, bittersweet remembrance.
Age Ain’t Nothing but a Number by Carleen Brice. So, I have this birthday coming up next week. Not a big decade-changing birthday, but a 40-something one. In preparation for this pending birthday (and hopefully many more) I finally bought Carleen’s classic anthology of essays by treasured African American women writers, Age Ain’t Nothing but a Number. AND I got it signed on the spot. How cool is that? Essays by the likes of Nikki Giovanni, Alice Walker, Rita Dove, Terry McMillan, Gloria Naylor, Maya Angelou, Pearl Cleage and many more debunk archaic assumptions about black women in particular and all women in general; embrace the challenges and freedoms of the mid-years; and celebrate the many joys and surprises that accompany them. A classic in its own rite, Age Ain’t Nothing but a Number has just become a birthday month tradition for yours truly. What a great gift! Thanks, Carleen!
Searching for Paradise in Parker, PA by Kris Radish. I also have Carleen to thank for introducing me to Kris Radish, an inspiring writer who kindly provided the front-cover author blurb for Carleen’s novel, Orange Mint and Honey. Kris visited the south suburban Tattered Cover Book Store last week, and I’m very, very glad I made it to her signing. Check out Carleen’s terrific post on Kris’s presentation as well as her overview of Searching for Paradise in Parker, PA, one of my upcoming summer reads. Did someone say summer?!
Also this spring I’ve become more and more aware of families who need a lot of immediate TLC in the form of prayers and/or virtual hugs and/or cards and well wishes. These are the two on my current radar: Tyler, a little boy in Rochester NY with Down Syndrome who was diagnosed with leukemia earlier this year; and Joey, a little boy in Westchester NY who has Leigh’s disease, a rare, terminal condition that causes the degeneration of the central nervous system. If you’re inclined to help spread some extra spring warmth by reaching out to these families, please do! Joey’s family is asking for a “storm” of prayers this Saturday, April 19, at 4:30 pm EST, when Joey will meet the pope at St. Joseph's Seminary in Yonkers with 49 other children. As Joey’s mom, Gaby, wrote in a recent e-mail, “We are hopeful that all people of different faiths come together to pray for our 4-year-old boy. Faith knows no boundaries and prayer, no matter what religion, is a powerful thing.”
Photo: Tulip on a Spring Morning (near Denver, of course!) by peapicker