Sunday, December 31, 2017
12/31/17 RMB Happy New Year!
Dear Rita Mae Brown,
Another year has zoomed by.
In this year some of us faced more challenges than others, all of us had something, at some point or another to laugh about, or be thankful for, or embrace.
My brother faced health challenges and overcame them to be with us at our family reunion. I was thankful that, once again, he could sit across the table from us, tease us, laugh with us, and give us comfort in his very special way. He is a great brother, always has been. And beyond that, he is a great man.
So we embark on a new year. I look forward to reading more of your books, although at the rate you write them, I don’t know if I will ever catch up to your current publication. I am in the middle of Whisker of Evil.
I look forward to accomplishing more and being more of who I want to be in the new year. Although I am happy with who I am, I think it human nature to always want to move forward. I pray that those who guide our country, and the many other counties that comprise our world, see the the wisdom in allowing us to move forward together, as one humankind.
In The Four Agreements, a book of Toltec wisdom, author don Miguel Ruiz reveals the following keys.
1. Be impeccable with your word.
2. Don't take anything personally.
3. Don't make assumptions.
4. Always do your best.
Sounds like a good plan for the new year to me :)
Happy New Year!
Tuesday, November 28, 2017
11/28/17 RMB Happy Birthday!
Happy Birthday Rita Mae Brown,
It is a cool, crisp morning here in California and I’d bet it is even cooler in Virginia. I hope this day brings you all of what pleases you most, moments of laughter and of peace, birthday greetings from those that matter most to you, and some really good cake!
This day reminds me of the trip your father and aunt took to bring you home as you described it in Rita Will. What an adventurous way to begin your journey.
Cheers to you on your special day,
Monday, November 20, 2017
11/20/17 RMB Happy Thanksgiving Week
Dear Rita Mae Brown,
Happy Thanksgiving week!
A text from my nephew appeared on my phone the other day. It displayed only an image of the lineup for the Kentucky Book Fair. It was a poster that he spotted with photos of the authors, including one Rita Mae Brown. A rare pang of jealousy reared its dragon like head and poof’d smoke over me making me wish that, like my nephew, for this one weekend, I lived in Kentucky.
Here in California, I just finished reading The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohllben.
Last week my sister/roommate and I spent a weekend at our other sister’s home (the nephew’s mom) in Orange County. We celebrated an early Thanksgiving dinner and sister time.
This week I will travel to the high desert in 29 Palms to visit and celebrate the holiday with Teddy and the friends who are her desert family.
So here is what I am thankful for this week, this year, always…Authors, like yourself, who bring nature a little closer to us. The animals in your stories, the trees Peter studied, these are wonderful ruminations for the mind to explore.
I’m thankful for family, not family by blood, but by choice, because family that share DNA, must still choose to be the kind of family I’m thankful for, the kind that supports each other and drives or flies hours just to share a dinner and moments together. If some happen to share microscopic markings, great, but the strongest of bonds are made by the heart, mind and soul.
There is a strength in circles, the ones we place around us hold us up. My nephew, who owns an important part of my heart, sent that photo, because he knows me. And because he knows me, he knows of you. And that made me as happy as anything else. I like my circle and I’m glad you are in it.
Tuesday, October 31, 2017
10/30/17 RMB Happy Halloween
Dear Rita Mae Brown,
I blinked and October disappeared.
This evening Maria will drag her fire pit out to the center of the front yard, fill it with wood and light a fire that will brighten the path towards the candy bowl for trick or treaters, toddlers to teens.
The streets will be filled with cheer, princesses, ghosts, goblins and pumpkins. There are normally a few Supermen, Spidermen and, this year, probably more zombies that normal, an influence of our cable TV viewing. And there will be a few extra Wonder Women, loved that movie.
The two eldest of the nephew trio are in more trouble than normal, but have sweetened up their adults, myself included, to be able to partake of the festivities.
Recently I read the book Hamilton by Ron Chernow and it sparked an interest in the history of our presidents. A couple more quick reads from the YA (young adult) section of our library have filled in the blanks, forgotten history lessons from days long ago. And this venture reminded me of the trials and tribulations of our nation, the offenses, the wars, as well as the driving desire to make life better for ourselves and others that flows in waves.
First we fight, we conquer, and then we rebuild. We struggle, argue, challenge, demand…and then negotiate. On national and international levels, we eventually come to find that “we” are not better than “they”, whoever “we” and “they” may be, only different.
When we respect differences and negotiate first, will we begin to evolve into a peaceful world. Instead of rebuilding what has been destroyed, the land, families, hearts, we can build bridges spanning generations, accepting that if we are too different to live together, we can live nearby and still share our knowledge and resources.
Imagine if we had learned from the Native American, if we had lived in harmony, if we had invited the African Americans to join us, rather than capturing them, if the colonies had proven the benefits of being a free nation and negotiated our independence instead of fighting for it.
Every wish, dream, and goal, begins in the imagination. As we watch costumes parade by tonight, we are reminded that we can be anything we want to be, and peace feels within reach.
Wednesday, September 27, 2017
9/27/17 RMB Fall’s Cool Evening Breeze
Dear Rita Mae Brown,
The cool evening breeze of fall is welcome relief from the hot summer days. There is much to write to you about, too much, to the point that I don’t know where to begin. Life has seemed in a state of chaos for months, with storms in the southeast and storms in politics.
It is a good time to count blessings, to send out wishes for the best for everyone, that they find strength and compassion where and when it is most needed.
The Sun has promised to shine today and to return tomorrow, it is good to have a friend that one can count on. This friend will help those in need, in ways they may not even notice, nourishing the land and all beings alike with light and energy, drying flooded areas and just being there, as the best of friends tend to do.
You have been busy writing, or perhaps your publisher is just catching up to all of your writing, and that is another blessing. I noticed four books debuting this year, A Hiss Before Dying, Tall Tail, Cakewalk, and Crazy Like a Fox. And already announced for 2018 is Probable Claws. At my snail’s pace, I continue reading through your works chronologically. Currently, it is “Sister” Jane that offers me a welcome escape from my world into hers, as I make my way through Full Cry.
When things get crazy out there, my friend Teddy reminds me of the wise words, “There is peace in MY world”. That means more than I can define, but in part, it means creating our own universe, because our contribution counts. The best we can do is the best we can do. So, in my world, there is caring, hope, kindness, understanding, joy, appreciation, of course Rita Mae Brown, and many, many others that I am thankful for.
Peace be with you,
Thursday, August 31, 2017
8/6/17 RMB Gulf Shores Reunion
Dear Rita Mae Brown,
Big brother is getting better. Big sister too, although doctors advised she skip this reunion trip, so she is with us in thought, but not physically. About 20 of our nearest and dearest have gathered for a week in this three-story Gulf Shores rental home.
The skies shift, from clear blue to stormy, to blue again, thunder and lightning of yesterday long forgotten. Air conditioning and ceiling fans hold summer’s heat and humidity at bay.
We’ve all aged in the last two years, joints creak, breathing is labored. The young ones are old enough to be caretakers now. Some have moved on to branches of the service to be caretakers of our country, while others look after their parents.
Siblings visit, play games, walk on the beach, and catch up on each other’s lives. We get to know the ones that are now sharing their lives, husbands and wives, nieces and nephews, from the youngest of five who likes to ask, “What are you doing?” to the adventurous duo that arrived with inflatable kayak in tow.
We saw a rainbow, big and bold and bright, as we came out of a restaurant. My sister and her daughter wanted a picture of them in front of the rainbow. So, there we stopped, in the middle of the parking lot, to take photos that memorialized the moment. Then we scurried to find our respective cars full of natives from the south, not nearly as enchanted by the storm and the rainbow, as we Californians.
We all get along for a handful of days, finding common ground, and enjoying the best of one another.
Thursday, July 27, 2017
7/27/17 RMB Baja in Front, Texas to the Left
Dear Rita Mae Brown,
July is flying by. Birthdays, the San Diego Comic-Con, a family reunion, there is so much going on that days blend, weeks disappear, and the end of the month is here.
Driving home from work last night, the sun was just beginning to set, making shadows long and cooling the summer heat. Ahead of me the license plate read “Baja California”, and the car to the left of it had “Texas”, all surrounded by cars carrying “California” plates, mine included.
I had opened all the windows to let out the entrapped heat and rather than closing them and switching on the air, they remained down, the wind making a nice breeze through the car. It brought back days of riding in my 66 Mustang, which always had the window down because there was no air conditioner.
Elton John bellowed out Bennie and the Jets, while we cruised down Broadway, he and I, and Baja California and Texas. The moment felt surreal, as though the past became the present, youth paid a visit, happiness existed untethered to any cause but the present moment’s reality, air, sound, and the fellowship of vehicles from near and far, all moving in unison.
I suppose this is what Eckhart Tolle meant about living in the moment. Each one holds its own universe and all that we wish to include in it. By taking notice, we gather elements into our awareness, the air, the song, the neighboring cars.
I planned to write this letter last night, however the evening meal and ensuing exhaustion, waylaid that notion. This morning, the sun woke before I did. At 6:30 am, the day seems in full swing. Work and obligation tug at me. However, Baja and Texas hold stronger sway.
That moment sought to be recorded, and in doing so, became this one, where its specialness is documented, where the quiet of the morning occupies the house, the sounds of distant cars seep through my open bedroom window, and the cat lays sleeping by my pillow, where all of that and more, become an equally precious moment amidst the onslaught of summer days speeding by.