Monday is Memorial Day–the unofficial start to summer. And in Appalachia it means time to start planning for Decoration Day. Usually held on a Sunday in June, this is a day when cemeteries would be tidied and flowers placed on the graves. I’m not talking about those silk monstrosities either. I’m talking roses and daisies and mountain laurel. Maybe some […]
I still have to work hard to resist them. The catalogs filled with beautiful, full-color images of corn and strawberries and squash and green beans . . . The displays of candy-colored seed packets at the store . . . I don’t even have a garden. Oh, sometimes I grow a pot of tomatoes on the porch or plant some herbs in the flower bed, but I don’t have a place to grow rainbow blend carrots no matter how gorgeous they are in that picture. All clean and perfectly straight. The problem is, I know all too well how wonderful fresh garden produce is. And it’s been long enough that I’ve mostly forgotten the agony of weeding, harvesting, and putting up. So when the catalogs start rolling in and the displays start going up, I begin to have delusions of grandeur. I can envision glossy, yellow ears of corn; watermelons that split open with a satisfying crack; and multi-hued peppers hanging like Christmas ornaments. Bush beans, sugar snap peas, heirloom tomatoes, and baby lettuces wilted in a little bacon grease. Oh, the seed companies have my number! When we were kids, Dad would sometimes let us choose something to grow in the garden. One year it was popcorn (which didn’t do well at all!). I always wanted watermelon, but the only time I remember it growing satisfactorily that far north was when we pitched rinds over the fence and the […]
Yup. That’s right. The woman who invented Mother’s Day was born in Grafton, WV. Anna Jarvis campaigned for the holiday in honor of her own mother Anna Reeves Jarvis. Mother Anna was a social activist who organized Mother’s Day Work Clubs during the second half of the nineteenth century. The clubs raised money to help needy families and nursed those […]
I don’t often flat out promote my books on this blog. I always have some links and refer to my stories with some regularity, but I’m rarely so blunt as to remind you that, well, you can buy my books. Yesterday was the start of the six-month countdown to the release of my next story–When Silence Sings. So, I’m taking […]
When Dad told stories about hunting in Kumbrabow State Forest I assumed the name was Native American. Not so. The story I’m currently writing (due out in late 2020) is set in Randolph County not far from where I grew up in WV. As I’ve researched the area I inevitably found some information about the state forest there. Turns out it was established in 1934–the year of my story. The land was purchased in December of that year and the name was in honor of Governor Brady KUMp, businessman Spates BRAdy, and attorney Hubert BOWers all of whom were key in the area becoming a state forest. Here are a few interesting facts about the forest: It covers nearly 9,500 acres. It’s the highest forest in WV at more than 3,000 feet above sea level. Logging and wildfires ravaged the forest in the late 1800s and early 1900s, but thanks to a conducive climate there’s been rapid regrowth. The Civilian Conservation Corps built many of the parks facilities including rustic cabins and picnic shelters. The forest today is rich in black cherry stands. My hero, Creed, lives in a cabin on Rich Mountain in Kumbrabow State Forest. Of course, he started living there before it’s naming. One more intriguing detail I’ll get to work into my next story! I just may need to book a writing weekend in a rustic cabin . . .
I’ve always loved to bring wildflowers in the house. As kids we’d pick daffodils and forsythia, then wild azalea and lilacs, then daisies and black-eyed Susans. I even got in trouble for breaking off a branch from my mother’s redbud tree! But we never cut dogwood. It’s a holy flower–especially around Easter. I worked the legend of the dogwood into […]
April is National Poetry Month. You probably knew that 😉 I think MOST of my poems fall into the Appalachian category in some form or fashion. Here’s one inspired by a walk in the woods with a dog and some turkeys . . . Sure do miss my Sammy . . . HOLDING BACK He’s an old dog. So, when he spies the turkeys he tries to run like a nightmare of running with leaden feet and his goal fast receding. I hold him, make him sit and watch the turkeys fade into the forest with a rustle of leaves and soft calls of indignation. I rub his head, massage aching hips, scratch his panting, heaving side. But his bright eyes are on the trees and he would gladly give chase if only I would let him. I call him to my side and head home. He limps beside me because it’s what I ask. But he does not choose, would never choose, this holding back.