Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Moonlight on Black Friday

You're Invited to A Booksigning!

Come and join me at Book Warehouse at the beautiful new
Shops at Grand River!

I'll be signing copies of

Sweet Music on Moonlight Ridge

Friday, November 26, 2010
from 12:30 P.M. until ...

See you there!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

One Stop Poetry

I've just joined a new writing group, One Stop Poetry, and today is One Shot Wednesday! So, I'm posting one poem for Wednesday to share with everyone who visits my blog. This is a poem about awakening, growing, and recognizing one's position and orientation in the universe.

On Becoming One With Earth

My feet are planted in this lusty soil called life,
this pungent dirt which covered, nourished, then released me,
still forming, still growing, still becoming,
new and bitter and sweet.

Secrets have revealed themselves to me,
bit by bit, piece by piece, season by season,
as truth reveals itself in dreams and scattered visions.
Thus I am a knower of secrets, a product of dreams.

Eternity has made me.
I am a design wrought by intricacies of time.
I go from unknown to unknown
in a ceaseless gathering of knowledge.

Wisdom learns of me, finds me, leads me, ordains me, loves me.
My heart opens like a ripe seed,
splitting deep and red and wet,
spilling forth torrents of glistening fruit.

Returning again and again
to the rich and fertile ground,
I give, I bend, I grow.
Branches bend from me; forests grow from me.

My arms thrust upward from this luscious earth,
open handed, glad with life,
and my fingers touch God's gentle breath
upon the ancient ageless winds of dawn.

copyright Ramey Channell 2010

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Poetry Day

My sis, Joanne, and I attended the Alabama State Poetry Society's fall get-together on Saturday. The meeting was held at the lovely Newton-Davis House in Odenville, Alabama. This was my first visit to the Newton-Davis House, and it's a truly beautiful old house, totally restored and impressive. My nephew, James Cage, went to the meeting with us, and we had a good meeting, a delicious meal, and a wonderful, fun day.

Joanne won several Honorable Mention Awards, a Second Place Award, and a First Place for her poem An Ode to Grief, which she was able to read to the group even though it is a very personal poem of hers about dealing with loss and grief.
I won one First Place Award for What Is That Thing With Feathers, a parody of an Emily Dickinson poem. I read it with a straight face, not unlike Emily herself. Well, maybe not that straight.

What Is That Thing With Feathers?
by Ramey Channell

What is that thing with feathers
That perches on the wall
Chirping a tune both night and noon,
And never stops at all?

And wicked is its little brain,
And sore must be its throat.
Its squawk is driving me insane;
I can't stand another note!

I've listened till it makes me sick;
Each yapping trill I've heard!
So now I'm going to take this stick
And abash that noisy bird!

My congratulations to Joanne, and no comment to Emily Dickinson.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

New Book Blog

Take a look at the new Sweet Music on Moonlight Ridge blog under construction! Soon we'll have a book trailer video, news of upcoming booksignings, and a picture of Lily Claire's own Drunkard's Path quilt, also under construction.

My sister, Joanne, and I have greased our quilting needles, and are sewing as fast as we can, to get the quilt done in time to display at the next booksigning!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Calling All Quilters !

I need a Drunkard's Path quilt.

In my novel, Sweet Music on Moonlight Ridge, the little girl named Lily Claire has a red calico Drunkard's Path quilt, made by her grandmother, Granny Rilla. While writing the book, I always had the intention of making a Drunkard's Path quilt, thinking I would use it as an illustration, maybe on the title page or back of the book.

Well, events went into fast forward mode, my book was published by Chalet Publishers, with the most beautiful cover any book has ever had, and I still want the quilt.

I have wondered if any quilters would be interested in donating one red calico Drunkard's Path block; then I could assemble all the blocks and, at last, have my wonderful representation of Lily Claire's quilt! If, as Mick Jagger says, Time is on my Side, I can do the quilting and binding, or coerce some willing friend or relative to pitch in for an old-fashioned quilting bee.
The quilt would be displayed at booksignings and programs, and might one day be featured in the film version of Sweet Music on Moonlight Ridge!

Contact me if you would like to make one Drunkard's Path block, and I'll supply fabric and pattern if needed.

Jimmy Carter Wins Release of American Held in North Korea

Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter is headed home from North Korea after securing the release of Aijalon Gomes. Former President Carter successfully negotiated a pardon for Gomes, an American teacher jailed in North Korea since January. Carter and Aijalon Gomes boarded a plane in Pyongyang and are expected to arrive in Boston later today, where Gomes will be reunited with his family.

Carter landed in North Korea on Wednesday on a private mission to negotiate Gomes' release. The 31 year old teacher was sentenced to eight years' hard labor after he was accused of crossing the border of North Korea illegally.

In Washington, officials welcomed the news of the teacher's release, and praised former President Jimmy Carter for embarking on the mission of mercy.

President Carter's humanitarian efforts in this case are another example of his continued dedication to promoting human rights and alleviating suffering.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Book Club reads Sweet Music

Friday afternoon our book discussion group, The Bookmarkers Book Club, met at the library to discuss this month's selection, Sweet Music on Moonlight Ridge. Everyone enjoyed the lively discussion, not least of all, myself.

I'm so glad all the attendees had remarks pertaining to various parts of the book; it seemed that each bookclub member had a certain subject or passage of the book that grabbed their attention. We all had a lot to say about supernatural occurences, Southern childhood, magic, race relations, and character analysis. I was surprised to hear a few statements that exceeded my own interpretations, especially concerning Clyde Tucker, the Police Chief in the story, and possible criticisms and justifications for his behavior.

One thing for certain, everybody loved Studebaker Freeman!

If you haven't read the book, you need to! Technically a novella, or a short novel, it's a great read for summer.
Moonlight Ridge: it's a delightful place of constant revelation and discovery, with not infrequent mysteries and contradictions.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

President Obama Praised & Criticized for Backing Mosque

The planned mosque and community center two blocks away from the site of the 9/11 attacks has drawn intense criticism from politicians including Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich. The Obama administration had previously said that the planned Islamic community center was a local matter.

On Friday, the president tackled the issue head on.
"As a citizen, and as president, I believe that Muslims have the same right to practice their religion as everyone else in this country," Obama said, according to the AP.

"That includes the right to build a place of worship and a community center on private property in lower Manhattan, in accordance with local laws and ordinances," he said. "This is America, and our commitment to religious freedom must be unshakable."

The president compared opposition to times in American history when there had been hostility towards the building of Catholic churches and Jewish synagogues.

"Time and again, the American people have demonstrated that we can work through these issues, and stay true to our core values and emerge stronger for it. So it must be and will be today," Obama said.

The developer on the project, Sharif el-Gamal, told The New York Times, "We are deeply moved and tremendously grateful for our president's words."

But Republicans were quick to attack the comments, saying that the President of the United States was focusing on religious freedom and civil rights rather than the feelings of victims' families and public opinion.

Not all the reaction was hostile. Mayor Michael Bloomberg, an independent, has been a strong supporter of the community center. He called Obama's speech a "clarion defense of the freedom of religion."

Speaking on Aug. 3, Bloomberg said that the city government had no authority to stop the planned project, and that to do so would amount to discrimination.

"The simple fact is this building is private property, and the owners have a right to use the building as a house of worship," Bloomberg said. "The government has no right whatsoever to deny that right."

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Sweet Music on Moonlight Ridge

We had a wonderful Moonlight Ridge booksigning!

Saturday, July 31, 2010 – 12:00 til 2:00
Ramey Channell signed copies of her book
Sweet Music on Moonlight Ridge
Little Professor Book Center
2717 18th Street South – Homewood, AL

How could you possumably have missed this!
Watch for announcements of upcoming signings.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Sweet Music on Moonlight Ridge at Leeds Arts Council

Sunday July 11th was a fun and exciting day at the Leeds Arts Council. Here I am, studiously signing a copy of Sweet Music on Moonlight Ridge. So many people attended, listened to me read from my book, and we all had a great time.

I was so glad to see so many good friends and fellow writers! Sweet Music is attracting plenty of attention and getting splendid reviews!
Thanks to everyone for a wonderful day!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

If Innocence Matters

Damien Echols has been on deathrow since 1994 for a murder he did not commit.

Please go to the website below to read about Damien Echols' latest attempt to get a fair trial in Arkansas.

In her book, The Devil's Knot, a nonfiction investigative account, Mara Leveritt gives a meticulous account of the gruesome murder of three children, the botched investigation, and the wildly unsubstantiated charges against Damien Echols, Jesse Misskelley Jr., and Jason Baldwin.
Below is a review of Leveritt's book from Publishers Weekly.

Arkansas investigative journalist (Mara)Leveritt presents an affecting account of a controversial trial in the wake of three child murders in Arkansas. In May 1993, three eight-year-old boys were found mutilated and murdered in West Memphis, a small and tattered Arkansas town. The crime scene and forensic evidence were mishandled, but a probation officer directed the police toward Damien Echols, a youth with a troubled home life, antiauthoritarian attitudes and admiration for the "Goth" and Wiccan subcultures. Amid rumors of satanic cult activity, investigators browbeat Jesse Misskelley, a mentally challenged 16-year-old acquaintance of Echols, into providing a wildly inconsistent confession that he'd helped Echols and a third teen, Jason Baldwin, assault the boys. Leveritt meticulously reconstructs the clamorous investigation and two jury trials that followed. All three boys were convicted on the basis of Misskelley's dubious statements and such "evidence" as Echols's fondness for William Blake and Stephen King. Leveritt, who makes a strong argument that the convictions were a miscarriage of justice, also suggests an alternative suspect: one victim's stepfather, who had a history of domestic violence, yet was seemingly shielded by authorities because he was a drug informant for local investigators.

If innocence matters, Damien Echols, Jesse Misskelley Jr., and Jason Baldwin should have never been suspects, much less convicted felons.
Please tell Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe that innocence matters.

Monday, July 12, 2010

More About Maro

A friend of the family, Bonnie Patmon O'Neil, found some old pictures among her mother's photographs, and I was delighted to see two beautiful pictures of my mother, Mary Elizabeth Satterfield Ramey. My daddy called her Maro.

I think this picture is one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen in my life! I've never seen this photo before, and I'm totally amazed by this lovely person.

My daddy said he married her because she was the prettiest little thing he'd ever seen. Looking at this picture, I can believe that was true. What she said was that she knew he liked her because when she walked by his house, he threw rocks at her!

A long time ago, I had a copy of this picture with the hat. But it has been lost for many years, and I was so delighted that Bonnie brought us this replacement.

See for a
sweet baby picture.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010


Sunday July 11, 2010 · 2:30 - 4:00

Ramey will read from her book and sign copies.
Leeds Arts Council · Parkway Drive · Leeds, AL

Admission is free! Please bring one food item for Leeds Welfare!

Monday, June 21, 2010


Celebration time has arrived!

Sweet Music on Moonlight Ridge is now available on Amazon!
and Barnes & Noble!

Watch for announcements of upcoming booksignings and throw-down parties!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Happy Birthday to Me Mum

Happy Birthday to Mary Elizabeth Satterfield Ramey, born May 27, 1914.

She was a nut.

Thank goodness none of it rubbed off on me, or anyone else in my family!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Sweet Music is On It's Way

All my friends, all my fans, all my family, I'm so happy to tell everyone, here is the culmination of several years of arduous writing, rewriting, thinking and rethinking, and just having a good old time writing about a special place filled with special people.

This little book will soon be available in paperback, on Kindle and ebooks, thanks to the good folks at Chalet Publishers LLC. It's the story of two adventurous, funny and indomitable children who embark on an adventure of their imagination that leads them to the solution of a real mystery. Coming from a family of eccentric, self-determined individuals, Lily Claire and her cousin Willie T. have a rollicking, magical and musical good time, and steadfastly face a few scary situations, out on Moonlight Ridge, just outside of a little town named Eden, Alabama.

For information about booksignings and appearances,
please contact me at

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Great Balls of Fire

My daughter Buffy journeyed to Memphis, Tennessee, braving tornadoes, torrential rain and hazardous flooding, to attend the Beale Street Music Festival.
And who do you think she saw? The Killer, himself, Jerry Lee Lewis. Since I didn't accompany her on this adventure, I must experience the thrills vicariously

Here's Jerry Lee in a remarkable performance of Great Balls of Fire in about 1957. I love his hair!

One of my favorite TV memories is a Jery Lee performance I was lucky enough to see as a child, and I've never forgotten my astonished glee. It was the Steve Allen Show, and The Killer was singing Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On, and there was a WHOLE LOT of shakin' goin on! The host of the show, Steve Allen, apparently got so enthused over the song, after Jerry Lee kicked the piano stool across the stage, Allen began throwing chairs and other objects back toward the performer.

While searching for a recording of this event, I discovered two different occasions, both on The Steve Allen Show, in which flying objects are seen zooming across the stage.


Now, that's entertainment!

Friday, April 16, 2010

How to Have Fun in Alabama

Here we are, halfway through April, the weather is beautiful and I'm able to relax and enjoy living in Alabama again! For a while there, it felt too much like the scene of a novel I read: The Terror by Dan Simmons, about a hapless bunch of fellows who sailed their ship into the frozen arctic and met with difficulty. And froze.

I prefer to bask in the sun. My whole self is able to relax when the temperature hovers in the 70 to 90 degree range. That's 20 degrees of Heaven, as far as I'm concerned.

And, speaking of Heaven, that's a pretty good description of the setting of my soon-to-be-released book, Sweet Music on Moonlight Ridge. We're working on the cover and the fine details of page design. Naturally, I have to have my picture on the back cover of the book, so what did I do yesterday?

I had my picture made with a delightful possum, of course! The possum was so charming, and the pictures all turned out so divine, it's hard choosing which one is the one for the book cover.

I've never had so much fun in my life! My friend, Bino, once had some sage advice, which I will not repeat here, about what to do when you're down in the dumps and life just ain't worth living! May not be politically correct, but those of you who know Bino, you may ask him what to do and who to go see if you need your spirits lifted.
But, it appears to me that having one's picture made with a marsupial clinging to various parts of your anatomy is the best pick-me-up ever! Bino, and all you down-in-the-dumpsters, you need to try it!

At one point he was rummaging around on my head with his tail stuck in my ear, and we were both having a delightful time of it.

Here's what I call The Pastoral Possum picture.

Thanks to my daughter, Buffy, for a great photo shoot. And thanks to Winston the Possum for being such a trooper. He was a sweety!

Watch here at The Painted Possum for updates concerning the release date for Sweet Music on Moonlight Ridge, from Chalet Publishers LLC, coming early in May, 2010.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Library Stories

I’m a librarian at Leeds Jane Culbreth Library in Alabama. We’re just a few miles outside Birmingham, and we’re part of the Jefferson County Library Cooperative. Right now we’re working hard to raise money for a new library building.

The building we are in now is on the main street of our small town, and it was a department store when I was a child. We called it “the ten-cent store.” Now it’s the Leeds Library. The roof leaks and every time it rains, we have to place plastic buckets, trays and garbage cans around to catch the water! So, we really need a new building.

The Leeds Public Library began about 1923 in two rooms above a building on Ninth Street. As public interest and financial support grew, the city leased the building at the present location in 1971.
The official name was changed to The Leeds Jane Culbreth Library on April 19, 1998, to honor Jane Culbreth, a champion of city improvement. Her memoir, Hitching My Wagon to a Star, is available at the library.

I was born right across the street from where our library is now, in a building that was a medical clinic, and is now a dental office. While working at the circulation desk, I can look out and see the place where I was born! When I was a small child, there was a blacksmith’s shop right in back, across the alley from the library’s back door.

One of my earliest library memories is the Book Mobile that came to visit our elementary school when I was in the first grade. That was always an exciting day. When it was our turn to go in to visit the book mobile and pick out a book, it was thrilling to step up into the white library-on-wheels and look at all the books inside. The first book I checked out was a picture book called “Pooty”, about a little black and white kitten. I thought that was the funniest name for a cat, but I loved the book!

Now, I’m writing children’s stories, and hope to some day have one of my own picture books in the library for children to check out.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Did Somebody Grease My Calendar?

Look, now I've missed April Fool's Day. What fool would miss April Fool's Day? Is time really going faster and faster, or is it just me?

So, the time has come to make an announcement! My book, my long-awaited book, Sweet Music on Moonlight Ridge, is due to come out around the first of May (of this year!) published by Chalet Publishers. It will be available in paperback, Kindle and ebook format! What a perfect time of year for this story!

It's about POSSUMS:

and OWLS:

and the wild shenanigans of a couple of intrepid children in the woods of Dunnavant, Alabama!

So, stay tuned for further information about upcoming booksignings and appearances, and how to find the book on your Kindle, download it as an ebook, or purchase a paperback copy, signed by the author.

Check out Chalet Publishers at

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

National Pig Day?

I've just discovered that I've missed National Pig Day. How did that happen?

It was March 1st. It's hard to believe I have let such an event slip by with neither rejoicing nor celebrating! Nor oinking.

When I was very little, I had a pet pig. My daddy owned a mama pig who had lots of babies, and I picked one of them out of the litter to be my own pet piggy. He was tiny, about the size of a package of Jimmy Dean's sausage! Nah, he was a little bigger, but honestly quite small. I was just about four years old at the time, and he was small enough that I could easily pick him up and carry him out of the pig pen and into the living room.

To my chagrin, my mother was not glad to have a sweet baby pig in her living room! She gave me a spanking and made me take him back to the pig pen every time she found him in the house. Ah, but he was so precious! I couldn't refrain from sneaking back to the pen and bringing him back into the house over and over again every day. He was so much fun to play with, and was an excellent friend.

My piggy was named Red, and that's what color he was: a brownish red. I can't find a picture of a pig the color of my Red, but just look at this face!
How sweet is this! As my friend Chris Whitfield would say, "As happy as a pig in mud!"

So, while searching for a picture of a red pig, I came across something called a Red River pig! Look at these! I was hooked the moment I laid eyes on these little darlings.

I've got to have one of these! I've never seen anything so lovely!

If I had one of these, I would name him Possum!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Irene Latham Visits Leeds Library

Saturday morning, February 20th, Alabama author Irene Latham came to our Library for a presentation and booksigning. She read passages from her delightful YA book, Leaving Gee's Bend set in 1932 Gee's Bend, Alabama. This author has done extensive research on the history of the area, and of course the trademark quilts crafted by the women of Gee's Bend.
We all enjoyed hearing Irene speak about her personal love of quilts, her childhood and early desire to become a writer, and the process of writing Leaving Gee's Bend, editing, revising, and getting published. She also brought a beautiful quilt to show us. This quilt was made by her grandmother-in-law, for whom Ludelphia, the main character in Irene's book, is named.

Here's Irene holding a copy of her book with the beautiful photograph on the front. This is such a completely charming book, inside and out. Quilts are displayed behind us, including several of my prized family treasures and Irene's Ludelphia quilt at the far right.

And here we are, holding a quilt made by library volunteer Mary Undeutsch,, called our Opportunity Quilt, which is helping us raise funds for the new library building we hope will one day be a reality.
This was a most enjoyable program, featuring a fine story for all ages, as well as interesting conversation about Alabama history, the art of quilting and the art of writing, from a charming and talented author.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

The Dalai Lama Visits Washington

President Barack Obama personally welcomed the Dalai Lama to the White House Thursday and lauded his goals for the Tibetan people, but he kept their get-together off-camera and low-key in an attempt to avoid inflaming tensions with China. China has objected to the meeting between Obama and the Dalai Lama, who has been in exile from his homeland since 1959. China invaded Tibet in 1950 and has occupied it since. Thousands of Buddhist monasteries and shrines were destroyed in the 1950s and 1960s. Tibetan exiles say thousands of monks and nuns were killed.

The Dalai Lama, however, encouraged the US to seek friendly relations with China. "It is wrong when some say, contain China. It is wrong," the Dalai Lama said, adding that China must be encouraged to open up further to the world, to become a nation "which brings happiness, satisfaction, calm."

So how exactly did the Dalai Lama we know today become the 14th Dalai Lama?
After the death of the 13th Dalai Lama in 1933, the Tibetan government began searching for his reincarnation. Because the head of the 13th Dalai Lama's embalmed body had rotated while it lay in state, turning from the south to the northeast, it was suspected that the future ruler would be found in the northeast region of Tibet.

Soon afterward, the Regent Reting Rinpoche had a vision of the sacred lake, Lhamo Lhatso, reflecting the Tibetan letters Ah, Ka and Ma. He interpreted "Ah" as a sign for Amdo, a northeastern province of Tibet. The Regent also experienced a vision of a three-story monastery with a roof of turquoise and gold. Near the monastery was a tiny house with unusually elaborate gutters.

A search party departed for Amdo, and decided that the letter "Ka" likely referred to the monastery at Kumbum -- a turquoise and gold-roofed structure. When they came across a house with gutters made from juniper, they suspected they were close to their future ruler. They disguised themselves as travelers and stayed the night with the family to observe their 3-year-old son, Lhamo Thondup
Lhamo had been born July. 6, 1935, to poor farmers in a struggling town, and upon Lhamo's birth, his father made a sudden recovery from a severe illness. His infancy was normal, but he did exhibit some unusual behavior. As a toddler, Lhamo demanded that he take his father's seat at the head of the table and would allow only his mother to handle his bowl. And the young Lhamo seemed obsessed with Lhasa, Tibet's traditional and spiritual capital. He would pack bags, pretend to travel on horseback and exclaim, "I'm going to Lhasa" For the most part, Lhamo's family took no notice of the child's eccentricities; an older son had already been recognized as the manifestation of a high lama.

But when the disguised search party arrived at the house, its leader, Kewtsang Rinpoche, was confident that this was the right child. The child immediately recognized Kewtsang Rinpoche as a monk and knew from which monastery he came. When the members of the search party returned for a formal visit some days later, they brought several of the 13th Dalai Lama's possessions along with a set of decoy items. Lhamo correctly identified every item belonging to his predecessor with the proprietary statement "It's mine."

The toddler was sent to the Kumbum monastery and eventually to Lhasa, where he was reunited with his parents.

In 1940, Lhamo became Tibet's spiritual leader and took the vows of a novice monk. Lhamo Thondup was now Jamphel Ngawang Lobsang Yeshe Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama.
The Dalai Lama is recognized worldwide for his message of compassion and tolerance, his promotion of human rights and inter-religious understanding, his focus on peace through non-violent conflict resolution and his advocacy for the environment. He is also winner of the 1989 Nobel Peace Prize.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Shelter Box - Innovative Help for Haiti

Just this morning I heard an encouraging interview on NPR radio with the founder of Shelter Box, an organization providing aid to people in the midst of crisis and devastation, now delivering shipments to Haiti.
ShelterBox was founded by Tom Henderson, a Rotarian and former Royal Navy search and rescue diver.

It was wonderful hearing founder, Tom Henderson, describe the contents of the boxes his group ships to disaster areas. Some of the contents include a 10-person tent, blankets, toolbox, hammers, nails, saws, small stove, pencils and color books for children.
Follow the link below to learn more about this organization and how your donation can help victims of Haiti's tragedy.
Mr. Henderson said his group was rallying support for Haitians within 12 minutes after hearing of the disaster, and continue sending their boxes as rapidly as possible.
Also, I have just learned that there is a form available from IRS explaining how contributions to aid Haitians may be deductible on your taxes this year.
Shelter Box gets my vote of support for their most efficient and compassionate work.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Leaving Gee's Bend

On Saturday, February 20th, Alabama author Irene Latham will be at Leeds Jane Culbreth Library to present her new book, Leaving Gee's Bend, with a talk and booksigning.

We're all familiar with the beautiful quilts produced by the artisans of Gee's Bend, but I know little about the history of that area of our state. I look forward to reading Irene's novel, the story of a young girl who sets out to save her sick mother and records her adventures in quilt pieces. This will be a great program for everyone who loves good books and the art of quilting.

Irene's quote, below, comes from an interview on Elizabeth Dulemba's website
I have made quite a few trips to Gee's Bend and Camden, where the Wilcox County Library is located and the town closest to Gee's Bend, thanks to the ferry. (Otherwise, it's forty miles to anyplace.) It's like stepping back in time --quiet, rural, with many red-dirt roads. And the people are so friendly and welcoming.

Of all the incredible things that happened in Gee's Bend, there were two that really captured my attention. The first was the 1932 raid on Gee's Bend. At the time, Gee's Bend was populated by sharecroppers, and the price of cotton was lower than it had ever been. So the landowner was stockpiling the cotton -- waiting to sell until price came up. Which left the sharecroppers in debt to the landowner. When the landowner died that year, the widow decided she would go to Gee's Bend and collect on all the debts. She brought men and wagons into Gee's Bend, and took everything: food, tools, animals -- basically leaving the people to starve. First hand accounts report that the residents survived on berries that winter. And yet, the women made quilts! It's just such a vivid example of how the human spirit can triumph over adversity. Then, in early 1933, the Red Cross came in with a rescue drop -- things like sugar, flour, seed, shoes, socks.
In Leaving Gee's Bend, Latham tells the story of Ludelphia Bennett, ten year old daughter in a family of share-croppers, who is blind in one eye, but is no stranger to hardships, hard work, and determination. Though her small town of Gee's Bend is geographically isolated by the Alabama River, she sets off on her own to Camden, 40 miles away, to find a doctor for her sick mother. Throughout her difficult journey, she physically and mentally chronicles her experiences as she pieces a quilt together. This is the way Ludelphia tells her story, of seeing white people for the first time, of encountering kindness and hate. Rural Alabama of 1932 is brought to life, complete with prejudices and superstitions that are eventually overcome thanks to Ludelphia's indomitable strength.

“Ludelphia Bennett reaffirms the human spirit and defines survival in this beautifully stitched quilt of a novel.”—Richard Peck, author of A Season of Gifts
Hope all my reading and quilting friends can come to the library and enjoy what promises to be an excellent program.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

J.D. Salinger Jan. 1, 1919 - Jan. 27, 2010

I've just learned of J.D. Salinger's death, yesterday in the small New England village where he has spent the last fifty years of his reclusive life. He was 91 years old.

It's pretty hard to discuss the passing of someone who was so renowned for avoiding public scrutiny; and, you can't really analyze someone you've never met. I guess the truth is, all I know about J.D. Salinger is that news of his passing made me cry, and that the characters in his stories were among my closest companions throughout my teenage years.

The Catcher in the Rye was written in 1951; I read it in 1962 when my boyfriend/literary genius/guy who hung the moon discovered it with such an abundance of astonished glee, it seemed he might have found a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow in his front yard. And, that was pretty much the case.

We read, devoured, digested and internalized J.D. Salinger and his iconic characters : Holden Caulfield, Phoebe Caulfield, older brother D.B.,Franny and Zooey Glass, Seymour Glass. We naturally were closest to Holden, his eloquence, tenderness, sarcasm, humor and honest analysis of the world and the people around him.