Sunday, December 9, 2012

Mma Ramotswe: My New Favorite Detective

The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency (No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, #1)The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is the most original tea-and-crumpets mystery I've read in awhile. In this case, the tea is bush tea and the preferred delicacy (which Mma Romotswe simply cannot resist) is mopani worms. That's because it's set in Africa ~ Botswana, to be precise. The mystery is secondary to the character of the detective, Mma Ramotswe, an honest, far-sighted soul, who is very effective in her newfound business of detecting. Her story is told with delightful humor. Careful, though ~ the book is full of sudden, sly insights that sneak up all at once and stab at your heart. Mma Ramotswe is my new favorite detective. I don't think I can stop at one book.

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Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Cohutta Springs History

Cohutta Springs is a historic community in Murray County, Georgia. Though a once thriving town disappeared into the forest, the old historic town of Cohutta Springs is not completely forgotten...

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Old Summerour

What a magical trip to work it was, this midsummer morning. Dusk made the sky slightly pink and the mountains a pale blue. There was a light mist lying along the hollows and bottoms. Raindrops, still clinging to the tall grass and wildflowers, caught my high beams, and a little rabbit risked his skin, darting across the road. The old road is familiar to me ~ I've travelled it many and many a time. The curves of it are like an old familiar tune. I come to a stop at Old Summerour Road, where the pretty old cemetery quietly beckons ~ reminding me that we are mortal, in spite of the immortal beauty of the place. Next is the oasis, I call it, where an odd little island of trees looms lush and black against the morning sky. Then, one of my old familiar landmarks, a line of hanging gourds, home to martins and a gardening tradition dating back to the Moravians, or maybe even the Cherokee. I climb the hill, watching for deer, to a secret, lovely lake, still as a mirror, with the mist just discovering the morning sun. It creeps away as I step out of the car, keys jangling, my mind already turning to my morning cuppa...

from: Southern Muse Journal (my blog)
(Post of June 18, 2010)


I reach out and
cup my hands
to collect
the strange blue light ~
neon light
as ghostly as
sea creatures,
blue and luminous...
A dreamlike nocturne,
the blue light
cupped in
black velvet hands.

from: The Mossy Place (my blog)

Review: The Valley So Low

The Valley So Low: Southern Mountain Stories is a collection of short stories by Manly Wade Wellman. It is classified as "sci-fi," and falls into the category of ghost and supernatural stories. This author is well-steeped in the folklore of many cultures, as are his protagonists. These protagonists are always contemporary sojourners in the ancient hills of Appalachia: a curious mixture of folklorist, anthropologist, scientist, poet, truthseeker, and hero. They come to research and bear witness. Where there is mystery, they investigate, often with the help of hill neighbor and kin. Where there is evil, they vanquish, usually in the name of the Lord. Evil, here, comes in many forms: ghost, witch, Satan, pagan tree-spirit; some ancient Grendel of the mountains, some would-be succubus; perhaps even an evil, ancient corruption that haunts the ground, reminiscent of the swamp thing of comic-book lore. Wellman's stories have the ring of truth, though of a truth that requires the reader to suspend disbelief and allow for evidence of things unseen. This is due to his story-telling method, which is traditional and straight-forward. He makes only rare use of the familiar suspense buildup to a plot twist at the end. "The Petey Car," "Along About Sundown," and "Rock, Rock" might appear in any Hitchcock collection. The other stories almost defy categorization, but they are powerful and strong. Wellman will appeal to readers of the "old-fashioned" ghost story, to people who like ballads, perhaps. His prose is deep and rich, his stories are strange. If you love them, you'll want more ~ and there are more. Wellman was a prolific writer. Many of the books are out of print and expensive to buy, but might pop up in libraries, especially Southern ones.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Harvest Moon

Not a star in sight,
but a harvest moon
hangs over the ridge,
making the sky seem
so full...

                from TMP

Thursday, January 26, 2012

My Old True Love (review)

My Old True Love: A Novel My Old True Love: A Novel by Sheila Kay Adams
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A poignant story, both frank and tender, told in an Appalachian voice that rings true—that is My Old True Love, a novel by Sheila Kay Adams. Arty Norton Wallin (the narrator) is “mountain,” way down to the marrow of her bones, and I can’t help but think that Sheila Kay Adams is, as well. As I read, I was taken back to a time of Appalachian life and culture even older than the one that I recall—but not without the strong flavor of some Smoky Mountain kin that I do recall. More on Southern Literature...

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Sumer is icumen in

Lovely old Middle English song lyrics. I've always gotten a smile from them...

Sumer is icumen in,
Lhude sing cuccu!
Groweth sed and bloweth med
And springeth the wude nu,
Sing cuccu!
Awe bleteth after lomb,
Lhoueth after calve cu;
Bulluc sterteth, bucke verteth,
Murie sing cuccu!

Cuccu, cuccu, wel singes thu, cuccu;
Ne swik thu nauer nu.
Sing cuccu, nu, sing cuccu,
Sing cuccu, sing cuccu, nu!

Beautiful words, and though we don't say them exactly the same today, still ~ a beautiful sentiment. Summer is coming in, spring the woods anew... Sing, cuckoo! Ewe bleateth after lamb, Loweth after the calves, cow... Well, you know the rest, but if you don't, take a new look at the poem; and know that the human spirit has long sought expression; and that, long, long ago, as now, poets and artists found inspiration in the beauty of nature. Loud sings cuckoo!

Some of the older word forms have to be translated, and so several variations exist. Here is a similar, but slightly different version, as well as a more modern translation: Middle English Lyrics: Cuckoo Song

Sunday Cat

The bottom dropped out of the sky and it rained hard and steady all day yesterday. The next county over had flash flooding. We didn't get out at all, except to feed the Sunday cat, our Sunday visitor and from-time-to-time sojourner. She has taken up with again with us for a piece. She limps now, and the once-pretty tabby face begins to show signs of wear, as a degraded woman whose eyes have dark circles under them, and shows hints of new distrust. We hope that she is not again in the family way. More...

Little Visitor

A little skunk peeked around the corner at me, unexpectedly. It reminded me that life can change at any time. Fortunately, it didn't...


Soft pink petals
spin lazily,
taken in the upsweep
of a sudden spring breeze;

and now, pink velvet bits
lie floating...
touching a deep blue sky
of liquid glass,
far above clouds
that drift beneath
pale pink feet.