A new Column below!
Another 30-day stretch of self-isolation on the farm has passed. Spring has been so beautiful, and now summer hovers in the very near future. It’s already 80+ and that’s just the prelude to “real” summer here in Alabama. This morning, while we had a gentle rain, I put out some organic fertilizer, so that chore is done.
There’s plenty of Sarah Booth news. Trouble is the real star, but Sarah Booth makes a brief appearance in “Midsummer Trouble,” one of the 14 original short stories in YEAR-ROUND TROUBLE. I chose Midsummer as my “holiday” as a tribute to my Scandinavian grandmother. That’s a big celebration in Sweden, where her family was from. Trouble, the black cat detective, shows up in Zinnia for the festival and ends up caught in a mystery involving B.B. King’s famous guitar, Lucille. The anthology features a lot of my writer friends who generously wrote a story featuring Trouble.
And, because THE DEVIL’S BONES was delayed for publication until July 21, I wrote a short story just for y’all. ENCHANTED BONES is a novella set in Sunflower County. Sarah Booth goes horseback riding and finds a child with a strange birthmark and a note saying she’s cursed. Who does the child belong to? Was she left in the woods to die? Sarah Booth has to get to the bottom of what’s happening before she can help the toddler.
And finally, THE DEVIL’S BONES is almost here! It won’t be long now. This book was supposed to drop on my birthday, but plans had to change due to COVID-19. This one is set in my hometown of Lucedale, MS. It features a place that’s very close to my heart, Palestine Gardens, and holds many good memories. The Coffeepot Café (with the scratching post) makes a featured appearance. I had many, many good times sitting in those booths with high school friends, laughing and cutting up. And yes, Millie’s Café is a lot like the Coffeepot.
My personal honor (well, that’s kind of a stretch, it’s really just my AGE!) has been called into question by that rascal Dean James (who writes as Miranda James and has a terrific series set in Athena, MS with Charlie the librarian and Diesel the cat). Dean falsely reported on Facebook that I was 75 on my birthday. So I challenged him to a water pistol duel! We’ll see who can run and jump and shoot! This event is supposed to take place in Columbus, Mississippi in the fall. Dean is to determine a date. Everyone is welcome and you can all be on MY team. Soak Dean! Soak Hope Harrington Oakes! Soak them!
I’ll report more details as the information becomes available.
A GARLAND OF BONES, the Sarah Booth Christmas book, is set in Columbus so I’m hoping to have some fun there when the book is on sale. A lot depends on the virus and what we’re allowed to do. I don’t want to endanger anyone—or myself. So we’re playing it by ear. Dean thinks I’ll forget, but I won’t!
My oldest dog, Lulu, is not doing well. This is just so hard for me. I know it is for everyone, but keep a good thought for us. We can use all the good energy you can send.
I hope everyone is safe and has suffered no loss of friends or family. This is a hard time for so many, and I feel helpless to do anything to really help. We put the entire Trouble series (11 books) on sale for 5 days and gave away over 61,000 free books to readers. I hope that helped readers pass the time.
Until next month, here’s a little Roseanne Cash: Blue Moon Heartache. I was just in the mood for her.
From Carolyn and the Critters
Pete, roses, oranges, lantana, and Ares enjoy the day.
My 67 year-old mom is our family genealogist and is fanatical about collecting stuff like books, photographs, furniture, and objects that may have been used by people from earlier generations of our family’s ancestors. I have zero interest in any of the antiques but she’s obsessed. Lately, she’s been fretting about what will happen to her massive collection after she passes. So much of it looks like junk to me. She has been trying to get me to promise to pass down her collection of old objects to my children. Should I pretend to go along with her wishes just so her anxiety calms down? She refuses to seek help for what I think is a hoarding disorder. I don’t want to be dishonest but maybe I have to, for the peace. Please advise Jitty.
Time has a way of changing so much. What looks like junk to you today will be invaluable to you 20 years from now. Promise your mom that you will care for her collection to the best of your ability–and follow through. Tell her you will protect the paperwork and as much of the furniture as you can. And follow through. In 20 years, if it has no meaning to you, feel free to get rid of it. I’ve lived a good long time, and things that I never considered to be valuable hold a lot of value to family members down the road. Sarah Booth never thought she’d end up back at Dahlia House, but now it is her anchor. If you’re the only child, and your children have no interest in this family history, then you have to dispose of it in the best way you see fit. Perhaps suggest to her that she’d like to gift some items to family right now–to be sure it goes to someone who will value it and love it. Have a big party, so she can tell folks about the photographs and the stories she’s collected. Be sure and video tape all of this. No need to wait until she’s gone. Let those who will enjoy it do so now, so she can see the pleasure it brings. This is a bounty of the heart, collected by someone who finds the past important. Not everyone feels this way, but ole Jitty has learned a few things, and time changes how we feel about historical mementos. Do the best you can, and honor her wishes as much as you can. But you can’t bury yourself beneath the weight of the past.
P.S. For everyone reading this, let me guide you honey chile. Get some advice by writing me at DearJitty@yahoo.com