February is not my favorite month of the year. When I was a child, I loved Valentine’s Day. Lucedale had a Five and Dime store on Main Street, and I’d search through all the Valentine’s cards for the funniest ones. In grade school, our teachers helped us decorate paper sacks with our names on them. Our friends would deposit Valentine’s cards in our little bags. The teachers made sure everyone had valentines in their bag.
My mother always insisted that I give every child in my class a card—just as every child was always invited to my birthday party (May 12—the first swim of the year at Inland Beach). It didn’t seem like a big deal at the time. I liked most of the kids in my class. But looking back, I see what a terrific lesson it was. Taught with a carrot instead of a stick. It was no sacrifice to include everyone, and I was happy to do it because my parents said it was important.
I wonder now if children do this Valentine’s ritual or if it’s politically incorrect or too fraught with ridiculous emotions. Children, when guided in the right direction, will love everyone they meet. Some more than others, of course, but children do not naturally hate. It is a learned behavior. What a shame that so much of the focus of society is now on what makes us different instead of what makes us the same.
This is the anniversary month of my younger brother, David’s, death. It’s been two years and I miss him every day. Everyone who knew him loved him. He was a terrible prankster and a quick wit. What’s hard is that he was the last person who shared all my memories. There’s no one to fact check me now, so I guess I can make up anything I want.
On March 10, I’ll be part of a celebration to induct my dear friend Eugene Walter into the Alabama Writers Hall of Fame. Eugene has been gone nearly 25 years, but he left quite a mark on me. He was another person in my life who lived with open generosity and taught me so many lessons. I am glad he is being honored by his home state. I’m honored to participate in this ceremony.
On the book front, I’m finishing JAWS BONES for release in 2024. I know! It’s crazy to work so far ahead but that production schedule is relentless. And I am glad to be a part of it. TELL-TALE BONES will release in May, this year. Holy cow. Sarah Booth is in a lot of crazy adventures.
I’m thinking about co-writing a thriller with a writer friend of mine. We are just talking—but when I have future plans, I’ll spill my guts to you. And we’ll need beta readers, of course. We have a pretty good plan, I think. I’m excited. But more on this when the plans firm up.
The animals are doing okay. Eudora Welty’s red cell count was down last week, but she is on medication to build that up. She is tolerating the chemo really well. And Sorrow, my other cancer patient, is doing pretty good. Her arthritis is what really gives her trouble. But we carry on. The equine vet will be here Friday to give spring vaccinations and take care of the horses’ teeth. I always hate that part, but it is critical to make sure they can chew their food. Maintenance for human and critter takes a lot of time and money.
I got a kit for casting spells for Christmas. Ha ha ha. Get ready! When I learn to manipulate spontaneous combustion there will be a lot of smoking shoes left in D.C.
And to further entertain myself, I’m planning my 70th birthday debacle. Debby wanted to take me to lunch but I told her we are filling water balloons, getting in the golf cart, drinking tequila, and throwing water balloons at everyone we see on the street. I may need bail money. But it’s going to be fun and I’m going to be just as bad as I possibly can!
The red bud tree here is budding out, which is a sure sign that spring is close. Easter isn’t until April 9, which seems kind of late this year. Daylight savings time is March 12, and that will certainly make me feel better. I hate it when it’s dark by 5 p.m.
I’m going back to work on my book. I have big plans for this spring.
Take a listen to one of my favorite old songs: A Dreamer’s Holiday. I played this record as a 78 when I was in pre-school and would sing it to my mother. Good memories. Enjoy
Until next month, good health and happiness from Carolyn and the critters!