Do you recall, Ancient One?

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Eyes fogged by cataracts of dust and grime

Rusted tears of neglected shame.

Those you’ve sheltered stolen by time

No one left to recall your master’s name.

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Those skillful hands that built your shell, now rest beneath the soil.

Yet cursed with an extended life, you’re forced to endure each era alone.

Generations came and went, until the day that final breath came in toil.

The final master was carried away, and hence forth, you’ve been silent as a stone.

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They gathered round your flaming hearth, to sing, laugh, and love

Stockings hung on Christmas past, enticing children to behave.

Can you still hear them, ancient one? Into your structure are those memories wove?

What of the one who wore this brace? To its support, was he a slave?

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Review of The Cracked Mirror, Reflections of an Appalachian Son, by Billy Ray Chitwood

Hello again! It’s been awhile since I’ve posted on here but with the kids home for summer holidays and all the activities that come with that, my time has been limited. I also apologize for not keeping up with my reading of other blogs. I did, however, manage to write a guest post for a talented author and fellow member of Rave Reviews Book Club,  D.L. Finn.

But this blog is not about me, and I wish to move on with a review that is a well-deserved five stars. The synopsis is written just below, followed by my thoughts on the book.

 

Cracked Mirror

Synopsis:

When Prentice Paul Hiller enters the senior care facility he brings with him not only a hip surgery gone wrong, but a mirror of his past, cracked with the stress of all his memories: a family broken apart by their Appalachian circumstances and the ‘great depression’; a childhood tainted by a father’s abusive nature; an impetuous marriage and a sorrowful divorce; a subsequent search of ‘isms’ and for love and meaning in California bars; a tableau of horrible events, including a senseless murder and a desert survival.

THE CRACKED MIRROR, Reflections of an Appalachian Son, is a search for some semblance of legacy by PP Hiller as he feels the weight of aging and a perceived inconsequental life, In an Arizona senior care facility he bonds with Greta Fogel, herself a patient and a former clinical psychologist. Encouraged by Greta, PP writes of his life, his heritage, his mistakes, the events that have shaped him, and the demon within that he cannot dispel. He gives his passionate views on criminal justice, love, politics, religion, war, and his favorite writers. Greta gives her insight and support, telling some of her own life’s secrets. There is pain in the writing of his memoir, but there is also closure and a guarded inner peace. This short stay in the care facility brings more clarity to PP’s life and yet another memory to store away… to take with him to the ‘Sea of Cortez’.

“In the end my story must be like so many others, the story of a simple kid who grew up eating some emotional soup and spending a lifetime trying to digest it.”

My Review:

Prentice Paul Hiller is a deep thinker who has a strong opinion about everything. Aging and suffering from a hip injury, the man is forced to spend time recovering in a senior nursing complex. At first, he judges the staff he dubs, ‘the greenies,’ with a cynical mindset. He is plagued by painful memories and guilt over past mistakes, his view of life is pretty dim.

That all begins to change after he meets Greta, a temporary resident and former clinical psychologist who encourages Prentice to talk and write about them. The story runs in a dual narrative style, each chapter alternates between the distant past and his current life in the nursing home. I appreciated this style, as it linked his life experiences as the possible cause for his mental and emotional anguish. An abusive father, the murder of a beloved uncle, a failed marriage, and a child who developes a drug addiction, are only a few of the ghosts that haunt this poor man.

The reader cannot help but be drawn into the drama, joy, trauma, mischief, and heartbreak that makes up the life of Prentice. The personal growth and healing that takes place during his stay at the home is encouraging, and character growth is what makes a story great! He comes to an undertsanding, not only about himself, but others, as well. His abusive father had his own demons, and there is both dark and light in almost everyone and everyplace. He learns to forgive those who have trespassed against him, including himself. He sees the world with new eyes, including those meanie ‘greenies.’

The only issue, and it might be just a personal pet peeve, is the frequent use of parenthesis in the writing. It’s just not my thing, so others may not be as opposed.

Despite this one quirk, I highly recommend this book. If you are into interesting life stories where the main character comes to personal growth and understanding, this is a must-read.

To purchase your copy, you can do so at Amazon.com

 

 

 

 

 

The Beauty of The Forgotten

There’s beauty in the abandoned. The overgrown pathway can offer more treasures than the sidewalk. The steady beat of your footsteps on a dirt trail are drum beats, announcing an imminent encounter with adventure!

Who knows what you’ll find?

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Decay can nourish splendor!

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The neglected can house a wonderful new friend!

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Where will your feet take you today?

 

 

Always Remember

November 16, 2017

How often do Canadians think about the men and women who’ve served and currently serve keeping all citizens safe, secure and at peace?

Once every year on November 11? Perhaps twice if counting Canada Day in July?

Two minutes of silence is taken to the reflect on the incredible sacrifices made to

secure freedom. People gather at local and national monuments and cenotaphs. News coverage of veterans and reminders of the importance to share stories of past generations with the current and future ones.

With November 11th only a few days past, and with Christmas coming soon, let’s work as a collective to keep all of our service men and woman and their families top of mind. This Canada, today’s Canada, would not exist as is if not for all of the soldiers, sons and daughters who volunteered to march on the front lines, fly fighter jets over enemy territories, help the wounded and sick in make shift bases, sail ships to faraway places and leave all and everything they had ever known behind.

Currently, all Canadian Armed Forces members including reservists, special or elite operations teams have a duty to protect and serve the citizens of Canada and the world.  Wars are happening all over the globe and the military has been or is involved in someway with most of them. These are the people who would and do die for you. They lose their life in order to save others. That might be something to think about for more than two minutes once a year.

Everyday, civilian’s also put their life at risk to help others. Doctors and nurses take oaths promising to deliver medical attention to anyone in need without bias or judgement regardless of differences. Firefighters literally walk into burning buildings to ensure human safety. Police respond as quickly as possible to disturbance and distress calls, crimes and accidents never knowing what they find until on scene.  Paramedics come, assess, treat and transport individuals with emergent medical needs to hospitals working perilously to remain with patients ensuring safe delivery to a medical team. Border Patrol Officers, Correctional Workers, Security Guards all work in dangerous situations daily. Professionals working hard to handle and control violence, trafficking and crime. Of course, this list is not exhaustive. The work and stress these professionals deal with gives the common citizen peace of mind, security and the knowledge that help can be on the way in a matter of minutes.

 

Being born in Canada is a privilege. Canadian citizens are guaranteed certain rights and freedoms written into law. For example, freedom of religion, of thought, of expression, of the press and of peaceful assembly. Democratic rights, mobility rights, legal rights and human rights. The right to leave, stay in and return to Canada at anytime. These freedoms are not available or ever attainable for every citizens of the world. Countless countries and nations do not subscribe to the same beliefs and freedoms as Canada does. Canadians have everything available to them in the security net of this great nation. More often than not,  this is taken for granted.  From now through Christmas and beyond, find a way to thank someone who has dedicated themselves to helping and protecting others. Keeping them in your thoughts and giving them the gift of gratitude is priceless.