Guest Blogger: Linda Bethea

My first guest blog was a 2015 post by Linda Bethea of Nutstrok.

Sally Cronin of Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life thought it deserved a re-post, so here it is.

The original post begins below this drawing by Linda’s Mother, Kathleen Swain.

A hand colored drawing of a mother holding a little boy on her lap as he points to a bird in flight.
The Forever Mom by Kathleen Swain

My first test subject guest blogger is Linda Bethea of Nutstok.

When I read her blog I feel like I’m visiting with a friend.

Linda’s style is graceful and she writes with empathy and love.

“Forever Mom” is a drawing by Linda’s Mother, Kathleen Swain..

Linda wrote: I am so delighted my dear friend Robert Goldstein asked me to do a guest post for him. He was gracious enough to allow me to share a portion of Kathleen’s Memoirs of The Great Depression, my current work in progress.

Thanks so much Robert.


The Gentlest of Men

“Good to see you, Doc, but the baby didn’t wait for you. Lizzie was just cleaning up after breakfast when she told to send for you and Miz Smith. She barely had time to put a pot of beans on and shoo the kids out to work the tomatoes before Miz Smith made it here. I shore was proud to see Miz Smith by the time she got here.” Roscoe ushered him in to the front room where the only sign of a recent delivery was Lizzie nursing her newborn. Not wanting the doctor or the kids to find the place a mess, Mary Smith had hurriedly tidied up the mess from birthing and put it out to soak. Before heading back to her own family, she had bathed the baby, helped Lizzie into a clean gown and put the embroidered sheets back on the front room bed. Dr. Bohl knew those sheets were on display for his benefit and would be carefully folded away as soon as he left. The little girl howled at being examined, flushing and waving her fists, clearly preferring her mother to this indignity. Dr. Bohl allowed she’d be a fine baby, if she lived and did well. She had slipped up on them late in life, with Roscoe nearing fifty and Lizzie thirty-eight. Had anyone been dared ask the couple a year ago if they wanted another child, they’d have declared, “That’s the last thing we need in these hard times,” but she’d found a welcome home.

Roscoe called the kids in to the surprise of a new sister before making a pan of cornbread to go with Lizzie’s beans. Mystified that a headache could turn into a baby, Annie sliced fresh tomatoes and heated leftover stewed squash between peeks at the baby she’d been allowed the honor of naming, Kathleen Gordon Ree Holdaway. Kathleen, for a distant cousin the infant Kathleen wouldn’t meet for more than fifty years. Gordon was a traditional family name and Ree was for one of Roscoe’s domino playing buddies, a name Kathleen learned to heartily despise. Every time she looked at the man, she was disgusted Daddy had picked him to name her for. John set the table and brought in water and wood for the cook stove without being told. Roscoe took Lizzie a full plate and a mason jar of fresh milk before the rest of them got started. After their early supper, Roscoe and Dr. Bohl drank coffee in the front room and talked with Lizzie while the kids cleaned up and whispered in the kitchen. Doc’s cynical opinion altered when he found them both well-read, Lizzie having qualified as a teacher before her marriage. Roscoe kept him laughing with tales of his wild misdeeds as a young man. On a corner table, several books were stacked near the coal oil lamp, where a tattered copy of Robinson Crusoe lay bookmarked with a scrap of paper. Before they finished their coffee, the bawling of the hungry calf and cow’s lowing called Roscoe to evening chores.

Digging deep in his overalls pocket, Roscoe dug out a lone dollar he had managed to save since the disturbing day Lizzie had told him she’d need a doctor that spring. Dr. Bohl considered, needing cash as much as the next man, but in a rare moment of warmth, decided against taking it, knowing it was the only cash they had. “I missed most of the work. If it’s all the same to you, I’d sooner have my pay in garden stuff. I’d sure appreciate if you could throw in a ham.” Relieved, Roscoe filled a tow sack with potatoes, tomatoes, a smoked ham, two quarts of canned peaches, a couple of dozen eggs, and a pound of butter……..far more than a dollars’ worth. Miss Loney had been hounding him about his bill at the store.   Both men were pleased with their transaction and before Dr. Bohl left, they shared a nip from the bottle Roscoe kept tucked high on a kitchen shelf.

Hours later with the kids in bed and Lizzie at rest after her exhausting day, Roscoe smoked and read a western in the dim light of the coal oil lamp. Kathleen stirred and mewed quietly in her mother’s arms. Her gaunt father lifted her, and returned to his chair for a cuddle, “Well, Kitten. It’s just me and you. The rest of ‘em gave it up. You want to talk to your old daddy just a little. Well…..” The gentlest of men, Roscoe’s heart melted anew, for this unexpected child of his age. He loved his other children, but was never able to hide his special feelings for her. To him, she was never Kathleen. From that day on, it warmed her heart to hear him call her “Kitten,” signaling a fine mood. Kat was for ordinary days.

To see more of Linda’s fine work please visit Nutstrok

(c) Linda Bethea and Kathleen Swain all rights reserved.

First posted April 16, 2015

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SPOTLIGHT: Teagan’s Books | Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

Showcasing Teagan’s Books.

The Writer Next Door

#CreativityFound is one of my favorite hashtags, but I use it sparingly, and only when the person or subject matter is truly deserving.Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene is clearly worthy because she is the epitome of creativity and imagination.

“Tell me the facts and I’ll learn. Tell me the truth and I’ll believe. But tell me a story and it will live in my heart forever.”

~Native American Proverb

Teagan Riordain Geneviene-author-spotlight-The Writer Next Door-Vashti Q-vashti quiroz vega-writer-novel

Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene, is a true storyteller with a vivid imagination. She enjoys interacting with the readers on her blog and her readers take part in the creation of her serial stories. A southerner by birth, she was “enchanted” by the desert southwest of the USA when she moved there. She had always devoured fantasy novels of every type. Then one day there was no new book readily at hand for reading — so she decided to write one. And she…

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More Travels With Mother

From Nutstrok

Nutsrok

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We visited the Philadelphia Magic Gardens in Philadelphia. It is a non-profit organization, folk art environment, and gallery space on South Street in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the largest work created by mosaic artist Isaiah Zagar. The Magic Gardens spans three city lots, and includes indoor galleries and a large outdoor labyrinth. The mosaics are made up of everything from kitchen tiles to bike wheels, Latin-American art to china plates. It is well-worth a visit!

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We stay with dear friends in their gracious home when visiting New Jersey. This gate leads into their charming garden. As you would expect, the garden does not disappoint.

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Here, Mother enjoys time in the sun. As I have mentioned before, Mother is extremely frugal. I had a new experience on the way home.  Just so you know, it is possible to stow eight fresh eggs, three-quarters loaf of bread and eight nectarines in a carry on…

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Something for Nothing!!!!

Linda’s new book is free through Sunday. Drop by Amazon and download a copy!

Nutsrok

Click on this image on the right for a link to get this ebook free from Kindle Saturday or Sunday only.  Please share!Book for orderI grew up in a family of competitive storytellers.  A little thing like a stubbed toe gets us started.  “Do you remember the time Grandpa cut his ingrown toenails out then fooled around and set his toe on fire?”  That is not a hypothetical example.  It’s beloved and oft-repeated tale. 

At family dinners, wild tales start as soon as we’ve said Grace and the food is being passed around.  “Remember that fifty-two pound turkey Daddy brought home to fatten for Thanksgiving on year!”

Someone else breaks in, “That old turkey was the meanest thing that ever walked!  We couldn’t even walk out in the yard without him flying over the fence and flogging us.  Mother was looking forward to him teaching those terrible Downs kids a lesson…

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