A giveaway and book Review, October 14, 2021

I am sitting here at my desk after finishing a fellow author’s book, “Why Grandma Doesn’t Know Me.” But first , I want to tell you of an opportunity to put your name in for a drawing for my signed chapbook,”Leaf Memories.” Go to

http://www.handyuncappedpen.com/2021/10/giveaway-leaf-memories-by-carol.html

Just go to the site of the Handy uncapped pen and write a comment or put your name and email under the cover photo of Leaf Memories, to have your name in the drawing. While you are there, check out this blog source for writers with disabilities.

Now to my review of Abbie Taylor’s newest novel. The title refers to one of the characters, a Grandma with dementia . She fails to recognize one of her grandaughters. In a moment of clarity, she reveals a family secret that threatens to change the family forever.

I was in the room with Natalie when her Grandma in a moment of memory identifies her grandaughter and reveals a secret involving Natalie. I was a aide, listening at the door as the scene unfolded.

Later, the family members saying good bye to Grandma were touching. The character of the priest was used to prompt Marti and Daryl, to give Marti’s permission for mom to pass on. Daryl was asked to play Santa for his younger daughter’s Christmas party at her school

New people are added to the core family structure, threatening to topple years of lies. The characters are able to evolve and change, especially the oldest daughter Natalie.

A young puppy, found in the park adds humor and nostalgia for remembered and loved pets.

Ms. Taylor has woven a story using the perspective of the different characters. I was enthralled to the end.

To read more about this and other books by Abbie Taylor visit her author’s page at https://www.abbiejohnsontaylor.com/

**********

********

Authors

There are writers that write to amuse.

Others keep secrets in their diaries .

Some doodle with funny musings and thoughts.

The brave ones boldly put their writings in print.

for the world to read.

They are the authors.

carolaspot@aol.com

copyright 10/14/21

O Scary Night,October,12, 2021

Each year we decorate the outdoors for All Hallows day or better known as Halloween. Not for us a simple gravestone and a couple of skeltons. We have thought of a different tableau for over 23 years.

Like stage sets, the displays are best viewed from the road.They don’t hold up under close scrutiny. Most hand made items end up in November’s garbage.

So, what can you do with a couple of skeletons, some bones and lights?

My theater staging kicks in to show a scene. For this year, We discussed a blood drive. It would be hard to see from the road. Skeletons have no blood. John came up with a bone drive.

We found a large black planter on clearence. Building a tripod, we used chains to hang the pot for collected bones.

A tall skeleton stands besides the pot, ringing a bell.

A large sign in the shape of a tombstone proclaims in cutout red letters, “bone drive today.” The top of the sign has a half dozen raven skeletons.

There are several skeletons bringing spare bones to the collection pot.

A small skeleton is walking her skelton dog on a leash and harness. The parts of the staging are lit with spotlights and colored lights at night. )See photo below)

Some of other displays were; The American Gothic with dressed up skeletons in a field of corn, a pirate ship hung with Mardi gras beads, Tahitian dancers tiki lamps with Tahitian drumming and a large rocking horse that rocked by itself.

Nothing scarey, just some fun to bring that second look from a child or adult.

Below are several scenes from past years. We will stop when we run out of ideas.

carolaspot@aol.com

copyright 10-12-2021

The Grand Old Bull, October 7, 2021

Today would be my Dad’s 102 birthday. Bruce Loyd Turnbull was a kind Father for five energetic children.

  With the boys, he was the coach of their basketball, football and boxing teams. In the fall, he would take them hunting and to explore in Northern Michigan.

  He had to come up with different activities with me. He found that we shared a love of music and singing popular tunes.

  The electric store was given many record albums to play on new stereos. Some of my favorite were songs from movies or stage shows.

  I would be able to take them home and play them on my blue record player. I learned the songs by heart and would dance and sing for hours.

  One day, my Dad asked if I would like to go to the movies with him. He chose a Sunday matinee. We went the movie,”Music man.” I had been singing with the record for over a month. I ignored our shared popcorn as I belted out all the tunes.

  When I was old enough to learn to swim, dad enrolled me in a beginning swimming lessons. I learned to float and perform the crawl stroke, but I didn’t learn to breath while swimming.

  On the last day, all the parents were present to watch their children pass their swimming requirements.

  I had passed all requirements except to swim the width of the pool. I took a large breath  and pushed of.. I swam until I was out of breath. I put my feet down only to discovered I was two feet from the edge. Failing, I saw an extended hand and grabbed it. It was my Dad helping me out of the pool.

  Why didn’t you breath? he asked.

  “I don’t know how,” I wailed.

“Don’t cry, I will teach you,” he replied.

  He had been a lifeguard in high school and college. He was true to his word and taught me so well, I earned my senior Lifesaving certification.

  When I was in college, my Father liked to visit each of his children and go with them to class. He would write grade each profession on his presentation and teaching methods. This scoring saved me from a reprimand when I received a D in earth science. The room was warm and stuffy. The professor had written the text book text. He referred to the text but did little in the way of explaining. Additionally, his voice was quiet and he spoke with a monotone. My Dad fell asleep in his class while in the middle of writing a sentence.

  In graduate school, my State and Local government professor invited Dad to talk to the class. He was the head of the local planning commission in Northville. There was a piece of property in the Northville limits that belonged to Detroit. Mayberry was an abandoned tuberculosis care center. The local people wanted it to be offered to the state for a park. Detroit wanted it for housing, even though it was twelve miles from the city.

  There was quite a discussion from several young men from Detroit asking my Dad tough questions about the decision. He was holding well, but the professor put a stop to the questions with a reminder that Mr. Turnbull was a guest.

  My Dad worked in downtown Detroit and didn’t show us any prejudice towards any group of people. He taught us to take each person individually. He did have issues with people from India. He was losing his hearing and the vocal pattern and higher voices made it difficult to converse with people with an Indian accent.

  In his later years, he would spin stories about his youth and early young adulthood. I never tired of hearing about his antics.

  So today, I raise a glass of beer, Gobel was his favorite and toast the treasure of stories. Thank you Dad and Happy Birthday.

**********

********

Father

A friend

Handsome in his suit

tall walking with his sons

his smile was quicker than his frown

lifesaver

Feeling Felted Art October 5, 2021

This October, The APH,”In Sights” art contest is virtual for the second year in a row. On October fifteen, the winning art of blind children and indepdent artist will be displayed and discribed on the American Printing House for the blind website, http://www.aph.org after five thirty p m eastern time. The art wil be posted on the APH facebook page later the same evening. I am a blind artist that relies on my memory and sense of touch to knit and felt 3D tableaus. I work to portray a disability with a touch of humor while starting conversations about living with different challenges. My second goal is to create an art piece that can be accessed tactically.

The four photos show animals in daily situations.

The first photo is named “Chicken Run”. This art is featured in the American Printing House,”In Sights” calendar for 2021. The piece features a cream hen sitting on a clutch of brown eggs. Three of the chicks have hatched. Two of the chicks are under the wings of the hen in the nest. The third chick is on brass legs. The chick is joyfully racing away on her prosthetic legs.

The second photo is named”Blind Date” Two pink pigs are seated at a table conversing. The girl has a leader pig at her feet in harness.The boy has a white cane on the floor at his feet. They are sitting at a table with drinks and a candle for atmosphere. This art shows the blind engaging in an ativity that many take for granted. The art won first place in the craft division of the In Sights contest in 2019.

The third photo is “Knit Wit”. The darker humor looks at dementia in the older population. The tableau shows a gray sheep sitting and knitting a grey sock. She is unaware that her ball of yarn has rolled away. Instead she has started to knit using the fleece from the backside of her sleeping ram on the couch. It provokes discussions about dementia in seniors. This piece won honorable mention in 2020 and will be featured in the In Sights calendar for 2022.

The final photo is “Playing Cat and Mouse”. The piece is of a sleeping cat in a basket of knitting. The cat is a cream and dark brown with Siamese markings. There are three mice running around and in the basket. The cat is deaf and cannot hear the mice at play. This is a reminder of the disadvantage that the deaf and hard of hearing experienced this past year with social distancing and mask wearing. This limited their ability to lip read and see facial expressions. This piece won third place in the 2021 craft division in the American Printing House, “In Sights” art contest.

All the art is touchable by the blind and others.

photos

I am now working to produce replicas of working guide dogs. Guide dog Willow an all black british lab, poses in front of little Willow seated on the red chair.

carolfarn@aol.com

copyright 10-5-2021

A Fiddler on the Roof, September 30, 2021

We are having a new roof put on our house. Bright and early on Wednesday morning, we were greeted with five young people on our roof. They scraped the old shingles off and prepared the surface for new one.

But I was not prepared for the mixed signals that walking, scraping and pounding gave a blind person. Normally, I listen and feel the virbrations of walking towards me to tell me my husband was coming. I would turn to see what he wanted. Wednesday, I heard multiple feet in many places. My listening was overloaded!

I thought back to the musical, “Fiddler On The Roof.” The noise reminded me of the line, “Our lives are as precarious as a fiddler on the roof.” It doesn’t take much change to upset our day.

We are comfortably set in our ways. Perhaps we need a change in our day to shake us up.

I went through the day with more awareness of what who and what was going around me. Not only at home but when we left later in the day, the awareness continued.

Each of us need to be shaken out of our complacency.

I wouldn’t suggest the extreme of a new roof but trying to start the being mindful of what is around you rather than staying in your head. To be in the body and the here and now is harder than it seems.

To live in the moment can be a challenge. There will be time to think, recall and remember. Enjoy each minute of your lives. Even the fiddler’s music on your roof.

**********
********

Silence

Silence is golden , or so they say.

I can have silence anytime.

I turn off my hearing aids.

But I would miss the bird calling the woods.

Children laughing on the way to school

Even the workers on the roof.

I would miss living, for the moment of silence.

Carolaspot@aol.com

copyright 9/30/ 2021

A Home For All, September 28

From September first to October fourth has been set aside as a time for creation, for caring for all people and living things, and to practice radical hospitality.

In other words, we as a caring global community are called on to practice renewing, recycling and restoring mother earth. We also need to conseve resources.

As a blind person, I keep the heavy inserts that come in advertisements . Using a slate and stylus I braille notes for myself. The printing doesn’t matter with braille. Then they can be recycled with other papers and flyers.

Looking for places to recycle can be difficult for me. My small town has a clean up day twice a year. At the clean up center, there are bins for recyclables. I start to gather recyclables a month or two before the clean up date. Aluminum foil, newspapers, crushed clean cans, glass and plastic milk containers are gathered. I will collect these items a month or two before the clean up day for the collection.

The earth is a home to many animals and birds. I have a low watering trough that deer and birds can drink from. Migrating birds have suet and seeds for food, to help get ready to migrate or stay through the winter.

Whenever possible I take cloth bags to grocery shopping. It reduces the use of plastic one use bags.

I keep different sizes of cardboard to incert with braille letters to protect the braille in the mail. I keep different sizes of large enevlopes to reuse for mailing. The envelopes can be cut down to fit the sent item.

We can acknowledge the example that native peoples have demonstrated for the environmen. Cooperating with nature rather than being at odds with her.

Finally as we do all we can in our corner of the world to practice radical hospitality, may we pray for and write to our government officals to encourage practices that will conserve the earth for our children and grandchildren. This is our only home. Be kind , and clean up your mess!**********

********

Lynda Lambert wrote a new review of my book, “Leaf Menories” on her blog last week. She is an accomplished writer, poet and artist. Please visit her blog at https://www.lyndalambert.com/book-review-leaf-memories-carol-farnsworth/

Lynda liked this haiku from the fall section of the book.

Sumac

red seed pods

amid rosy leaves

stand tall

carolaspot@aol.com

copyright 9-29-2021

Bruce’s Roots September 23, 2021

In the 1920’s my Grandfathers were businessmen and friends long before their families were joined by a marriage. What was unique about this friendship was one of them was a Catholic and the other was a Baptist. In the small town this fact would have kept them apart, instead they enjoyed each other’s company.

My Grandfather Clifford would walk my father , Bruce across Main Street to Al Heatley’s barber shop for a hair cut. One day my Grandfather must have though his son was old enough to get a haircut without him. “Go and get a haircut from Mr. Heatley” he said ,here is 50 cents.” My Dad crossed Main avoiding cars and hourses and entered Grandfather’s Heatley’s shop. He was greeted by the smell of cigars, men’s conversation of politics and the constant clicking of scissors. The conversation quieted as Bruce moved to the corner chair where a large pile of comics waited for younger customers.

Soon it was my Dad’s turn. Al got the bench that fitted over the arms of the barber chair to bring children’s heads to his eye level. Flourishing a barber cloth like a matador’s cape he asked, “The works??” Bruce had no idea what the works was but it sounded fine to him. The works started with a head massage, then a hair cut and hair tonic and finally a bit of cologne. After he was finished Bruce gave Mr, Heatley the 50 cents. My Grand father feigned anger at Bruce. “You asked for the works, that is one dollar”, Al bellowed. “Go get another fifty cents from your father.”. Bruce slowly left the shop embarrassed by the men’s laughter heard as the door closed, when he returned to the Northville Electric shop, Cliff was writing an invoice for a customer. He looked at his son and remarked, ”Nice haircut, why so glum?” Bruce blurted, ”I gave Mr. Heatley the fifty cents but he said I owed fifty cents more because I asked for the works.”

Cliff shook his head mumbling, “Damn that Al Heatley!” He gave his son a lecture about asking just for a hair cut as he handed Bruce two more quarters, “You will sweep the store to earn this money.”

These two men continued their friendship for fifty five more years. They died within six weeks of each other. I am sure they are continueing to play jokes on each other for eternity .

**********

********

Friendship

Two men, one poor one not.

Living in a small town with prejudices .

They were able to bridge the gap, becoming friends.

I smile, knowing they still are.

carolaspot@aol.com

copyright 9/23/2021

World Peace Day, September 21,2021

This holiday has been celebrated since 1984 by the United Nations. It starts with the ringing of a bell Made by small coins donated from children around the world. The coinss were melted down to form the peace bell.

Many countries display peace poles. Introduced in Japan in 1955, The monument pole displays the quote, “May peace prevail on earth,” in the language of the country. Along with the original quote, the message is printed in twelve to fifteen other languages.

My daughter’s elementary school constructed a peace pole on their playground. The art teacher had the students make and paint tiles to decorate the pole. They were mortared on a wooden pole in the middle of the play area. The purpose was to direct students to the pole when conflicts occured on the play ground. The act of interrupting the conflict to take time out to walk to the pole cooled tempers and helped resolve differences.

People have made origami peace doves and distributed them on this day. They are a reminder to resolve conflicts and live in peace with each other.

In the past, the United Nations has called for cease fires for this day. The theme for this year’s peace day is, “Shaping peace together.” The emphasis is to resolve conflict in each person’s life.

What will you choose to do on this day? Is there a dispute with a family member or an acquaintance? Giving out folded paper doves is a nice start but will you give a listening ear? Will you try to see another’s point of view.

We don’t have to agree, but we do need to work to live in peace. Go spread the word. Peace be with you.

**********

********

Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me.

Let there be peace on earth, the peace that was meant to be.

With God as our Father, brothers and sisters are we.

Let us walk with each other, in perfect harmony .

Let peace begin with me, let this be the moment now.

With every step I take, let this be my final vow.

To take each moment and live each moment, in peace eternally.

Let there be peace on earth. and let it begin with me.

Written in1955 by Jill Jackson Liller and Sid Miller

Carolaspot@aol.com

copyright 9/21/2021

Sisters September 16, 2021

In my life, I have had many female friends, but only three of them are soul sisters to me.

Cheryll was my first sister friend at age five. We were both the only girls in our families. She and I went to kindergarten together. Though we attended different schools after that year, she was always in the neighborhood as a playmate and friend. We stayed together through high school and I was one of her bridesmaids. After marraige she moved with her husband to the east coast and we lost touch.

My second soul sister was Laurel. She moved to my small town in third grade from Detroit. She was also an only girl with two older brothers. She and I were inseparable as preteens. We pushed the limits of our rules and were in trouble for it. We continued to correspond during college. When Laurel graduated from U of M law school, she moved to California with her boyfriend from law school.

The third soul sister was a exchange student from Brazil. Adelia was of Japanese heritage, but she was born in Brazil. I met her when I was starting college and she was staying in my home town and going to high school. My parents felt Adelia was not being exposed to the beauty and people of our area. She was expected to babysit when not in school. My Mother picked Adelia up on Friday after school and returned her to her foster home on Sunday night or Monday morning. In addition to taking her to church, they visited Niagara Falls, Mackinac Island and Our cottage on Lake Michigan. I visited on the weekends and got to know Adelia. We kept up correspondence for almost 40 years. In that time, I have met Adelia’s Mothern Her husband and even her friend John when she was able to visit here. I have many fond memories of exchanging cards and letters with her and learning of the flowers and cultural of Japan and Brazil.

Times have changed. I have reconnected with all three of my soul sisters with emails and occasional phone calls. I have gained insight from each of these women.

This weekend is Adelia’s birthday. My hope and wish for her is to be happy and healthy in the coming year. I know that Daddy Bruce and Mother Rita are looking down from heaven and wishing her the same.

I hope that Brazilian John found a good source for the pancakes he learned to love while visiting the States.

**********

********

Sisters

There are those born into a family that sometimes don’t get along.

Others join religious groups to have community together.

Others march for one cause or another.

But one is lucky if you find a soul sister to grow and share your lives with.

I am blessed by three times over.

To have three such close sisters, not of blood,

but of the heart.

Different origins but connected by place and time.

We touch each other with written words across the miles.

I feel your love.

Happy Birthday Adelia

carolaspot@aol.com

copyright 9/16/2021

The Legacy September 14, 2021

This past weekend we remembered as individuals and groups the events of 9/11. Some wished to forget the past and get on with our lives. Others organized moments of silence and prayer vigils. Here in Grand Rapids, at the Ford museum, a line of scouts saluted the flag from sunrise to sunset. They came up one by one to pay their respects and remember 9/11. None of them were old enough to recall that day 20 years ago.

I still have visual flashbacks to video that played over and over on the television. The most vivid images were the people trapped on the higher floors, above the site of the plane crash. Several stay in my mind til this day. There was a couple holding hands as they jumped to a quick death rather that burn to death. Another person made the sign of the cross before jumping. A third young man took as if he took a swan dive to welcome a quick death.

We were all changed by the events and the photo legacy of that day. What I worry about is how we answer the questions of our children. More importantly what are the actions we show to others?

Are we teaching hatred or forgiveness? The people that caused the events are long dead. They can’t feel our hatred. But our children can. What is the legacy that we are teaching then?

*********

********

Remembering

With the rising of the dawn, the first boy salutes the flag.

The line of scouts will continue to pay their respects til sunset.

They have no memories of 20 years ago.

Adults whisper, asking, “Where were you that Morning?”

They all know the answer.

Glued to the television or radio.

what are the youth thinking as they wait.

What message have we taught them?

Do we hate or forgive?

The dead will not feel the hate,

but our children will.

.

carolaspot@aol.com

copyright 9/14/2021