Sunday, May 26, 2013

Silver Linings in the Angst of More Tornadoes

Clouds that roar and wear tones of faded dirty greens and yellows cause me to stop and feel the air around me.  Growing up in Oklahoma set my internal clock for air pressure changes.  Sirens and weather alerts merely bring my fear to the forefront.  Sunday, May 19 found us sitting inside the Civic Center Music Hall in Oklahoma City watching one of my PHMS students, Piper Hoskins, graduate from OCU Law School.  Truly, it was a fulfilling moment for me, and for the hundreds of parents and friends of these students.  Then the sirens rang and my heart skipped a beat.  This room wasn't safe, no matter what anyone said.  These kids deserved a chance to make this world a better place, and the prayers of many beamed to the heavens.
A Silver lining in a Rainbow just north of Edmond.

We were lucky, but those in Edmond, and other parts of Oklahoma were not, homes and  lives were lost that day.  We waited out the storm  before driving back to Kansas, and then watched as the sky erupted into a deep rolling black and blue bruised cloud building over our friends and families in Norman.  There was nothing we could do but drive north and pray.  Sometimes the helplessness adds to the fear and hurt. Norman was spared but Shawnee took a hit. The voice of Gary England on the radio kept Jack and me informed of the tornado's path; my mind wondered through a lifetime of stormy memories.  Mother's words floated back to me, as they do most often when my heart is heavy, "Look for the silver lining in everything, Letty."   Then this rainbow appeared on the back side of the Edmond storm; I thought the worst was over and felt relief.

My mind or perhaps my heart, drifted back to people and places that once made a difference in my life before they died a tragic death.  One special person was Dr. Sarah Reed.  She was the Director of the Emporia State University Library School from 1975-78; the same years I lived in Greensburg and worked on my Master's degree.  She was a gracious gentle woman who allowed me to bring my little daughter, Katy, to weekend workshops.  Sometimes Katy played dolls and colored in her office while Sarah worked at her desk, and I sat in class.  My favorite memory was when she invited us over for tea.  Her antique furniture matched her charm and grace.  We sat in her living room and drank hot tea from china cups, discussing books and how computers might someday change our world, while Katy frolicked on her red cushioned love seat, and Sarah smiled.  The summer of 1978,  Sarah died a violent death while on a dinner theater showboat on a lake near Pomona, Kansas when a freak tornado rolled the boat killing three friends from ESU, and leaving another hole in my heart.     (for more on the Pomona tragedy read the article by Stu Beitler

Monday, May 20 a little after 3:00 my daughter, who lives in OKC,  texted me, "I'm safe.  Don't worry."  My head screamed and I called her immediately.  "Safe from what?"  Her voice pounded with her heartbeat as she explained what was happening just south of her in Moore.   Within minutes I turned on the TV and was faced with the horror of one More tornado.

For the loss of lives, especially our school children, my heart aches.  The devastation, like Joplin, Greensburg, Udall, and so many more will take years of hard work to overcome,  and for a few there will be some silver linings.

May 19, setting sun after the storms had passed along I-35.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Readings and Greetings: Miss Julia to the Rescue by Ann B. Ross

Miss Julia makes me giggle and laugh at some of the stunts she pulls, and even better yet, she is beyond middle age.  How refreshing and elevating to meet a cast of characters who come to life with every page and each new book.  Perhaps I've taken such delight with Miss Julia because she can't sit still for a minute, and if there's something that can be done to help a neighbor, her socialite friends, or her community she will step up and do her best to "come to the rescue",  "stir up trouble", "deliver the goods", "paint the town", "stand her ground," "hit the road," and sometimes she "meets her match" or "speaks her mind."  These are just a few of the Miss Julia titles that express the energy, devotion, and inquisitive attitude of this lady.

The death of her first husband of 44 years, Wesley Lloyd Springer, leaves Miss Julia with enough money to support her home in style, but it also left her with his a son born out of wedlock to Mr. Springer's romance at the time, Hazel Marie.  Rather than a mopey sad bitter woman over her husband's secret lifestyle, we have Miss Julia who  takes action to make life good and respectable for Hazel Marie and her illegitimate son, Lloyd.  Thanks to Miss Julia's forgiving abilities and the need to set things right for poor Lloyd, he and his mother become part of Miss Julia's household and family.  Over the next seven years Miss Julia, Hazel Marie, Lillian, and a cast of characters create hilarious
events such as stealing a clock tower off a courthouse about to be demolished; rescuing J.D. Pickens, a private eye, from a hospital where he is being detained as John Doe; saving a young carpenter from the clutches of a tattooed cult; attending a church of praise, deliverance, and snake handlers; halting the development of a church theme park that's gone awry; being there in time to bring twins into this world; and making the decision to marry again.

Luckily, there is no way to define this genre because Miss Julia knows no limits.  The result is humor, mystery, drama, delicious southern gossip, strong women, colorful characters, and a continuing plot.  This is also one series I can highly recommend listening to the audio version, because the women selected to read these stories give the listener a real sense of the southern voice, and that only adds to the personal humor.  Enjoy.

To learn more about the author and her books check out her website:

Monday, May 6, 2013

Dirty Little Secrets

Ok, so our dirty little secret is out.  It snows in Kansas in May, but please don't tell the tourists, perspective farmers, or future residents.  We'd like to believe that we are in the land of Oz where spring comes on schedule followed by summer, fall, and a short winter.  At  least it was that way last year, and I have pictures to prove it.
5/2/13 snow pelting our green grass.

April 15, 2012 lots of sun, no rain, then it turned dull brown.

Our other secret is that two weeks ago Jack and I ran away together.  We packed our golf clubs, warm weather clothes, rain gear just because, and we headed south to warmer weather leaving Lucy behind to sulk.  The forecast for late April in Kansas was cold rain, and wind.  That was enough motivation to go online and find a motel and golf course on South Padre Island near Corpus Christi, Texas.  If it hadn't been for a few aching joints we might have felt like college kids skipping school.

Two weeks ago we also learned of Ft. Worth I-35's dirty little secret:  too much traffic on the highway.  It took us two hours to travel 20 miles, and that's no exaggeration.  The next day when Austin I-35 traffic pulled the same stop and crawl technique we turned to the the trusted Rand McNally Atlas and discovered highway 183 south and then 77 south to Corpus.   No more traffic, instead we photographed wildflowers in bloom, old courthouses built of character, and found quaint places to enjoy along the road.
DeWitt County Courthouse, Cuero, Tx.

Pure delectation could be seen on our faces when we stepped foot in the Gulf of Mexico and felt the warm breezes on our faces.

April 21, 2013 on the Gulf, in the sun, barefoot and laughing.
Sometimes, event dirty little secrets have silver linings.