Let Me Get This Straight

Problems in Communication, Episode # 1

By Jeff Salter

Folks, if you’ve followed me on Facebook, you’ve likely seen several examples of conversations in which one party is simply not getting through to the other. Some of these have been conversations I’ve overheard in public places (one of my favorites occurred in Hardees years ago), while others have taken place right here in Possum Trot.

conversation

I’ve occasionally confessed the identities of those individuals in Possum Trot, but sometimes I just leave it to your own imaginations.
Take this actual conversation, for example, from early January 2017.

She: Are you going to watch The Burbs?
He: On TV? Tonight? I didn’t see it listed.
She: It’s just starting… now.
He: Wonder why they’d change the lineup?
She: Maybe it was printed wrong.
He: Oh, I know. I bet they’re running The Burbs now because of Carrie Fisher’s recent passing.
She: Carrie Fisher was in The Burbs?
He: Yeah, she was Tom Hanks’ wife.
She: Tom Hanks was in The Burbs?
He: Duh. He was the star.
She: Hanks was in kindergarten when The Burbs came out.
He: Huh? What on earth are you talking about?
She: Are you going to watch The Burbs or not?
[He goes downstairs and sees the opening minute of the Hitchcock classic.] “Oh, you meant The BIRDS!”
She: That’s what I’ve been saying…

Question:
What about you? What confusions have YOU experienced in a conversation?

[JLS # 423]

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Interview: The Princess Morgane

Today I’m interviewing one of my characters, the Princess Morgane from The Enchanted. I hope you like Morgane! She’s a brave woman.

1.  Tell us a little about yourself. How did you come to your author’s attention? Occupation? 

“I am the Princess Morgane, daughter of King Maccus, wife of Prince Alan who is heir to his father King Bowdyn. The entire kingdom celebrated my marriage to Prince Alan, so I suppose that is how she heard of me. My occupation? I am a princess.”

A tall, blonde warrior enters the chamber where the interview is taking place. He hears the last thing Princess Morgane says. “Do not forget, my princess, that I have seen you washing dishes. Mayhap you would enjoy that occupation.”

The princess laughs, her eyes gleam. “My husband jests, though I did indeed wash the dishes when we fought the terrible evil in King Osric’s realm.”

“Fought and prevailed in large part to you, my dear.”

The princess nods to the interviewer. “As you can see, Madame, my husband is a practiced flirt!”

2.  What or who is the greatest love of your life? Why? What drew you to them?

Princess Morgane reaches for Prince Alan’s hand. “Our love story did not begin the way most do. Our fathers arranged a marriage for the two of us even though we had never met. I did not expect to even like him, but I grew to love him almost immediately. How could I not? He is everything a man should be. He is kind, generous, clever, protective, …”

“Nay, my love. These are qualities that should apply to you. If I possess any virtue at all, it comes out of my love for you.”

The princess blushes and turns back to the interviewer. 

3.  What’s your greatest fear?

Princess Morgane bites her lip. “I fear that one day I might lose the prince. We live in a dangerous world.”

Prince Alan scowls at the interviewer. “Think no more upon it, my princess. I will take very good care of myself.”

4.  What’s your motto in life?

“Aut viam inveniam aut faciam – I will either find a way or make one.”

The prince beams at her. “Well said, my princess. After our experiences I do not believe in the word impossible.”

5.  How do the other characters in your book view you? 

Princess Morgane considers the question. “With no false modesty, I can say that I have found favor with my husband and his family. To this day I possess the red banner given to me by King Bowdyn in appreciation of my service to the kingdom.” Her eyes twinkle. “Perhaps I do not look like a warrior, but I am held in high regard by the army.”

Prince Alan laughs. “Indeed. Madame Interviewer, you should hear the warrior Renweard speak of her bravery when she confronted the false princess. Even now he brags of how she killed an enemy to save me. In truth she saved me twice, once in Pygeria, and once when the false princess held sway over the castle.”

6. What do you prefer? To spread & hear gossip, or be the creator of gossip fodder?

“Well, if one must choose, I suppose I would rather be the creator of gossip fodder. It is much more entertaining that way.”

7.  What is it about you that is going to draw us readers in? 

Prince Alan clears his throat. “I will answer that one for you. She has the heart of a dragon and beauty beyond compare, but she is warm, nurturing, and loving toward all whom she meets.”

“Thank you, my prince.”

8.  What was your happiest moment? 

She laughs. “Oh, that is easy. My happiest moment was when Prince Alan broke the evil spell upon Pygeria, thereby giving us the chance for a future together.”

9.  What trait in others do you find most deplorable?

“I abhor greediness which leads to all manner of deceit and unkindness.”

10. The random question: If you were a color, what color would you be and why?

“Yellow. To me, yellow is a joyous, happy color full of hope and sunshine. I have suffered much in my life, but thanks to my adventures with the prince my days are now filled with sunshine.” She stands. “Come. Let me show you the lovely painting the prince did for me. It too is filled with the sunshine.”

the enchanted

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Goodreads Challenge 2019, Part Two

It’s been a challenging month for me, but I always make time to read, and I have three great books to share with you today. If you like to read romance and/or mystery, I’m sure you’ll find something you like among them:

513kqcki6plThe Charming Prince by Julia Keanini
Princes of Valdoria, Book 3
Julia is a member of one of the author support groups I belong to. After reading and reviewing several of her books, I joined her review team. I read and enjoyed the first two in this series, and knowing there were two more brothers who needed mates, I was pleased to see it continue. Prince Sebastian is known as the kind, compassionate brother, and his affinity for animals is something that the “prince hunters” use to try and get close to him. Officially, his support for the Huntsman Animal Clinic and Shelter is financial, but only a few know that he helped start it and actually works there. Taylor Kensington is a newly certified veterinarian, but her mother’s dying wish is for her to visit Valdoria, the land of her the father she’s never known. What begins as the vacation of a lifetime leads to a career opportunity and much more. I enjoyed reading Seb and Taylor’s story, and look forward to finding out how the fourth brother meets his match.

 

51cb2tgsxdlHow the Finch Stole Christmas! By Donna Andrews
I was in the mood for reading a cozy mystery, so I looked through my Kindle library and discovered a couple of Donna Andrews books I hadn’t yet read. Both are Christmas stories that I apparently purchased as soon as they became available and then didn’t read because I got too busy. I love Donna’s mysteries because they are so well written, and so full of surprises. The characters are quirky and loveable, and I always learn a new word or two (this time it was “sibilant” which basically means a hissing sound). Also, the characters age and have lives that change through the twenty-five (so far) books in the series. In this installment, Meg and Michael’s twin boys are ten years old, and they’re both appearing in the town’s Christmas presentation of A Christmas Carol. Michael is the director, and the star of the show has a drinking problem. Of course, there’s a murder, and Meg is somehow swept into the thick of the investigation, aided by the good people of Caerphilly, Virginia.

 

perf5.000x8.000.inddFreedom’s Path by Linda Carroll-Bradd
Linda was my guest here at 4F1H a few weeks ago, and since I spent a lot of time studying American history during my college years, I decided to read the book she featured. Sidonie and her brother Philippe are both involved in the famous Underground Railroad. Corporal Colin Crawford has a sworn duty to uphold the law, including the controversial Fugitive Slave Act. He’s been sent to Willow Springs to look for abolitionist activity. He’s been there before, and his attraction to Sidonie is one reason he’s eager to return. Since Colin is undercover, posing as a traveling salesman, neither of them knows that they’re at cross purposes, and their relationship blossoms. I enjoyed the characters and their story, but felt the ending was a bit rushed.

What are you reading?

 

 

Posted in book review, Books, Goodreads Challenge, Mystery stories, Patricia Kiyono, romance | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

And the Band Plays On?

I suggested the topic of a real-life happily-ever-after love story so long ago that frankly, I am not sure what story I had in mind. Possibly the story of the couple below, but when I told The Husband that I was stuck, (and we could only come up with tragic true-love tales), he remembered me telling him about one of my cousin’s in-laws.

I don’t know their earliest history, except that Peter and Amilia were both were both Polish and born in Europe. (There was no actual ‘Poland’ in the 1890s.) Peter was four years older than Amilia, but when or where they married, I do not know. What I do know is that for many decades they lived not far from George Washington’s lands, (or, actually, what had been Martha’s), in a Virginia suburb of Washington, DC ,far enough from the city at that time to be able to have a few chickens and goats, which Amilia tended along with keeping the house and caring for the children, while Peter worked for the railroad.

After some years, Amilia fell ill. The doctor performed a hysterectomy. She healed and resumed her normal work, but soon went back to her doctor and said,
“I’m carrying a child”.
The doctor replied, “That’s impossible”, to which Amilia answered,
”I’m telling you, I felt life. I’ve had six children, I know what I am talking about.”
And sure enough, their seventh child was brought into the world.

Peter and Amilia’s children grew, began to marry or enter religious life, (a daughter who became a quite famous, well-loved nun, and two sons were popular priests), then Amilia fell ill again. While she was in the hospital, Peter quietly sold off the animals and part of their land so that she would not work hard when she came home, (and before she could give him an argument about it!)

They enjoyed their faith, all of their many grandchildren, great-grandchildren…and each other. They would polka every night after supper.

When Peter was into his eighties, his heart began acting up, so the doctors gave him a pacemaker. He wore that one out. He wore the second one out. The third morning after the third pacemaker was put into place, one of his sons (who later became a monsignor) went to the hospital to see his father and found him out of bed, packing his suitcase.
“Dad, what are you doing?”
“I’m going home, the doctor said that I could.”
“Oooookay. Dad, I’ll be right back. Stay right there, OK?” Fr .John rushed down to the nurses’ station and cried out, “My father’s out of bed! He thinks he is going home!”
The nurses said, “He’s going home; he’s fine.”

Peter went home and that night, polkaed with Amilia. The polkaed for many more years.

(I learned all of the above from Peter and Amilia themselves one afternoon on my cousin’s front porch, when we all joined together to celebrate her son’s ordination. Amilia then took my mother and me to the garden to meet Helen, her youngest, the very rare survivor of the very rare ‘abdominal pregnancy’.)

A few years afterward, Peter went to his rest when he was in his ninties, after wearing out a number of pacemakers. Amilia went on actively for seven more years, and well into her nineties, she joined him.

I wonder if they polka Heaven?

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The Love Story I Grew Up With

And We Asked About It Often

By Jeff Salter

Not only are we – Foxes and Hound – celebrating true love stories this week, but I get the honor of presenting mine on Valentine’s Day itself. I couldda gone a few different directions, but decided to follow suit of at least one of the Foxes so far and mention how my parents got together.

I guess it’s natural for kids to wonder how their parents hooked up. I know I remember hearing part or all of this story MANY times as a youngster.

love-story

Different backgrounds

First of all, they were a somewhat unlikely couple. My dad was born (a month after his own father died) to a newly-widowed mom with no income, no property, and no education. His older brother and sisters went to work to help support the family and relocate all of them from central/western Mississippi to the Biloxi coast where more plentiful jobs were available during the Great Depression. Though the youngest, Augie Salter was the first of his siblings to graduate high school. He worked his way through LSU, with a combination of odd jobs and ROTC. For a few semesters he had to sit out, because he didn’t have the tuition.

My mom, on the other hand, was the only child of an influential Bell Telephone Co. executive who kept getting promoted to offices in larger cities throughout the South. Even though her daddy lost a lot during the Stock Market Crash of 1929, he still managed to provide a very comfortable living for his wife and daughter and was able to afford two years of private college in Shreveport before Dottie Robinson transferred to LSU in Baton Rouge.

Not Most Likely

I detail that merely to show that they were not the most likely individuals to get together. Dottie was pursuing a music degree, heavily involved in the marching band – in fact, in the very first year which ALLOWED females in the band – and chorus (I think). Plus, she was in a sorority and had roommates/suitemates to hang out with. Augie lived for at least one semester beneath the back porch of his landlady’s house… on a dirt floor with no running water. Later he got a bed in the football stadium.

Where They Met

As best I can recall, Dottie first encountered Augie at LSU’s Baptist Student Union (BSU) activities. Augie was a pre-ministry student and was at that time the BSU President. He was prematurely balding, stood about five-foot-ten, and weighed some 120 pounds soaking wet. Dottie said she was first attracted to his hairy arms when he rolled up his sleeves. LOL

After they’d been dating for a while, Augie took Dottie across the Mississippi River to a farm where one of his sisters lived and worked. There, Dottie met Augie’s mom and some of his other siblings.

The Big Question

They way they always told us the story, one day on the LSU campus, Dottie and Augie were sitting on a bench and holding hands when he said – apparently quite nervously, while attempting to sound casual – “I wonder what my mom would say if I married a girl from Shreveport.”

Dottie’s reply was, “Oh, Augie.”

[Apparently neither of them had read any romance novels at that point.]

World War II

The Second World War was waging at that point. Many of the male students were graduated early so they could fight. Augie must have not yet completed ROTC, because he went in the U.S. Army as an enlisted man. [Only later did he go to OCS and get his lieutenant bar.]

I don’t recall every place he trained or how long he was at each, but I know he went to Camp Roberts CA and Fort Benning GA. It was (basically) in between those two training assignments that they married in late 1943. By that point, Dottie had also graduated from LSU, though on the standard curriculum progression (not the fast-track for the future soldiers).

The plan was for Dottie to take a train from home – at that time, home may have still been Shreveport, but could have been Atlanta – all the way to Southern California, where they would be married during his weekend pass from training. Dottie and her mom had picked out a lovely white wedding dress, which – with the rest of her trousseau – was on a baggage train. Well, with all the troop movements, it’s only natural that some of the civilian luggage was set aside … and that’s what happened to her steamer trunk.

So Dottie arrived in California with hardly more than the clothes she was wearing. She was married in a dark colored – I’ve heard black, but it may have been dark blue – traveling dress.

My sense of the timetable is skewed, and I don’t recall how many stations Dottie followed her new husband to. [I’m assuming he didn’t leave for OCS until after the wedding.] At any rate, in spring of 1945, newly commissioned Lt. Augie Salter started on his train trip to an EAST coast port… to wait for passage to Europe with the 65th Infantry Division. He had trained to lead a mortar platoon.

Augie arrived in Europe on V-E Day, and therefore was never in actual combat. But he remained in Europe on Occupation Duty – with the 9th Infantry Division – for over a year, returning stateside to Dottie in 1946.

Seminary

I gather Augie almost immediately enrolled in Southwest Baptist Seminary in the (still smallish) city of Fort Worth, Texas. I’m confused about their accommodations, but at least part of the time, they lived in a boarding house where they shared a bathroom and kitchen with other tenants. At some point they must have had campus housing, but I’m unclear about that. I know for a while they lived with the Huckabee family, who remained life long friends. [That may have been the boarding house.] At one of these accommodations, they lived on the second floor and referred to their room(s) as “Salter Towers.”

They were young, poor, and very much in love.

Divorce

They remained married for 33 years, though I can’t say their love lasted quite that long. They divorced in 1976 with irreconcilable differences. But the regrettable, somewhat premature ending to their marriage does not – for me – lessen the “true love” aspect of their early years. An unlikely pairing, they struggled through the war years and a lengthy Army separation, and then built a home and raised three children.

[JLS # 422]

 

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I Knew It Was Destiny

This week we’re moving from the world of fiction to the real world, and even in the real world there are happy love stories. I’d like to share my own love story with you. It certainly meets the criteria.

The first time I saw my future husband I was eighteen and working a summer job before I started college in the fall. Luckily, I had been able to get a first shift job at a local factory. We had finished work for the day, and I was talking to my friend Pam who was also earning money for college. She smiled very warmly at this young man who had just come into work on the second shift. I thought that was a little odd because she’d been going out with Bruce Cantrell since high school.

To make a long story short, the young man was Bruce’s brother. I had gone to school with Bruce since junior high, but I never knew he had an older brother.

We started speaking to each other every day, and gradually something strange happened. I was dating someone at the time and was happy with him, but I started to feel that somehow Wallace (Bruce’s brother’s name) and I had this connection. I felt that he was a part of my future although I had no idea how that would be.

Well, school started in the fall and I saw Wallace on campus several times during the year. And each time I felt more and more as if we belonged together. When I broke up with the young man I had been dating, I made sure Wallace knew it. He asked me out about a week later, and I found out I wasn’t the only one who’d felt destiny at work.

We got married three years later. I doubled up on my classes so I could graduate a semester early, and we started our life’s journey together. I’ve never regretted a minute of it. At this time we’ve been married for forty-five years, and I only hope we get forty-five more.

How about your story? Why not share it with us?

The picture is us taken a few years after our marriage. The two cute little boys of course belong to us.

early years

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Lasting Love

It seems like real life love stories with a happy ending are hard to come by today unless you look to the older generations. There’s one story that I have always loved to hear as a child.

J grew up in town. One day her family had gone out for a drive in the country. On the side of the road there was a handsome man with black hair riding a horse. The horse was dancing as it walked. In that moment, watching him and his horse make their way down the road she knew she was in love. A few days later she was in the auditorium at the high school but a few seats behind her sat the man she had seen on the horse. She discovered his name. R, was a year older than her. She and her friends would walk by him and try to get his attention.

R was a country boy and many people in town looked down on them. They didn’t care. The two of them began to date. They got engaged. J’s family whisked her away on vacation to the beach under the guise of trying to convince her not to marry R. It didn’t matter what anyone said or did, she was in love. They married in May her senior year of high school. She was 17 (just a month and half before her 18th birthday) and he was 18. After they married J was told that she could not have her husband escort her to her senior prom because he had graduated the prior year. The principal told her to have someone else escort her to the dance but she choose to skip it.

J and R only needed each other. They’ve withstood the loss of a child, illness, fire, loss of their parents, among a great many other things. This couple has proven time and again that love is real. They still behave as if they were love sick teenagers, hardly ever finding one without the other.  Anyone can have a love story with a happy ending so long as they don’t give up when times grow tough. You have to hold on to each other no matter what. I’m proud to call this couple mom and dad. I’m looking forward to celebrating their 48th wedding anniversary with them this year.

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