This week I read The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot. I could not put it down, literally. It was the first book I read in full on my new Kindle, which Mike gave me for Valentine’s Day, and every night this week, I fell asleep reading about the mystery surrounding Henrietta’s life and death and those cells.
Apparently, the answer to that is easy. No, it is not the Peppermint Princess from one of the million versions of “Candy Land,” though I enjoyed dressing the part for our school’s Halloween celebration.
For the second year straight, students have told me that I am Lottie (Charlotte) from A Princess and the Frog. Anyone got the recipe for those man-catchin’ beignets?
I happen to think this is adorable and am proud of the comparison. I love The Princess and the Frog, despite the fact that both of my kids can only make it through about a third of it. I am still not sure why that is, because I do not think they are scared anymore of the Shadow Man. The music is great, and Lottie is my favorite character. The movie just does not hold their attention. Anyone else have that problem?
And, yes, I call Mike my Big Daddy. LOL!
Charlotte Nelson’s grandson Walker is just a few months older than Mason. He is so handsome and, unlike Mase, he is a full-fledged country boy. We do not get to see him often, but the boys play like best friends when we do. I love seeing them together.
While at Walker’s cousin’s birthday party, he quickly pulled Mason into the wooded church yard to play. Mason had a blast running and climbing and getting dirty with his little buddy. I love this picture. It gives me so much joy sharing my childhood home with Mason. By the way, Walker is the one in the camouflage below.
Mom and Charlotte used to joke that Mason is the “City Boy” and Walker is the “Country Boy.” We do not exactly live in a metropolis, but I think this picture says it all. Can they get any more handsome?
We went home recently to celebrate Miss Summer Lynn’s first birthday. Summer Lynn is Charlotte Nelson’s granddaughter. Summer’s Mom is Cherri, my own Mama’s favorite, and Summer was born a short month or so after Mom’s passing.
The Nelsons are family, and my kids adore Charlotte and Bub and the rest of the large clan. Miss Julia could not wait to see her Uncle Bub. Just look how excited she was! She literally ran to him straight from the car.
Of course, Mason was excited, as well. I love this picture of him and his Aunt Charlotte. He remembers that Aunt Charlotte was his Meme’s best friend and that she looked out for her.
The party was super adorable. Charlotte and her entire family are incredible hosts– fantastic cooks and kind souls. They are the epitome of graciousness. We enjoy every second we get to spend with all of them. Although Charlotte is a baker, they actually had this cake made at the Folkston (Georgia) Skating Rink. I fell in love with it! It was delicious, too.
We are blessed beyond measure to have these women in our lives!
The Yearling by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings is one of mine and my Daddy’s favorite books and movie adaptations, and it is a must-read for any Floridian, especially those of Cracker-descent, like I am.
A few weeks ago, we went home for a day to attend a birthday party, and Mike suggested we ride down to the river so that I could pay respects to Mama. We spread her ashes downriver back in the Fall.
On that day, though, something amazing happened. We had just left the party for Mom’s best friend Charlotte’s granddaughter, Summer Lynn. Summer Lynn’s mom, Cherri, was my mom’s favorite, and Summer Lynn was born just a month after Mom died. Their church, where the party was held, is only a mile or so from the boat ramp.
Standing outside the camp as we drove up was a man feeding a deer. The deer was not a pet, but was standing there calmly eating out of the man’s hand. We were amazed. Julia and I jumped out of the car and ran over, asking if we could feed him, too. He was beautiful!
Mason was a little scared to get out of the car, but he was sad that he did not get to pet the deer. We turned around and, not thinking we would see him again, Mike took him by the hand and headed behind the building in the direction the deer had trotted. Amazingly, the deer turned and saw Mason and came back over to him. Mason has a gentle spirit and is good with animals. Maybe the deer sensed this; either way, he let Mason pet him, even with no food in sight.
I do not get to watch much television, because the kids and Mike control the channels; and I am a huge nerd. When I do have the clicker, I tend to put it PBS, that dreaded network that my Papaw Bandy despised so much that he told me it’s transmission towers had burnt down. I honestly don’t think it was the channel that he disliked so much, only “Sesame Street.” Though my Bomba swore PBS was full of liberal propaganda.
I do love “Downton Abbey” very much! The first season or so it was on, I was captivated and very sad that it was over. We then stumbled upon another period drama that runs immediately after the former’s season, “Call the Midwife.”
“Call the Midwife” is, I believe, the best written show on television. It is set in 1950′s London, in the poverty stricken East End. It is based upon the memoirs of former nurse midwife Jennifer Worth, and depicts her life living with the nuns of so-called Nonnatus House amidst the slums and work houses found near the docks.
When I was looking for something to read over the holidays, I was intrigued by the prospect of reading Worth’s work. Call the Midwife is the first in her trilogy, and is a beautifully written reflection of her experiences. I was intimidated by its pages at first, because sometimes British literature can take a while to get through. However, Worth is a captivating story-teller who is sharp and detailed in her observations, witty, and nostalgic. I found her words captivating and enchanting. She was so young and lovely, yet was able to touch so many lives.
After reading Call the Midwives, I am no longer surprised that the show is so wonderfully written. It is a direct reflection of the stories put forth in the memoirs. The details are all there, enabling the producers to then add brilliant actors, an incredible set and gorgeous costumes.
The truth is, all things medical make me quite squeamish. It is a tribute to Worth that I was able to read this very graphic book without fear. In fact, I enjoyed it and could not put it down. The characters were so vivid, that I found myself worrying about them, wondering what happened to them after Worth’s encounters with then.
Finally, I was moved incredibly by Worth’s spiritual journey. She arrived at Nonnatus House an agnostic, completely out of place with the Nuns with whom she was to live and work. In the end, she came to respect them and depend on their faith and prayers. The final chapter and last words were incredibly powerful to me. Worth describes visiting with an elderly nun whom she has come to love despite her oncoming dementia and naughty ways. Sister Monica Joan gives her powerful and simple advice:
No one can give you your faith. It is a gift from God alone. Seek and ye shall find. Read the Gospels. There is no other way….Go with God, child. Just go with God.
These precious words were the start of Worth’s walk in faith. Accept life. Go with God. Such simplicity moved my soul to tears.
So today, I began reading the Gospel of Mark.
I have known Mr. Eddie and Miss Betty Jean Conner since they ran our Junior Church, Rainbow Mountain, when I was a little girl. I also went to school with their kids and was in Future Farmers of America (FFA) with Amanda and Little Eddie. They are also my cousin-in-law Chris’ family and just precious, God-fearing people.
Although I pass by their farm every time I go home (it is located in between St. George, Georgia, and Hilliard and Callahan, Florida), I am ashamed to say I have never been to Conner’s A-Maize-Ing Acres. However, after reading about their brand new aquaponics system, Mike insisted. Although they were busy preparing for a wedding that evening in their barn, the Conners welcomed us to stop by. My niece Samantha met us there to help show us around.
I was thrilled when Little Eddie came over to guide us, too. He’s been my close buddy since he helped me plant and keep my required garden in FFA. He proudly walked us through the new green house which holds their aquaponics system, including baby tilapia.
Despite the rain and cold, the kids loved running free on the farm, including petting the animals. We got muddy and did not care. It was great fun watching the kids learn where their food actually comes from when it is done naturally and in a healthy way.
After spending the morning exploring, I am super excited to take the kids next fall to play in the corn maize. I hear that Halloween is a perfect time to go. I am also eager for Mike and me to sample a plate of Mr. Eddie’s famous BBQ. Mike did make a point of buying some of his organic smoked sausage as we headed away that morning. By the way, Conner’s A-Maize-Ing Acres serves local restaurants including our favorite on Amelia Island, 29 South.
Conner’s A-Maize-Ing Acres
19856 County Road 121
Hilliard, FL 32046
The farm is located an easy and short distance north of Jacksonville.