Books: Sweet, Thoughtful Valentine

I downloaded an e-book from the local lending library a couple of days ago and read it yesterday evening. Now I want to tell you about it because I thought it was a really neat novella and well worth reading.

The title: Sweet, Thoughtful Valentine
Book #13 in the Isabel Dalhousie series

© 2016 by Alexander McCall Smith
Publisher: Penguin Random House

This is a unique story about ethics.

Isabel Dalhousie, a young wife in Edinburgh, owner and editor of the Review of Applied Ethics meets a friend at an art previewing prior next week’s auction. As they visit and look around at the upcoming sale items, Roz draws Isabel’s attention to one picture. She shares a bit of vital information about its value — and extracts from Isabel the promise that she’ll not tell a soul. Since the auctioneer obviously doesn’t realize the painting’s true worth, Roz plans to get it for a song, resell it, and make a small fortune.

The story’s maybe a bit wordy in places as Isabel muses over the ethics of this and other sticky situations she encounters during the week. She tries to sort out what she should do, if anything, with the help — or dissuasion — of her husband. He calls her his “sweet, thoughtful valentine” and wishes she would stay out of other people’s problems.

The art drama intensifies when she meets another friend by chance one day. Ruth’s in a financial bind, having to sell her home, also her mother’s belongs, to pay for her mother’s stay in a nursing home where she’s getting really good care. Ruth has sent a few of her mother’s paintings to an upcoming art sale. They likely won’t bring much, but…

The awful truth dawns — and Isabel is really in the treacle.

The writer has done a great job of squeezing poor Isabel between a rock and a hard place, between one friend and another, between promise and conscience. Will she practice the ethics she preaches or mind her own business? I found the solution intriguing  and unexpected.

This author has also written the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency Series, the 44 Scotland Street Series and the Portuguese Irregular Verbs Series and others.

As We Grow Older

Not knowing who wrote the poem I posted yesterday, I meant to put “Author Unknown” at the bottom. This morning I’ve corrected that little omission, also searched for the first line to see if Mr Google could help me out again.

I discovered another version — I’m thinking this is probably the original. And a sobering thought for a Sunday morning.

As We Grow Older

A little more tired at the close of the day;
a little less anxious to have our own way;
a little less ready to scold and blame;
a little more care of a brother’s name;
and so we are nearing the journey’s end,
where time and eternity meet and blend.
And so we are faring a-down the way
that leads to the gates of a better way
A little more laughter, a few more tears,
and we shall have told our increasing years.
The book is closed and the prayers are said,
and we are part of the countless dead.
and so we are going where all must go,
to the place the living may never know.
Thrice happy if then some soul can say,
I’m better because he passed my way.

Rollin J Wells

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

ROLLIN J. WELLS, of the Wells & Blackman law firm,
Sioux Falls, SD, was born 1848 in IL; died 1923 in Sioux Falls.

Touching Shoulders With You

Author Unknown

There’s a comforting thought at the close of the day
when I’m weary, lonely and sad
that sort of grips my crusty old heart
and bids it be merry and glad.
It gets in my soul and drives out the blues
and finally thrills me through and through;
it’s just a sweet memory that chants the refrain
“I’m glad I touched shoulders with you.”

Did you know you were brave, did you know you were strong?
Did you know there was one leaning hard?
Did you know I waited and listened and prayed
and was cheered by your simplest word?
Did you know I longed for the smile on your face
and the sound of your voice singing true?
Did you know I grew stronger and better because
I had merely touched shoulders with you

I am glad that I live, that I battle and strive
for I place I know I must fill.
I’m thankful for sorrows I’ll meet with a grin;
fortune may send me good or ill.
I may not have wealth, I may not be great
but I know I shall always be true,
for I have in my life that courage you gave
when I once touched shoulders with you.

My Friend

My friend, blessing rare,
jewel of my memories,
depth of wisdom probed

Monday morning and the laundry is a-washing. I’ve been sorting through some older posts on another blog and found this haiku. Hope you enjoy it.

I’m thankful for precious friends like this. Friends with insight and heart. Friends with whom I can share any thoughts or regrets and know they won’t rebuke me for my errors or ridicule me for my ideas. I hope you have a friend like this, too. 🙂

He Shared With Me His Sunshine

In the course of working with my manuscript of Silver Morning Song, wanting to issue a print edition of the book, I came across this poem I wrote long ago and completely forgot about.  Have you ever had that happen? Anyway, I hope you’ll enjoy it.

He Shared With Me His Sunshine

by C. Goodnough

One dreary, rainy morning
the rain was drizzling down
I chanced to pass a gentleman
while walking through the town.

He must have seen me frowning,
and thought me quite unwise.
He offered me a cheerful word
with sunshine in his eyes:

“Thank God for rainy weather,”
“it makes the flowers grow,
it brightens up the greenery–
and better rain than snow.”

“You’re right,” said I, “and thanks, sir.
You’ve brightened up my day.”
He passed to me his cheerful grin
as he went on his way.

 

 

 

Hugged By A Stranger

Have you ever been hugged by a complete stranger? Someone you’ve never laid eyes on before?

Well, I did barely lay eyes on his person as he hoisted himself from behind the steering wheel of his car and stood to his feet, and sort of laid eyes on him as he passed by the window in front of me. I didn’t know him from Adam – but he wasn’t an Eve, that much I could see.

Really my eyes weren’t focussed on him at all, but were fixed on something dark that had fallen to the ground as he stood up. Something that looked suspiciously like…

Oh, dear. I’m getting ahead of myself. Let me start again.

I was sitting at a table in a small corner of a bookstore, this corner they have set up as a coffee bar. I’d finished my coffee and was idly gazing out the window beside me when I saw this grey car drive up and park facing the store right in front of where I sat.

As I said, I saw this man get out of this car and stride purposefully toward the store next door. I saw something dark hit the icy asphalt when he stood up, so I jumped up and went out to see, because I thought it may be something quite important – like a wallet.

It was a wallet. I stuffed it into my pocket and hurried into the Dollar Store next door, looking for someone about his size, brownish jacket. I scanned the aisles and saw a good match but I wasn’t certain, so I approached him and asked, “Do you drive a grey car? Did you just park next door?”

“Yes,” he replied, looking puzzled.

“Did you lose something?”

He gave me a blank look, then slapped his back pockets. “My wallet!”

I pulled it out of my pocket and handed it to him. He moaned once and thanked me for it, then, in front of everyone in the store, he threw his arm around me and gave me a hug. Me, a complete stranger, someone he’d never laid eyes on before.

Can you imagine?!  😉

First published Aug 18, 2013