How and Why

by Edgar Guest

Still as children asking why
adults gaze upon the sky.
Still as children, grownups seek
reason for the comet's streak.

Still to sages, baffling are
sun and planet, moon and star.
On a garden's tiny space
miracles are taking place.

And as children, age explores
God's bewildering out-of-doors.
Questioning, till the day they die,
Life's great mystery -- how and why?
The mysterious Northern Lights have inspired many legends.

Free Book

On Sunday fellow writer Dan Walsh notified his followers that Amazon is offering the first book in his latest series free until tomorrow. Having read the second book in this series and found it very good, I decided to claim this first one.

If These Walls Could Talk (Joe Boyd Suspense Series Book 1) by [Dan Walsh]
Sergeant Joe Boyd —If you’ve read the Jack Turner mystery series, you met him there — is a detective in the small city of Culpepper, a town in the deep South. And he’s just been promoted to Lieutenant and given the responsibility to head Culpepper’s Cold Case Squad. He’s down in the basement rummaging through old files…

Meanwhile his friend Jack Turner is doing some renovations — removing a couple of walls — from a lakeside cabin house he and his wife Rachel are buying. They come across some scratching on a couple of  the studs, and soon realize these are letters. And the letters spell HELP ME. More tearing out of wallboard reveals more letters and they piece together: I’M CHAINED UP… VERY DARK…

Jack calls Joe, who brings Sergeant Hank along to check this out. A look at the writing and they decide this best be investigated.

Next readers are taken back to June 1964, to a former plantation near Culpepper, where Mason, the youngest son of a prominent, proudly white family, is trying to cope with the attitudes of his people for generations. In a flashback to Civil War hostilities, we see this up-to-date version of “brother fighting brother; father fighting son.” Mason is a believer in civil rights for all; his father and older brother are Klan sympathizers.

I find this book almost too scary because the emotions are so real, the hatred so alive — and this takes place in an era I remember! Not some fictitious world I’ve never seen. I’ve read about all those civil rights marches and protests, about the violence directed against protesters. We see Mason caught up in all of this, prepared to join the march for civil rights, but hoping his family will never find out.

Back to the present, where Joe, Jack and Rachel are piecing together letters and puzzling over this message. Joe is investigating when these studs were placed in the wall, and by who. And who scratched the message on them. Did he escape, or will this be one of the cold cases investigated?

I’ve only gotten part way, so I can’t tell you whodunit, or to whom, but it’s hard to put the book down. If you’re interested, pick up your free copy from Amazon.

Jane Taylor’s Verse

The Ragtag Daily Prompt this morning is TWINKLE.
I know this isn’t original, but my thoughts automatically went to the little song, so I’m going to post it. I had no idea there were so many verses!
Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star was written by Jane Taylor, an English poet and novelist (1783 – 1824). She lived to be only 40 years old and probably never dreamed, as she penned the poem, that the first verse would echo through the centuries in children’s choruses all over the world.
Flourish.plainer
Stars.night.David MarkTwinkle, twinkle, little star,
How I wonder what you are!
Up above the world so high,
Like a diamond in the sky.
When the blazing sun is gone,
When he nothing shines upon,
Then you show your little light,
Twinkle, twinkle, all the night.
Then the traveler in the dark
Thanks you for your tiny spark,
How could he see where to go,
If you did not twinkle so?
In the dark blue sky you keep,
Often through my curtains peep
For you never shut your eye,
Till the sun is in the sky.
As your bright and tiny spark
Lights the traveler in the dark,
Though I know not what you are,
Twinkle, twinkle, little star.

Take My Hand, Precious Lord

This morning’s Ragtag Daily Prompt was HOLD MY HAND, a line that brings to mine one of my favorite—and one of the most beautiful—Gospel songs:

Take My Hand, Precious Lord, Lead Me Home

When my way grows drear, precious Lord linger near
When my life is almost gone
Hear my cry, hear my call
Hold my hand lest I fall
Take my hand precious Lord, lead me Home

Chorus:
Precious Lord, take my hand
Lead me on, let me stand
I am tired, I am weak, I am worn
Through the storm, through the night
Lead me on to the light
Take my hand precious Lord, lead me Home

When the shadows appear and the night draws near
And the day is past and gone
At the river I stand,
Guide my feet, hold my hand
Take my hand precious Lord, lead me Home

Chorus…

CLICK HERE if you wish to hear this song

The writer of this beautiful hymn was Thomas Andrew Dorsey, in Georgia in 1899 and died Jan. 1993. From 1932 Dorsey was choral director of the Pilgrim Baptist Church in Chicago. He founded the National Convention of Gospel Choirs and Choruses in Chicago in 1933, serving as its president for 40 years.

There’s a very touching story behind this song. He and his wife were married seven years and she was expecting their first child. He was called to sing in Gospel meetings in St Louis, MO, and she encouraged him to go. During one meeting he was handed a telegram that she had gone into labor and died in childbirth. Their son lived only a few hours. Visiting with a friend a few days later, seeking consolation for his deep grief, he sat down at a piano and composed this song.

Books: DOGTRIPPING

Good morning everyone. The Ragtag Daily Prompt this morning CALM — which is the weather we’re having this morning. The calm before the snow we’re supposed to get this afternoon.

The Word of the Day prompt is QUEST — which is what I’ve been on.

You see, I’d just written a book review on Amazon and was ready to do the concluding sentence and an edit, but wondered if the author’s name ended with a T or a D. Well, somehow in my “quick-click-to-check” quest, I lost my multi-paragraph review, crafted so painstakingly, etc. 😦

ARRGH! Not so calmly, I searched through my browsing HISTORY, but my words had truly disappeared. So now that I’ve just spent an hour reviewing a book on Amazon, I’m going to post that, adding a few details, in lieu of writing anything else. I hope you all like dogs, as this couple had over thirty in their home at various times.

DOGTRIPPING by David Rosenfelt (with a T) is a long and winding account, but interesting overall.

As an animal lover, I enjoyed reading about this couple’s efforts to save dogs. Different times the writer touches on the sad fact that there are so many more dogs waiting for homes than people to adopt them; so many of these are finally put down. The same couple be said of cats. The Rosenfelts were especially interested in golden retrievers, but took in dogs of mixed breeds as well, usually animals in need of special care, and gave them a happy ending.

Though the book is about the move to Maine, the writer spends a lot of time on the buildup, hopping back and forth between arranging their move and describing the dogs they’ve rescue, their home setup, the people and rescue groups he’s met along the way, the special folks volunteering to make the trip with them. It gets long but I found it all interesting, though not exactly “intriguing” or “compelling.”

I commend him for the way he appreciates and praises his wife, Debbie, who can’t resist bringing home yet another unwanted dog — or two or three — if she ever visits a shelter. For the most part his self-depreciating humor and metaphors are amusing but I feel his wise-cracks about his helplessness on the journey are overdone; it sounds like everyone else worked and he staggered along behind — likely not true.

I’m glad the actual move came off so smoothly, without the disasters he was anticipating. I wish them and their pets an long and happy life in their new home, but their move to ME will bring tears to animal shelter workers in CA. Shelter workers in that area undoubtedly had the Rosenfelts’ phone number on their speed dials. 😉