Category Archives: random thoughts

My Grandfather, a Small Tribute to Mark the Anniversary of his Death


Henry A. Richardson

January 3, 1897-December 21, 1968

My grandfather, my mother’s father, was a kind, gentle soul. He was a soldier in WWI and worked after the war helping build the Wilson Dam in Florence, Alabama as well as other projects that needed manual labor during that time period. He also did work for the WPA (Works progress Administration) during the depression. He was also a tenant farmer who worked the cotton fields. He was eventually the father of ten children. My mother was number 8. All the children worked those fields to help support the family. It was a rough life, but they were full of joy. The children all remained close as adults. We had a slew of cousins to play with for sure. The house was always filled with laughter. Loud, fun, crazy family members.

By the time I knew my grandfather, he was in his sixties. He was a quiet man who didn’t say much. They lived in an old house with no indoor plumbing. There was a well for water and four buckets sat at the back door at the kitchen. Three were for cooking and the fourth had a beat up old ladle we all drank from. It was the iciest, coldest, water ever. My grandmother had a red pump to pump water into the sink. She also had one of those clothes washers that basically ran around the room. It was fun to watch that thing. She hung all clothes to dry and sheets as well.

We didn’t spend the night with them often—we usually stayed with my dad’s parents who had a bigger house in town—but when we did, we either had to use a chamber pot or run to the outhouse past the chicken coop which was a fair distance. I think that may be where I got part of my active imagination as I ran through the night in my jammies past those chickens. I imagined all kinds of demons on my tail. And man, if you’ve never smelled the inside of an outhouse, count yourself lucky. You’ll never forget it. It is a visceral memory to me to this day.

Anyway, back to my grandfather. The year I was going to turn 8, we lived in Virginia. We traveled down for Christmas—a14 hour drive—and arrived at my dad’s parent’s house around 7 pm on the 21st of December.  My sister and I went to our room to put our suitcases down. My mother started screaming and crying so loudly, we were terrified.

We raced out to the den and found my mother hysterical.  My grandfather had to break the news to her that her father died in his sleep and her mother found him when she tried to wake him for breakfast.  He died 13 days before his 72nd birthday.

It was a terrible Christmas that year. I still remember my mother unwrapping the shirt we’d bought for him so she could take it back to the store. She helped my grandmother take back a lot of things that year. It was heartbreaking even for a little kid to see. I can’t listen to that song where the grandmother gets run over by a reindeer. Having lived a Christmas like I did that year, I can’t deal with that song.

There is a picture of me (wish I could find it as I write this) on my birthday that year sitting on the couch holding my new doll. It is a pitiful picture as I look so sad and alone.

He never said much—unless you thought you could turn the television channel because he was asleep.   He’d mumble, “I was watching that.” He didn’t get mad, but we never changed it when he said that. He always had a spittoon by his side and always wore a fedora. He also cooled his coffee by pouring it into his saucer once he’d added his cream and sugar. It made me laugh.

I could say a lot more about him and his life, but I’ll save some stories for another day. Suffice it to say, I miss him even after all this time, and for some reason, I’ve felt him close to me this year. I sense him, watching out for me, as I make my way through this tough year.

Open Letter to Unnamed Author


Dear Unnamed Author:

This letter is to respond to your completely unnecessary attack on me and my character. I am determined to ignore your venom but first, I must get this off my chest.

You asked me three times in separate communications to swap reviews of each other’s books. I normally don’t agree to do this but you were persistent and so I decided to go forward against my better judgment.

To tell the truth, your book turned me off completely. Even the blurb was almost impossible for me to get through. It was full of rage, abusive words and was utterly racist. But, I had agreed to read it, so read it I did.

When I finished, I was appalled and wondered even how a publisher would accept such vitriol. It took me a while to figure out how to write a review that I could post since I really hated the book. But, I had agreed to do it so I slanted the review to the best spin on the book I could. I wasn’t happy about putting it up, but I did. I immediately received an email from you to please put it up in another place. Which I did.

Months passed. I would check periodically to see if you had reciprocated on the review deal but you never did. The more I thought about what I posted as my review of your book, the more I regretted it. I get a lot of correspondence that people rely on my reviews when deciding to purchase and, the more time that went by, the more I knew I needed to remove that review. I wasn’t being true to myself.

You actually made it easy for me to remove it since you hadn’t lived up to your part of the bargain. Almost the minute I removed them, I suddenly heard from you- and you were almost done with my book and would post the review as soon as I put mine back up. Really? You think I am that naïve? You were merely wanting that review back and would say anything to get it.

Two more months pass and last night, I get an email from you. It was couched as, “put back up the review you did for me and I will give you a favorable review.” Not that you liked my book but that tit for tat, if I went back and reposted, I could get the benefit of the bargain I made four months ago.

When I declined- in the nicest possible way- without making any confrontational remarks, you came back immediately on the attack and accused me of being dishonorable and not living up to what I agreed to. Your angry words were cruel and unkind. Perhaps I should have expected such since your book was the same.

If you think about how things really went down, you’d see that I did exactly what I said I would. I honored my word. When you didn’t reciprocate, I removed the review that was actually eating at my conscience. So, ultimately, I followed my own heart and showed that I do have integrity by pulling the review.

This is one of the reasons I don’t agree to swap reviews. Your behavior was abominable and uncalled for. I am sticking to my guns from now on. I will never again agree to swap reviews with someone. I will review the books I choose.

Thank you for reminding me just how nasty some people can be. It’s a lesson I sometimes forget as I try to think the best of people until I am proven wrong. You definitely proved me wrong in this situation.



** Edited to add**- I see you’ve now had your friend post a 3 star review of my book. Let’s talk about the definition of dishonorable. AND since you gave her my ARC without my permisson, that’s more loss of integrity by you, isn’t it?

Happy October- A Favorite Song From the Past.- Haunted House


I remember my mamma singing this when I was a kid. It’s called Haunted House and is the story of a man who moves in and finds his house has some other residents. I love the story in this song. Check it out on Youtube. AND watch out for haints!

This guy was a one hit wonder – I sure wish he’d done some more songs. He was buds with Elvis and Johnny Cash but never hit it big like they did. HIs name is Gene Simmons but he’s not the one from KISS.

Happy October!

Drunk Bee in Paree!


I’ve recently returned from Paris and one day as I was eating my jambon and fromage omelette with fries (that’s ham and cheese for you English speakers) and sipping a beer for medicinal purposes, this little bee decided to keep me company. If you’ve ever walked on cobblestone streets for days you’ll know what I mean when I say you need a beer for medicinal purposes. It numbs your poor ole feet pretty well. Keep that in mind if  you travel to Europe. It works.

Anyway, this bee was really jonesing for some of my beer so when there was a smidge left, I let him in the glass. He had a grand time sucking up the suds. In fact, he couldn’t seem to stop and he needed some assistance in getting himself out of the glass. Of course, once he was out, he lolled around on my plate in a stupor. Do you think he was drinking for medicinal purposes, too? Were his little feet aching like my big ones? I think I found a soul- or is that sole- mate? 2014-08-20 13.55.10 2014-08-20 13.59.39 2014-08-20 13.57.45