Winter Wrap

When the weather turns cold it’s natural to reach for a wrap.

Depending on things such as the location, century, and your sex, you may reach for a shawl, a cape, a cloak, a jacket, or a coat. Living in the American Midwest I’ve reached for three or more in the same week.

Then there are special sort of wraps — like the one below.

Contrary to first guess — this is not a crime scene.

It’s merely the staff protecting a marble figure from our winter (and early spring) weather. I like to turn my imagination loose and create my own face and dress on this work of art.


My Library Shelf – L

An heirloom book. One of four in the family library which came from another family member’s library when I was a tiny child.

In the very front, in faint pencil, is what may have been the price. Or it could have been a notation for something else made by this great-uncle I remember stories about. Does 36 mean the book cost $3.60? Or did it cost the number below? $1.10.

Les Miserables by Victor Hugo

As hinted above, this book was always in the house. Casual reference would be made by one parent or the other over the years. So when I was a teen, I decided to read it for myself.

It is not a light story. Our volume runs to 1200 pages of close print. Much of it I read at night — when I should have been sleeping. Instead I was buried in the world of pursuit withing the Paris sewers. (Other places too. But it’s the sewers that immediately come to mind.)

It is also a classic story. Movies have been made. The musical version has won acclaim. But my mind keeps going back to little scenes – stealing from the priest who saves him. The entry into the convent. The Paris sewers — it always comes back to that.

To the barricades!

Quick. Hide in the sewer.



All in a Row

Reflective material can be a life saver. I recommend it for any walker or bike rider out after dark.

It can also make for a spooky photo.

This is not a line of aliens waiting to attack.

No, these lockers contain a much kinder, occupational necessity.

This is the turn out gear – ready for the next emergency — spotted during a recent fire house tour.

The men assigned to this gear are: human, intelligent, well-trained, polite, and patient. They were generous with their time while a group of female authors plied them with questions about the equipment, procedures, frequent complaints, and fire station life.

Thank you. Whether you are extinguishing a fire, completing a medical call, or any of the other dozens of things which prompt a citizen to call 911.


My Library Shelf – K

Once again we turn to fiction. This time with a volume which gained quick acclaim and also became a movie.

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

The timing was perfect. The topics were timely. Prior to this book, you didn’t see many fiction (or popular non-fiction) books with Afghanistan at their center. The country was ignored. Or showed as a minor character in sagas centered in India and Pakistan.

This glimpse into another culture was interesting — and a bit of a cautionary tale. And while some turns in the plot took me by surprise, others fit with pre-conceived notions.

Am I glad I read it? Absolutely.

Will I be seeking out the movie? Doubtful. I’m going to let my imagination draw the characters.

Available where books are sold. Also check at your local library.


Starting Small

According to the calendar — spring begins next week. Reminder: we had snow on Sunday.

Mother Nature appears to be up to her usual March dance: a little rain, a cold wind, sunshine, and a touch of snow — all smashed together within a day or two.

These days also contain a few constants. And hints of hope.

Early spring bulbs push up into the air. Even their blossoms tough out the wind and clumps of wet snow. And the trees are waking up from winter rest.

A few days ago I went to visit the neighborhood apple tree. (If there are others, I don’t know their location.) And on a gray morning this is what I found.

Buds are becoming prominent saying:

The blossoms are coming. The leaves are coming. Be patient for fruit.



My Library Shelf — J

Now that we’ve wandered around in the fiction section — let’s make a change.

John Adams by David McCullough

This biography of a United States founding father is the second Pulitzer Prize winner for this respected author.

John Adams – lawyer, farmer, patriot, and president — is revealed in narration and portions of his words. He and his wife had a lively exchange of letters. Plus when he was either in the Continental Congress or on missions to Europe he had official correspondence.

So when you’re looking for some American history, well-written, and able to hold your attention — browse your bookstore or library for this volume.


Culture in Stone

Every city should have at least one pair.

Lions are popular. New York City has them guard the library. Chicago positioned them at sentries at the Art Museum.

St. Louis put a different twist on the tradition. They went with bears. At the Opera House.

This photo was taken on a February Saturday. The downtown area was quiet. Just a few tourists heading for attractions a few blocks away. But they can be fun-loving bears. More than once, exuberant sports fans (possible under the influence) have asked the accommodating stone guardians to “hold my beer”, “on your nose”.




My Library Shelf — I

It looks like an easy chore. Find a book in my home whose title begins with “I”.

Actually, it took a little doing, but I think I found a winner.

In Harm’s Way by Irene Hannon

This book was my introduction to this current, Midwest, inspiration author. In her suspense novels (of which I’ve now read several) the characters are believable Christians living in the current world. Their challenges are true to their occupation, with a dash of drama.

When looking for a romantic suspense suitable for ages 14 to 104, I’d recommend Ms. Hannon.

Available on-line, bookstores, and many libraries.


Founding Father

He signed neither the Declaration of Independence or the US Constitution.  It is very likely he never lived within the authority of the United States of America.

So why the title? He, and his young step-son, selected the site and founded what was to become one of the larger cities in the American Midwest. St. Louis on the western bank of the Mississippi River.

Trade. Business. Fortune. These were the forces which drove a lot of exploration in North America. So traveling the great river north to establish a fur trading post would have been a natural thing.

They chose the site for the trading post, village, city well. Moving south from the marshy, low lying land of the confluence of the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers, they established it on a bluff, with access to the best transportation system available without the hazard of frequent floods.

Pierre Laclede stands tall and proud beside the city hall in downtown St. Louis.