Life Begins and Life Ends

Ann H Gabhart Ann's Posts, One Writer's Journal

Hi, everybody. Hope you are having as beautiful a Sunday as we are here. The weather is extra nice for the middle of August although the grass is beginning to turn brown in spots because of lack of rain. Are we ever satisfied with the weather? In the winter, it’s too cold. In the summer it’s too hot. In the spring, it’s too rainy. In the fall, it’s not rainy enough. Still I love the seasons of the year even though there are times I’d like to hold onto the pretty days of spring a bit longer or delay the beginning of winter a few weeks.

I came home on Thursday night from babysitting the older girls while the twins were being born. The babies are so cute and seemed very content. I never really heard either one of them cry. It didn’t even bother them coming home to three very excited big sisters and a small poodle dog, not to mention grandma and grandpa wanting to get a look at them and hold them for a few minutes. Not the poodle. He just wanted to be in the mix. They took it all in stride without a whimper. I’m going to try to post a picture of them on my website in the next week or so. I’ll let you know when. Mother’s doing fine and father’s doing the best he can to cover all the bases until she’s back to full throttle. Thank goodness their school where they attend won’t start for a couple of weeks to give everybody a little time to adjust to having two new family members.

I came from a happening of great joy to one of sadness as my last maternal aunt passed away suddenly last week. She had a stroke on Tuesday and died on Wednesday morning. My mom had three sisters. The oldest and youngest sister had already passed on and now Margaret who was three years younger than Mom. I loved hearing them talk about growing up in the thirties during the Depression. They said they never felt poor. They didn’t have any money, but they always had food on the table and loving parents. They had a big garden and their father had beehives. They enjoyed playing ball and hide and seek with all the other kids in the neighborhood so never lacked entertainment. And they loved to laugh. When all four of them got together, there was always laughter. What a great way to be remembered! As laughing because life is good.

Not that everything was always easy for them. Margaret married before she got out of school and right before WW II started. Her husband had to go to service. She lost her first baby, and then boarded a train at the tender age of nineteen to ride all the way to California to spend a couple of weeks with her husband before he was sent overseas. She had never been away from home, had never been on a train. But that’s the way my mom and her sisters were. Ready for any challenge. Sometimes though the hardest challenges await us when we get older. Mom is facing a lot of those challenges now. One of those is being the last sister in her family still living. They didn’t have any brothers. But as always, she’s hanging in there, taking it one day at a time.

We’ll miss Margaret. She was the sister who didn’t mince words. Last time we went to lunch a few weeks ago, they had both been to get perms. I had a major hairstyle change a week or so before that. Cut it all off. I haven’t had my hair this short since I was in fifth grade. Anyway when they were talking about their hair, I asked Margaret how she liked mine. She looked at me and told it like she saw it. “I think you need to fix it.” I haven’t figured out how to do that yet. Actually most people say they think my new style is good, but not everyone. My five-year-old granddaughter who I was babysitting last week looked at me and said she didn’t like my hair. But then she tried to make me feel better by saying, “Don’t worry, grandma. It’ll grow back.” I didn’t have the heart to tell her I wasn’t planning to let that happen for a while. Oh well, maybe she’ll get used to her grandma’s new look.

Now that the babies are here, it’s back to work for me, although I may go back to help out a few days here and there. I am anxious to get back to my book. And I have some special events coming up. My book launch at the local library here in Lawrenceburg is only three weeks away. I plan to talk about “Writing about Shakers .. and other odd characters.” That’s going to be my topic at the Book Festival in West Virginia in October. So this will be a good warmup speech to see how it goes. The Lawrenceburg event will be very casual with lots of discussion with those who come. It should be fun. Then Ginny Smith and I will be doing a signing at Joseph-Beth’s in Lexinton on October 16. That’s a Thursday evening. We’ll be talking as well as signing. If you know Ginny and/or me, you know that’s a given. Ginny has a new Love Inspired book out and she’ll also have several of her other books there too. Ginny is so prolific that she has books out with three different publishing companies, all at the same time.

Me, I’m just trying to hang in there with one publishing company and meet my deadline on this new book. As I said last week, I lack one scene being to the end. Then I have to go back and read it to see if I’ve got a story that will work. I’m hoping that the hero and heroine will be people readers (and I) can care about. I’m hoping the story will be tied together well and will be exciting, but I really won’t know until I read it. My editor compared writing a book to giving birth. And it is sort of that way. You carry it around in your head and then you push it out word by word until finally the whole book is outside your head on paper. Then you have to look to be sure all the toes and fingers are there. On babies, the toes and fingers are always precious no matter how they look. Not always the same with books. Sometimes there are too many toes or fingers or they may need a little reshaping to make them look right. That’s what I’m getting ready to do, the editing and reshaping and making better. At least that’s the hope and intent when I rewrite.

I’m going to start a new give-away next month, so be sure to check my website and/or here. I’m considering a full set of my Hollyhill books. I’ve been hearing from some readers of The Outsider who have never read any of my other books, so thought it might be fun to introduce them to Hollyhill. And for those of you who have read the Hollyhill books, they would make a great gift to someone this Christmas or whenever.

And last, but not least, thanks to the Book Club in Wooster, Ohio for reading my book Orchard of Hope. I enjoyed talked to you by phone. Any of the rest of you in bookclubs, I would be glad to come to your bookclub if you are in the area and if not, I’d love to talk to you by phone if you decide to read one of my books. The Outsider has already been chosed by some clubs.

Have a great week. See you Wednesday.