When I was growing up in northeastern Kentucky, I was fortunate enough to know my grandfather, who lived deep in the heart of Appalachia. He lived only until I was 23 years of age, but I was lucky enough to be old enough to have talked to him. Really talked to him. Conversations that, to me, were important. He was a fine man. Moral, ethical, smart. I’d like to write about him and men like him some day.
There were so many things that I never had the chance or knowledge to talk to him about. My mother, his daughter, told me stories about him. Not enough stories. I wish I knew more. One story that she told me was that my grandfather was determined that she and her seven siblings would never be involved in two endeavors that were prominent in those days in southeastern Kentucky. They would never work in the coal mines and they would never be engaged in the production of “mountain dew.”
Mountain Dew. Not the soft drink. Mountain dew is the slang term for homemade liquor or moonshine, corn liquor, hooch, and a dozen other names. Southeastern Kentucky was “dry.” In other words, liquor could not be sold legally. People made their own and made it for other people. There were stills to make the liquor hidden all over the mountains that were characteristic of the area. Moonshine is 100 percent alcohol and is still made in those mountains.
My grandfather was successful. All of his children left the area, at least long enough to get a college education. My grandfather, himself, got what passed for a college education in his day and was an advocate of higher education for his entire life.
It’s an easy #weeklysmile this week, my friends! I’m writing my first novel. Writing a debut novel is rather like having a baby, I think. It’s wonderful and painful all at the same time. I had a lot written, but then I consulted with a good friend and former colleague, who is also a writer. He did not like the style. It’s a psychological thriller and he had an excellent suggestion for a change in style. So, what did I do? I started over! That was painful, but necessary, because I completely agreed with him.
That was weeks ago. This past week, I finished the first part of my novel and gave it to my friend for editing and his comments on style. He liked it very much and did some editing. I asked another friend to read it as well. She also approved of the style. So I am very gratified and it’s on to Part 2 of the novel and I am already well into it.
This is a big #weeklysmile for me!
I was lucky enough to witness an event that gave me a huge #weeklysmile this week! I live in a cabin in the Daniel Boone National Forest, moving here almost 19 years ago now after some trauma in my life forced me to seek peace and tranquility. I didn’t take me long to realize my house was built right in the path that white-tail deer used in this particular part of the forest. We have a huge herd of deer in my state and they have a terrible time finding enough food. I started to feed them. That was in the winter.
By the time the winter was over, I had a herd of deer at the feeding trough. By the time July came, I had a wonderful surprise and that surprise has fascinated me year after year since. It’s my #weeklysmile this week. The does brought their fawns to my feeding trough to teach them to eat.
The fawns are no bigger than large dogs and have their spots. Many does have twin fawns, with the male being slightly larger than the female. It would make anyone smile to watch them try to eat cracked corn out of the feeding trough, corn flying from either side of their mouths while they struggle with it. These beautiful, special babies are true miracles of nature.
Some weeks it’s easy to find something to smile about and this is one of those weeks. I’m smiling about my awesome friends! You know who you are! Not so long ago, I wrote a post on friendship, although I talked mostly about the different types of friends most of us have. This week, I’m talking about my closest friends and other friends who step up to the plate and befriend you when you least expect it – and all of you know who you are!
For a couple of reasons, I’ve had to call on these friends this week and, of course, they have come through for me. I feel very lucky to have these extraordinary people in my life. I hope each and every one of them know it.
There is a point I want to address that I didn’t address in my previous post on friendship. I will only mention it here and may use the topic as material for a later post. Men and women, dear readers, can indeed be friends. Friends and nothing more. Possibly because of my career choice in the past, I have always tended to have more male friends than female friends. Both are very special to me. One of my male friends has been my friend, and a close friend, for more than 35 years. I suppose we’re a little like siblings. There are many people in the world that dispute the fact that men and women can be “only” friends. They would be wrong.
So that big smile you see on my face? That smile is because I have awesome friends. Male and female.
Trent’s World, one of the blog’s I follow, runs a weekly challenge called the #weeklysmile which is……well…….just what it says! The participants talk about the moments during the week that make them smile. I could use a dose of that so here goes my first contribution. Here is my first #weeklysmile:
Her name is Hanna (pronounced Hannah) and she is four months old! She is definitely worth the #weeklysmile as she is one of the funniest dogs I’ve ever owned! Since I recently lost my dog, Hanna has been a dose of good cheer. She is a mixed breed but not very mixed. She is half Havanese and half Lowchen. She walks around on her back legs, seems miraculously housetrained, and is already living freely in the house. Hanna is smart! She can’t yet climb steps, which seems to be her only deficiency. She seems able to come down them, but she mostly falls down them.
Hanna is terrified of crates and I’ve always crate-trained my dogs, so I have no idea where she is going to sleep tonight. I fear it is in my bed and I only hope she really is housetrained. She is twelve pounds, will grow to about eighteen pounds, and I fear she is planning world domination.
I hope all of you have great weekly smiles as well.