Pay Attention!

April has been designated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) as “Distracted Driving Month.” It seems to me that it should have been named “Non-distracted Driving Month” but be that as it may, we need to be reminded to pay undivided attention to our driving.

The NHTSA states that at least eight people die each day from distracted driving. That is in addition to the 1,000 who are injured daily. Cell phones are the first culprit that comes to mind. We love our phones and it is hard to not use them when driving, but whether hands-free or not, using them is dangerous. Auto manufacturers have not helped because they keep coming up with more technology to use while in the car.

Technology is not the only danger. Other areas named by the American Auto Association (AAA) as distractions from driving, include loose gear, GPS, eating, children and pets.

Stay alert! Stay alive!

Photos and Graphics by Pixabay

“Dead Wake”by Erik Larsen

A Book Review by Dianne Bynum

“Dead Wake The Last Crossing of the Lusitania”

Erik Larsen has become one of my favorite writers of historical novels. I really enjoyed, and learned a lot, from “The Devil in the White City.” Both novels are about events I knew very little about. I knew that the sinking of the Lusitania was a reason for the US to enter WWI but I didn’t know much else. Larsen personalizes this tragedy by introducing us to the passengers of the Lusitania during the voyage. The reader can’t help but wonder who survives and who doesn’t. It was also interesting learning about our president and his personal challenges during the days leading up to the First World War. I would recommend this novel to history buffs and to those that love a good story. 

Adolescent Eagles

If you have not looked in on the Florida eagles lately, you should do so before they fly away. Although only about 2 1/2 months old they are testing their big wings. E17 and E18 won’t reside in the nest much longer. They are fledging further each day. https://swfleaglecam.com/?fbclid=IwAR36G6NPVtbd8mT_aIDtSGwzcHc7wlPf-CK6pupVCHa86zUFoAjlJBgtl5I

If you don’t know their interesting first days you can catch up here: https://crookedcreek.live/2021/02/06/eagles/

E17 & E18 at the rehabilitation center 2/6/21

“White Fragility”by Robin DiAngelo

Robin DiAngelo is an antiracist educator with years of experience. Her book, “White Fragility,” is thought-provoking on many levels but her main thesis is that all white people are racist. That is an explosive statement but throughout her writing, she gives examples of how the white race has maintained a culture of supporting racism as a structure of the social order.

Michael Eric Dyson, who wrote the book’s forward, states that it is a “ vital, necessary, and beautiful book.” DiAngelo not only points out how we, as whites, get things so wrong, but why and what we can do to overcome our fragility.

I highly recommend this New York Times bestseller.

GUNS

Do you know how many people died in US wars since the Revolutionary War? It is around 1.4 million. That is fewer than Americans killed by guns in the last 45 years. Including accidents, murders, and suicides more than 1.5 million lives have been lost to guns since 1975. 

A gun is not inherently bad. They become bad when used improperly or in emotional settings. Guns for hunting are generally safe in the hands of experienced users and when locked up away from children when not in use. The same is true of handguns used for target practice. Automatic rifles like those used by mass murderers belong only in the hands of the military. 

I’m not a gun expert, but I know guns kill about 80 children under four years of age annually and that is more than police officers killed in the line of duty. Those statistics don’t require an expert.

The United States has to do better. We have more guns (~400 million) than people (330 million). It is not about CONTROL. It is about the SAFETY of innocent people. 

Citizens need to rise up and speak up. Call your state and federal legislators, protest, be a voice for gun safety today!

“The Longest Ride”

“The Longest Ride” by Nicholas Sparks is sweet, tear-jerking, and readily forgotten. If you have read even one book by this author you know what you are in for. For this reason, I can only blame myself for recently listening to the audible version of “The Longest Ride.” I have a trove of books on my Kindle that I have not listened to and so I’m going through them now in no particular order. 

This Sparks book is about a sorority senior named Sophia and her new boyfriend, a rodeo bull rider named Luke. It is also about Ira who is ninety-one years old and his wife Ruth who has been dead for nine years. The book goes on and on with a sweet tale about each separate couple and you know they will somehow become connected in the end. They do, in a slightly unexpected way and the young couple lives happily ever after. 

If this is your genre you will love it. I think you can tell that it isn’t mine, but then I’ve been told I read a lot of “dark” material. 

Home

this place i call home 

it’s a long day and a drive home

into the setting sun and dusk

as i pull up in front of my house,

stand at the curb,

and look at this place 

i call home…

a soft glow emanates 

from the porch light,

revealing an old rocker

and the plain grapevine wreath

that hangs on the wall behind it

i realize this simple facade

is a postage stamp 

on the letter of my life…

a statement of who i am

and where i live…

my shelter and my refuge…

where i rest and lay my head…

and it’s all i need…

this place i call home…

by Sylvia L. Mattingly, March 25, 2021

Photo by Sylvia L. Mattingly

“White Rage”

From the Civil War to today, “White Rage” by Carol Anderson Ph.D. defines the powerful forces opposed to black progress in the United States. Anderson wrote an op-ed in The Washington Post in response to talk of black rage. She proposed that the problem was instead white rage that brought about the unrest in this country at that time, 2014. Her book, “White Rage” followed. 

Our cursory study of the Civil War and the Thirteenth Amendment would have us believe the struggles of African Americans ended in 1865. The author details how Blacks were met at every crossroads to be turned back by powerful Whites. 

Every American should read this award winning book, no, should study it, to finally understand what Black Americans have faced and why the struggle continues to this day.