Novel Review

I don’t read a lot of novels, except historical ones occasionally. Over two days earlier this month I read a really good one based on the recommendation of several friends. The genre is listed variously as Women’s Fiction, Southern Fiction, Coming of Age, Family Life, and Survival! Probably all of those apply to “Where the Crawdads Sing” by Delia Owens.

I was a little puzzled by the title since I’m familiar with crawdads and I’ve never heard them sing. On Crooked Creek, we called them crawfish, but they are the same thing and they don’t sing. Nevertheless, it was a great read. I immediately wondered why the book had not become a movie, but I learned that one is in the works to be produced by Reese Witherspoon. 

The book follows a small girl growing up alone after being abandoned by her entire family. She grew up in the marshlands in North Carolina learning to take care of herself. She only attended school one day because she was laughed at by the other students when she could not spell. Her only friend, a young boy, took the time to teach her the alphabet and she taught herself to read. 

I’ll stop here before I tell you too much, but the story goes on until this little girl dies in her sixties. It has a very surprising ending. I recommend this award winning book if you like novels. 

TEXAS

The state of Texas put Quintin Jones to death on May 19, 2021, without any media witnesses present to observe the execution. Since the U.S. Supreme Court upheld its death penalty statute in 1976 Texas has put to death 571 individuals. This is the first time there were no media witnesses. 

Officials blamed the problem on “miscommunication” by inexperienced members of the execution team. Some of the new personnel who had not been a part of an execution before simply forgot to summon the media into the waiting/witnessing area they said. My question is, why were inexperienced people in charge of an execution? What else might they have forgotten to do? No wonder we read about botched and painful experiences of those being executed!

According to the Death Penalty Information Center (DPIC), Texas law authorizes five media witnesses to observe each execution specifying that one witness must be from the Associated Press (AP). Later AP coverage of the event highlighted the importance of media witnesses in revealing problems such as have been seen in AL, AZ, OK, and OH where inmates were seen gasping for breath for several minutes or writhing in pain. Per DPIC Executive Director, Robert Dunham, “If the state with the most experience in executing prisoners lacks the competence to carry out this most basic execution function, what does that tell us about what else in the execution process states and the federal government can’t be trusted to perform properly?”

Qintin Jones

Photo by DPIC

Quintin Jones’ case had already attracted national attention because his was a resumption of state executions which had been on hold during the pandemic, but also because the victim’s family had requested clemency. That and a petition with more than 150,000 signatures didn’t convince Gov. Greg Abbott to grant clemency to Mr. Jones. 

Summer!

It is officially summer per the calendar even though technically summer began last night at 11:32 p.m. Due to the summer solstice, today will be the longest day of the year and tonight will be the shortest night. Regardless of the technicalities summer means fun in the sun and we all have our favorite things to do during this time of year. What are your favorites?

My favorite summer activities include anything to do with nature. Walking in a park, sitting by a river, watching the sunset over the ocean are all wonderful experiences. I hope that you have a safe and happy summer season.

What’s Your Enneagram Type?

Are you familiar with the Enneagram Personality Test? I was not until I read a book by Richard Rohr. He referred to the Enneagram in his book “Falling Upward” and it raised my curiosity so I researched it further. https://crookedcreek.live/2021/02/01/falling-upward/

The Enneagram presents nine personality types with some overlapping. The book I just read, “What’s Your ENNEATYPE?”, talks about “triads” and “wings” and other combinations of the major types. I was disappointed that the book did not have a test where one could determine one’s type. As I read I decided that I was a number One type and yet I wanted to be sure so I found an Enneagram test Online. It confirmed that I was a number One as I had thought.

Most of you have probably taken the Meyer-Briggs Personality test either in school or on the job. I’ve taken it at least three times and have found the results consistent over the years. The Enneagram is similar and if you take both tests I think you will see obvious similarities.

The Enneagram book was interesting and I recommend it to those who like the Meyer-Briggs test although I am partial to it over the Enneagram. The book gives much information about making the most of life with your personality type. You can find out about your Enneagram personalty by taking the test at https://www.truity.com/test/enneagram-personality-test

Flag Day

In the United States, Flag Day is celebrated on June 14. It commemorates the adoption of the flag of the United States on June 14, 1777, by resolution of the Second Continental Congress. The Flag Resolution, stated: “Resolved, That the flag of the thirteen United States be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new constellation.” Wikipedia

Flag Day is not a holiday and businesses will be open.

Tumeric

Do you use tumeric to cook? It is a bright yellow aromatic powder obtained from the rhizome of a plant of the ginger family, used for flavoring and coloring in Asian cooking and formerly as a fabric dye. My Mom used it and I do too.

Have you noticed anything wrong with this blog so far?

I have misspelled the spice in both the title and the first sentence. After years of using this ingredient, for some reason, I looked at the spice jar recently and realized it is spelled turmeric. That made me wonder if I had been pronouncing it incorrectly so, of course I googled it and was enlightened.

It is pronounced tur·mer·ic (ˈtərmərik) per the dictionary and you can hear the correct pronunciation here: https://dictionary.cambridge.org/pronunciation/english/turmeric

Is it possible I’ve been the only one pronouncing this word incorrectly? I’d appreciate your feedback.

SOLITARY

Albert Woodfox was a teenager when he was imprisoned for a crime he did not commit. The Louisiana prison was called Angola and those incarcerated there were treated like animals. They were strip-searched sometimes multiple times a day and were made to work for two cents per hour. Woodfox tells the story of his more than forty years in solitary confinement fighting for his freedom. This is a heartbreaking true story and it should surprise no one that Albert Woodfox is a black man.

I recommend this book particularly if you are interested in the correctional system in this country.

Eighty

I just learned that Bob Dylan turned eighty years old on May 24th! How can this be? Dylan is a hero of mine, but as a rock and roller how can he be older than me? He won the Medal of Freedom in 2010 and the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2016.

Receiving the Medal of Freedom

He is prolific in song writing and I would be hard pressed to name my favorite. “Blowin’ in the Wind?”, “Girl From the North Country?”, “The Times They Are a-Changin’.” I could go on and on with those I love and I bet that you can too.

Photos from Wikipedia

What are your favorite Dylan songs? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LUKYhpj2sQg

Porch Parties Again

Spring time in Kentucky brings many treats, dogwood and redbuds in bloom, daffodils and tulips and lots of sunshine. One of the best things is weather for Porch Parties again. Even though most friends are vaccinated we still enjoy visits on the porch, theirs or mine. Sometimes we share a glass of wine but always good conversation and enjoyment. I look forward to many more parties on my porch or patio as spring turns into summer.