Books

“A room without books is like a body without a soul.” Cicero

I believe this quote is true. I cannot imagine life without books or a room without books. As you’ve noticed I have blogged a lot of book reviews over the past several months. I cannot imagine a pandemic without books! This past year of being locked-down would have been unbearable without books to read.

What books have been especially important to you over this year of inactivity? Please share with us how books have helped you get through the COVID months since March of 2020.

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Here are some other book quotes to think about.

“Books are funny little portable pieces of thought.” Susan Sontag

“Every book is like a purge; at the end of it one is empty . . . like a dry shell on the beach waiting for the tide to come in again.” Daphne DuMaurier

“Fiction reveals truth that reality obscures.” Jessamyn West

“The pleasure of all reading is doubled when one lives with another who shares the same books.” Katherine Mansfield

“Good books like good friends, are few and chosen; the more select, the more enjoyable.” Louisa May Alcott

“Do give books – religious or otherwise – for Christmas. They’re never fattening, seldom sinful and permanently personal.” Lenore Hershey

“Truly each new book is as ship that bears us away from the fixity of our limitations into the movement and splendor of life’s infinite ocean.” Helen Keller

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Sliver of Moon

sliver of a moon

only a sliver of a moon
hangs above the horizon…
a thin white arc
against the dark night sky…

every night i watch it rise
and every night it widens…
illuminated by the cast off
light of the sun…

a waxing crescent
grows with the passing days…
blossoming into
a wondrous nocturnal flower…

there for us to see
in all its celestial glory…
yet time ticks by
and the waning begins…

and like the ocean tide
that washes over the sand…
our nighttime treasure
slowly ebbs away…

Sylvia L. Mattingly
Completed January 27, 2021

Photo by Pixabay

Kate’s Haiku

The responses to the Haiku Challenge https://crookedcreek.live/2019/11/14/haiku/   were many and I am so proud of each reader who has participated. You’ve done an impressive job and there’s some good poetry here. Instead of printing all the poems together I think they will be more appreciated if they are posted a few at a time.

I’m going to begin today with one by my granddaughter, Kate Elliott. Thank you, Kate, for your very meaningful submission.

Kate’s Haiku

I’m American
I live across the ocean
I love England too.

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I’m so happy to report that Kate is going to be crossing that ocean with her husband, Tom, in the next couple of days to visit us here in America!

A Single Drop of Water

A guest who shares her poetry with us from time to time, Sylvia, is my niece and my friend. I love her work and this is one of her poems that touches me anew each time I read it. Thank you, Syl, for sharing with us.  

A single drop of water

In the grand scheme of things, I ask you this…
In a single drop of water, what is the significance

A single drop of water after a rain can hang precariously off the tip of a leaf
And sparkle like a glistening diamond any rich man might bequeath
If it were among the multitude, it would not be as a glistening stone
And it would fall from the weight of the many that could not leave it alone

A single drop of water can be a magical thing when kissed by a ray from the sun
It can become as a prism splitting light into colors, making light beams come undone
If it were part of the many, it could still make a rainbow…a beautiful expanse to be shown
But be nothing more than a part of the whole with no beauty all of its own

A single drop of water in the cold wintry sky can be frozen into a pure flake of snow
And float to the ground in a silent descent to an extended wool mitten below
If it were part of the multitude, one of the crowd, the single snowflake we’d never see
We would never appreciate it’s delicate beauty or it’s scientific intricacy

A single drop of water can slide down a cheek lending evidence to sadness inside
Creating a track, to mark the course, of emotions we sometimes can’t hide
If it were a piece of a torrent of tears that might stream down a disheartened face
It would not be the first tear defining the rest and setting the course for the race

Was it unclear in the grand scheme of things what the value of a water drop might be
If a single drop of water were but a part of the ocean it would simply be lost at sea

Written by: Sylvia L. Mattingly 11/21/11

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Photos by Pixabay

Deep South

Recollections of Travel 

Traveling in the South was a real treat for many reasons including the soft accents and colloquialisms. I will never forget being in an elevator in Montgomery, AL when a smartly dressed woman walked through the door and requested I “mash 6” for her. I’m sure my mouth was agape while I figured out she wanted me to push the button for the sixth floor! 

Being a Kentuckian, I’ve always wondered why we are considered “southern.” We are far from Montgomery, New Orleans and other southern towns where honeyed accents prevail. In fact, we are squarely in the middle of the Eastern one-third of the US. I know I have an accent, but in my opinion, it is not Southern, but country. I hear it, I’ve been reminded of it and even teased when traveling to cities to the North or out West. I must admit when I was teased I often became, even more country, sprinkling “Y’all” liberally throughout the dialogue. Accents are intriguing.

Charleston, SC

A long time ago a business colleague and I spent a week in Charleston, SC, training staff at one of the ambulatory care centers slated soon to open. It was going to be a demanding schedule which was a shame because by all accounts Charleston was a beautiful historic city. We knew we would have little time for anything other than work but two things were obvious. We had to have a place to stay and we had to eat, so we optimized both requirements. We chose an extra nice hotel situated on the beach and planned to sample the local cuisine at the finest places. 

While I don’t remember every detail of that week, some things do stand out. One was sleeping with the sliding glass doors open to the balcony so I could hear the ocean. The pounding of the waves was magically relaxing after long days of teaching and orienting nurses, doctors, radiology and lab technicians as well as clerical staff. They were experienced professionals but needed to learn the policies and procedures established by our company. 

Seafood

Our treat for the week became the wonderful restaurants, especially those specializing in seafood. Each evening we would choose a different place and linger over dinner while reviewing the events of the day. We were never disappointed in the meals nor the southern hospitality. We tried many types of food, but I kept going back to my favorite, shrimp. I ate shrimp as appetizers and in main courses prepared in various ways. I did not tire of these plump, juicy crustaceans night after night. Clip-art-shrimp

On Thursday night sleep came quickly while I listened to the sounds from the beach. Approximately an hour later, I awoke to severe abdominal pain. It was intense as I sat up and turned on the bedside lamp. Within seconds I was aware of itching of my arms and trunk. The itching intensified to the point that the abdominal pain was almost forgotten. As I called my colleague, Gale, whose room was just down the hall, I saw I had red hives, some as big as my hand, quickly advancing over my trunk and limbs. By the time she got to my room, I was tearing at my skin, unable to control the itching or accompanying panic. Thank goodness, Gale was not only intelligent, she was a “take charge” type who also had Benadryl in her room. I probably owe her my life. She forced me to swallow two capsules of 25 mg. each while she shouted demanding I stop scratching. That was impossible for me as the more vascular areas swelled and throbbed with an itch I didn’t know was possible. 

Hospital

In the city hospital emergency department (ED) those accents I had been enjoying all week, became so pronounced I could barely make out was being said to me. Perhaps it was my state of fear and agitation, but the only person I could understand was the doctor who was from Vietnam! As my lips, tongue, and throat continued to swell I could not believe how chatty he became. He did all the right things obviously because I survived anaphylactic shock, but when he had learned the company I worked for and that I was from Louisville he found those facts far more remarkable than my precarious medical situation. 

You see, this was during the time that the Jarvik 7, an artificial heart engineered to replace an ailing human heart, was being implanted in Louisville, KY.  The surgeon who performed the first such procedure in Utah had moved to Louisville to perform his second and subsequent surgeries at one of the hospitals owned by my employer. The Vietnamese ED physician kept asking questions about that famous surgeon. Did I know him? What was he like? What did the Louisville medical community think of this procedure? If he had known I was recently a nurse manager at the same hospital where this device was being implanted, I doubt he would have been able to focus on his patient at all, i.e., ME! 

Thanks to quick thinking on the part of my colleague and in spite of the ED doctor’s infatuation with the artificial heart surgeon I survived to work another day in Charleston even though it was without sleep. After returning to Louisville tests confirmed I was allergic to crustaceans, e.g. shrimp, lobster, and crabs. I have not eaten shrimp, or any other crustacean, since that trip to lovely South Carolina.shrimp-2393818_1280

For years I grieved the loss of shrimp and lobster. I also went through a stage of blaming myself (called “personalization” by Sheryl Sandberg in her book Option B) for overindulging and thereby becoming sensitized. Finally, I was able to not only accept, but be a little grateful as my research revealed a close kinship between shrimp and certain bugs (arthropods.)


 

NOTE: Allergy to crustaceans is not the same as a shellfish allergy. Oysters, clams, and mussels, for instance, are not crustaceans. For simplification I refer to crustaceans as the ones with antennae. lobster-1538643_1280

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