Page the Second


A fronte praecipitium a tergo lupi. (In front of you, a precipice. Behind you, wolves.)

Thursday, March 30, 2017


This is the second iteration of this review, dang it. Lost the other one.

LONG TIME COMING by Edie Claire was an enjoyable book. I know some people thought Joy was a mess and that she should have gotten over her friend's death long since, being a strong, intelligent woman. But sometimes there are just things in a person's life that trip a switch, leaving you in the dark about the mistakes of your past. I'm sure most of those naysayers have something in their lives that don't sit right with them and can scar them, possibly for life. 

Yes, Joy Hudson has been running from her irrational fears and phobias hinging on her friend's death in high school. For eighteen years. But now she has finally come back to put them to rest and to care for her dad, whose health is failing. She rolls into town and buys the cheapest house she can, which just happens to be her dead friend's family home. Then she sets up a mobile veterinary service.

Joy doesn't believe in ghosts, but the house is full of strange smells, haunting music, opening doors and windows, freezing spots, and at one point, an epic whirlwind. Joy, like many people, still tries to rationalize the happenings away. But how can she when there is also someone trying to kill her?

Jenny's presence haunts her best friend, Joy, if not the house, filling Joy with good and bad memories and a nightmare or two. Jenny's old boyfriend, Jeff, doesn't help. He can't seem to leave Joy alone. He's always there, (partly because she accidentally hit his dog and must perform surgery on the dog) taking care of Joy even though she pushes him away at every turn.

I really loved that about Jeff. I enjoyed the fact that he could take what she dished out but be patient until she worked through her strange idiosyncrasies and fears and prejudices. He was there to pick her up on numerous occasions, despite her irrational anger inspired by a catty remark eighteen years previous. 

I think everybody wants a guy who will bounce back to you even if you act like a hag to him. I do. That kind of unconditional love is difficult to find.

The town cop also has the hots for Joy, being there for her in several ways--mostly to fix things on her house. In fact, at one point I suspected him of trying to kill her, mainly because that's always the person you least suspect. He was charming and not at all a paper doll, though clearly coming in a distant second to Jeff.

I enjoyed the mix of small town characters. I loved the mystery of Joy's memory lapses. I liked the twists at the end. I loved the romance. I enjoyed the things that went bump in the night.

I did want Joy to get out of her head earlier. For such an intelligent person, who rapidly deduces other things, she certainly took her time uncovering the question marks of her past and forgiving Jeff. But to me that made her more real.

For a fun book hard to let go of, get LONG TIME COMING here. I'll be searching out Edie Claire's other books shortly. I give this book four paw prints out of five.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

And the Bodhran Beat Goes On

Tipper naofa, Batman! Is féidir leis na daoine a imirt!
(Holy tipper, Batman! These people can play!)

So I have a new (to me) bodhran (an Irish drum). Apparently it's the old style of drum with a cross piece in the back. Now they don't use those cross pieces anymore and the drum head is smaller with a protected edge for playing on too. I also have the old-style tipper (stick, beater) with two rounded heads. Looks like the newer ones don't have the rounded heads.

I learned by watching other American drummers and I think some of my habits have been bad. So starting today I'm working on re-learning the basics of how to play the bodhran. Man these guys are GOOD!!! It's going to be a long old time before I can play even proficiently. But it's really fun. I should at least have a few jigs and reels down by St. Patty's.

I'll try and put a few riffs on here for you to see not only really good players but also some basics of how to learn. None of them will be me since I'm not good at it.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Hearts of the Fathers review

Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men.
                    Sir John Emerich Edward Dalberg-Acton, 1st Baron Acton     

In reading Darryl Harris' book HEARTS OF THE FATHERS, I was amazed he didn't have a German last name. Harris puts you right in the gritty middle of war-torn Berlin at the end of WWII. I give it five out of five Stars of David.

First let me say that I've been to Dachau and seen the mountainous pile of shoes. It was a heart-wrenching afternoon. I've also been to East Berlin before the wall came down. The tension there was so strong you could cut it with a knife. I can't imagine having to live ever day under the threat of Nazi or Russian retaliation for imagined insults. Though just visitors, everywhere we went we were followed by gun-toting soldier. We actually bolted for the border and couldn't get out of there fast enough. So I've had a little taste of what it was like. Harris has done a wonderful job.

This book wasn't just an expose on how bad the German people at that time were, but a truthful look at how even good people were caught up in, or rolled over by the tidal wave of Nazism.

This is Gerda Brendler's story of trying to find the son who had been kidnapped into the Hitler's Youth and forced to be a flak gunner.

It's Levi Zuckerman's story of trying to find his Jewish parents' whereabouts in a country in which one could get lost or killed going to the corner store for milk.

It's Major Pankov's story about trying to find the man who nearly killed him in order to stop two rapes and allow the girls to escape.

It's Erick Ranke's story of searching for hidden church books all over Germany in order to save the precious records from being burned as fuel.

Mostly it's a book about how God directs his children in His efforts to save and help His people.

This book is a skillful weaving of all the lives into one beautiful story of love lost and found--of listening to the voice of God--of doggedly living from one day to the next, being God's hands in the lives of others.

Harris did spotless research in order to put us right in the midst of the action of a country just trying to get its legs under itself, only to fall into a new trap.

This is not a good bedtime story for little children. Too many adult themes, although no actual sex or bad language. I would have had my high schoolers read this instead of some of the trash they watched. This isn't lit for violence's sake, but lit about looking for life in the midst of destruction.

If you like WWII stories, whether Jewish, Christian, or other, this is the book for you. You can get this book here.