Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Sweet T and Timing

 I had a totally awesome experience last month. I found, by accident, an old Facebook message. Sadly, the enticing offer to do a guest blog post was six weeks old. I began beating myself up for not being on top of the social media game, all the while knowing that it would be futile. I do what I can.

Finding the old message was a verifiable miracle as far as I was concerned. But was it a real offer and not some scam? I’ve been tricked before. I have the infected computer (sitting in the closet) to prove it. I checked out Southern Writers Magazine online. It’s real. I clicked through to Suite T and started reading recent blog posts by William Walsh. I got down to his Jan. 26 post and came upon a familiar quote and a long-forgotten name of a writing instructor. So, two miracles in one morning.

I sat down at my new computer to write out my thoughts—to create one more miracle. I didn’t procrastinate, let those thoughts fade, I got on with some real writing.

I resisted the urge to send it in that first night. Totally GOOD IDEA on my part, because by the next morning’s light I could tell that while the basics were solid enough, I had to do some reorganization for flow and clarity.  

The second draft was better. Then, I took time to read the SUBMISSION GUIDELINES. Bad news. I had to chop out words to get from 640 to under 500.

That took some doing. In fact, I over did it, and got to add words back (saved my ending). Still, it’s good practice to weigh every word and thought.

The title of my blog post is FOX HUNTING, and I will be sure to let everyone know when it will be posted.

THE TRUTH: I’ve finally figured out that if I had found that message in a timelier manner, like, any time sooner than when I did, I would have missed the whole sequence of events that led up to my discovering the teacher’s name. I also would have been hard pressed to have anything relevant to write about. I hate to say this, but procrastination really worked out in my favor this time. Makes me wonder how many other times I benefitted by being lucky instead of being talented.

I am going to look for books by William Price Fox.

Find Sweet T at:


Sunday, February 18, 2018

Bucktown Revisited

Jonathan Turner’s A Brief History of Bucktown was the star attraction at the last READ LOCAL event held at the Bettendorf Public Library.

I couldn’t attend. So, to atone I found last year’s Goodreads book review to post.

“This is a small but mighty volume that highlights the history and heritage of an important river town. Davenport was part of the Tri-Cities first and then the Quad Cities most recently as they all shared the banks of the Mississippi River. The river brought life, prosperity, and growing pains to an early frontier Davenport that rivaled the likes of cities many times its size. Turner documents it all with faithful quotes from a great many sources. He begins in the 1880s by showing us the booze-soaked red-light district and progresses forward through the boom and bust years of two world wars and a major farm crisis. He ends with an amazing come-back story of urban revitalization.

The high point for me was going to hear the Quad City Wind Ensemble preform at St. Ambrose University's Allaert Hall. I'd just finished the part of chapter four that highlighted the cultural influence of the German American population's love of all things musical. The title of the performance was "Fiesta" and the music was lively and uplifting. I felt like I had a direct line back to those rowdy beer halls of Bucktown in its heyday without having to stagger home.

There's just so much information here and the before and after photos are very helpful, but it left me wishing for someone to put together a tour to give me more.

Turner has done an impressive job with his brief overview. I think he has opened a door to a lot of stories waiting to be told."

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Cucamonga Valley Wine Book Review

Co-authors George Walker and John Peragine have created a little gem of a book. Cucamonga Valley Wine is packed with facts, figures, and photos that highlight an area of California that needs to be remembered for its contribution to the history of the wine industry and to American society.

What looked like useless, inhospitable soil at the foot of the San Gabriel Mountains held a secret treasure that few outsiders would discover until Franciscan monks showed up with their Mission grapes. A century later, that wild wasteland of rocks, sand, and desert plants revealed a deep source of water that would allow for the dry-farming, or non-irrigation, of varieties of grapes familiar to Italian immigrants well trained in the art of winemaking. Those enterprising Italian families worked for generations to establish a strong wine-producing culture that outlasted Prohibition and wasting diseases. They persevered until modern times, when car exhaust and urban sprawl proved to be too much competition.

Wine enthusiasts will appreciate the attention to detail and the ending that isn’t an ending: There will always be a place for fine wine at the American table.