I’ve been working through some books that are either by Alabama authors, or take place in Alabama, or both. Here are a few brief reviews.
I Wish I Was in Dixie collected and edited by Marie Stokes Jemison and Jim Reed
This is a collection of stories from all across Alabama, from Birmingham to Montgomery to Tuscaloosa.
Dear Slave – poems by Irene Latham. These are rich retellings of stories taken from the mouths of slaves and recorded by Ruby Pickens Tartt many years ago.
I Still Dream of You by Fannie Flagg. This was an enjoyable read and one that had me doing a little research about Birmingham. I read this for my book club, but no one else was able to finish it that month. 😦 You can read more of my thoughts HERE and HERE.
Fried Green Tomatoes At the Whistle Stop Cafe – also by Fannie Flagg. I couldn’t read this without picturing Kathy Bates in the role of Evelyn. I STILL want to go to the cafe in Irondale!
The last book is one I DON”T recommend – Looking for Alaska. I read it mainly because I heard it had a lot of references to the Birmingham area, but it didn’t really. Sorry, John Green fans, but I just didn’t like this and am disappointed that it is marketed to middle schoolers. I think all the reviews on Barnes & Noble were written by teenagers.
So, I will continue my Alabama quest at a later date. Right now my reading is headed to Ireland.
“Cancel subscriptions to Southern Living, Veranda and Southern Lady magazines”
– I Still Dream About You by Fannie Flagg
In Flagg’s book, the main character, Maggie Fortenberry, is making plans to kill herself, but she just can’t leave the world without putting everything in order first, including canceling her magazine subscriptions. I am familiar with all three of these magazines; in fact, Southern Living and Southern Lady are both published right here in Birmingham. In another fact, I worked for Southern Lady for two whole weeks. But, that’s a long story for another day.
The bad thing for me about magazines like these is the desires they stir up. Everything is lovely and perfect… and usually expensive. Granted, there is a lot of good information between the pages, such as gardening tips and recipes. But, then again, I don’t have a green thumb and don’t cook like I used to. Maggie Fortenberry didn’t really garden or cook, either. So, why do we get these magazines?
Sometimes it’s fun to just dream. We think about houses we’d like to live in one day, places we’d like to visit, clothes that are lovely. Others of us get inspired: I could make a table like that; I could paint my room that color; I could visit that town on a budget. There is a lot of potential good if we peruse the pages with a little common sense. Or, we can just cancel those subscriptions altogether.
This post is coming up from a deep well of I don’t know what. Ruminating on friendships past and future. Looking for words of wisdom from scripture and finding nuggets in unexpected places. Surfing the net sometimes provides providential words of encouragement and exhortation.
There is no ideal place for us to serve God except the place He sets us down. We are not to run from it on a whim or sudden notion, but we should serve the Lord in it by being a blessing to those among whom we live. -Alistair Begg
I have been set down in Alabama; deposited in this south deeper than Florida. Here the grass is softer and the roads hillier; the accent thicker and the seasons more varied. Tornadoes have replaced hurricanes and I have discovered white BBQ sauce. But, God is the same. No matter how much I vacillate, He is the same.
And to quote a fictional character:
God will put you in the right place. Even if you don’t know it at the time. – Alec Hardy (quoting his mother) in Broadchurch
So, I believe I’m in the right place, no matter how I “feel” about it. Maybe I have not yet seen why. But, in our pursuit of becoming foster parents, I think perhaps this is our right place. In taking the steps to follow our desire to foster, it’s been like “going down the chute”.
You can’t be that kid standing at the top of the waterslide, overthinking it. You have to go down the chute. – Tina Fey
The above tweet inspired the following poem – Happy Summer!
Today begins meteorological summer.
Between spring training
and the World Series
we count the days of sunshine,
bemoan the rain,
even while knowing how much we need it.
In this day of hurricane predictions
and trying to forget last year’s drought,
we pause to give thanks
to the God of summer and all seasons.
To the One who allows us to hear
the crack of the bat
and feel the passing breeze or warming sun
and see the dewy-eyed newborn
and smell the meadow blooms and forest greens
and taste the savory blessings.