Tag Archives: forgiveness

“Do not regret the past, nor wish to shut the door on it.”

My father passed away on Sunday, April 12, 2015 quietly in his home at the age of seventy-seven. He went to church, came home, hung up his suit, took a nap and went to his heaven. The pastor said his sermon that day was about Heaven and I think ole Henry was just ready to be there. Three years ago in February he had a coronary bypass graft and we were afraid we might lose him even then, but that didn’t happen and we were given a few more years of precious time with him.

For six weeks in 2012, I was able to spend time with him while he recuperated from that surgery.  We needed that time together. He was a great storyteller. Most of the way I helped was by listening to the stories he shared with me about his life and events that occurred in the 1950s and 60s, the social injustice of the era. Inspired by his stories, a cousin’s stories, and a ledger he knew I had discovered in 1992, I came home and on April 12, 2012, I began to write a book. I would love to share those stories with you.

I appreciate the life and time he gave me. May he rest in peace.

My husband is, like my father, Henry Koone, was, a not-so-anonymous recovering alcoholic. I attend open meetings with my husband and one of the things they say in the rooms of AA is,

“Do not regret the past, nor wish to shut the door on it.”

When you bury the past and fail to look back you miss the opportunity to grow and learn, to develop insight and character. While it may not be healthy to dwell or live in your past, in it there are lessons we will find nowhere else.

Experience, strength and hope!

The Promises go on to say, “We will comprehend the word serenity and know peace. No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others. That feeling of uselessness and self-pity will disappear. We will lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our fellows. Self-seeking will slip away. Our whole outlook on life will change. Fear of people and economic insecurity will leave us. We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us. We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.”

I watched my father go through some dramatic changes over the course of the past fifty-four years and I learned the meaning of forgiveness.

He taught me about unconditional love.

I learned from the experiences, strengths and hopes we shared.

There is much social injustice in this world but change begins with each and every individual. Looking back at the past, in the manner that my historic novel does, it is my hope that the reader can recognize the harm of social injustice, oppression, poverty and ignorance, and perhaps develop some insights, in addition to being entertained. It isn’t a preachy book, but one that tells the stories of those who lived in an era we must move forward out of, never forgetting the sacrifices of those who came before us.

“A fictionalized true story of life in the Deep South during the time of Jim Crow Law, and before Roe vs. Wade. Women were supposed to keep quiet and serve, abortion was illegal, adoption difficult, and racism rampant. The discovery of an old ledger opens a window into the dynamics of the 1950s-60s.

Unspoken secrets are shared between Beatrice, The Good Doctor’s wife, and Moses Grier, their black handyman. The Grier’s daughter, Althea, suffers a tragedy that leaves her family silent and mournful. Her brother, Nathan, a medical student, looks for answers from a community that is deaf, blind, and dumb.

A summer romance between Nathan and Sybil, an independent, high-spirited, white woman, leaves more unresolved. Nathan is thrust into the center of the Civil Rights Movement. Sybil is torn between living the mundane life of her peers, or a life that involves fastening herself to a taboo relationship. Witness social progress through the eyes of those who lived it.”

Reviews are appreciated.

A Novel Idea

20110907we-relationships-chart-map-showing-many-places-and-peopleBeta readers rock! If you don’t use them, you are really missing out on a wonderful opportunity to get virgin eyes on your work and help you identify strong and weak spots. On my second pass by the alpha reader he saw much improvement in my first crime novel  and I still have a few places that I want to go back and touch up to strengthen a character’s position on certain pertinent matters. So that, along with some beta notes trickling in, is what I have been doing all week.

I have an outline for book two, and another story in my head for book three, but I am feeling a need to break away from this and write something different. I just read a very good “relationship” novel (will tell you more about that later) and I have been mulling over some ideas. It really stimulated me to think about just what comprises a good novel.

Honestly, being human or not, relationships are what most every novel boils down to. The relationship between people and their world, the relationship between lovers, the relationship between individuals, parents, children, siblings, friends, elves, war lords, bad guys, good guys, pets, robots…relationships are what make good novels relate-able.

So I got restrospective and started thinking about all the relationships in my life. There is really some good fodder there. It has not been a typical life, though, but some typical relationship issues were resolved.

The only piece I have really written well in first person was about a gay guy coming to terms with his identity in a community that was less than accepting. I liked the practice of getting into his character, but that story has been done to death.

I am thinking of taking another angle, and writing a piece in first person about a woman who finds herself with two grown children, divorced from a gay guy, and five hundred miles from her home at the age of forty. How she starts over with her life. Having never had her twenties, because of family responsibilities, she suddenly finds herself in a world she has been isolated from for twenty years. She violates the old double standard by trying to juggle relationships.

It sounds sad, but it really isn’t…there would be humorous undertones throughout as she acclimates to a new lifestyle and the dating scene again.

I don’t have a clue what genre it would fit into. Women’s fiction? Chick-lit? I don’t read much in either genre, so I really don’t give a flying flip about rules. I just want to tell the story. The underlying theme is about forgiveness.

I am not one of those paranoid people about sharing unpublished ideas online, because we all have our own ways of telling our stories.

I haven’t made an outline. It’s just a thought. What do you think about it? Boring or interesting? Amusing, maybe?

Any ideas for a working title?

Dear??? Old Dad

I am reading all of these posts about Dear Old Dad, endearing and thoughtful. I have to tell you my dad was a smart ass, a real wise ass having a witty remark for anything anyone ever said to him.

Daddy 003

He started out as a State Park ranger, then a truck driver. After a bad accident, in which he was not hurt, but scared enough to find a new career, he started selling life insurance door to door. He went from a starter position to a district manager and then a regional manager, spending thirty-seven years with the same company.

Then he retired, but could not sit still. He bought his own independent company where he still works today, at seventy six years old.

He was a real sought after guy in high school. All the girls loved him. My mom was the one who captured his heart. They were married when she was sixteen and he was fresh out of high school.

Daddy 004

Daddy 005

They lived in a mountain cabin when I was born, then a wooden duplex in the small town of Pine Mountain, then a brick duplex in LaGrange where he went on to build a house. He spent $13,000 to build that first beautiful brick home in an upscale neighborhood of LaGrange in 1968, but my mother never lived there with him. They were divorced when I was seven and we went to live in Atlanta.

After her death, we moved in with my dad and stepmother (s). That is plural for a reason. He was still a ladies’ man and never could stick with just one.

He took us water skiing and we had a cabin on the Chattahoochee River where we spent weekends. Those were real fun times with my siblings recalled; although, he fell into the water a few times unexpectedly, too drunk to stand. Seriously, it is kind of scary to look back on it.

I was a Daddy’s girl. I lived for him to come home every day. I was supposed to have been a boy named Steven. He taught me all about skiing, CB radios, hunting and fishing. He called me his “modern girl” and told me I would be a city slicker like him one day.

He was raised on a farm and was the black sheep of the family for several reasons. He was an atheist.  He left the farm and became a city boy. He drank. He divorced my mother. He had many wives. He was a businessman, not a farmer. He abused and neglected us, despite our fine lifestyle. Socioeconomic status does not alter reality.

He was a mean son-of-a-bitch when he drank. He abused our mother, leaving her battered and bruised. He broke things and trashed the home when he was angry and out of control. He whipped us with belts till we bled. Later, he ignored our pleas regarding our stepmothers’ behaviors. I began to loath him. We became estranged when I reached puberty. We left home, my sisters and I. My older sister got married and my younger sister and I went into foster care. When I had kids of my own, we reconciled. That reconciliation required courage from both of us.

After a few divorces, he married a very nice woman, a Christian woman, whom he is still married to nearly thirty years later. He stopped drinking. I love her dearly. They have no children together but they are very loving and kind to us children, his grandchildren, and great grandchildren. He is also now a Methodist preacher.

IMG_0428

He is still a smart ass. Three or four heart surgeries later. No drinking. No smoking. No philandering. But still with a smart-mouthed comeback for just about everything anyone says to him. Usually, he’s funny. He could have been a comedian.

He has five daughters. His only son died the day after it was born. He never gave me a bloody red penny for school, or helped me in any way raising my own family. But he did teach me many of life’s lessons in his own way. He also taught me not to judge others. You never know what torments another soul carries around with them. I have relearned to love him.

This Fathers Day, I want you to remember one thing:

Forgiveness is a powerful antidote for hate.

Happy Fathers Day!

People CAN change. Well, they can change some things. Once a smart ass, always a smart ass.

I have also learned you can’t help what you inherit.