The Trip to Bountiful

Geraldine Page

Geraldine Page

The Trip to Bountiful starring Geraldine Page is one of the best movies ever made. It’s based on Horton Foote’s play which originally aired on NBC in 1953 before being produced for Broadway.

The story follows Carrie Watts, an elderly woman living with her weak-willed son, Ludie, and his self-centered wife, Jessie Mae. All Carrie wants before she leaves this earth is to see her beloved hometown, Bountiful, one last time. Although she’s strong in spirit, she’s too frail in heart and body to safely make the trip alone.

Her days are spent cooped up in a little apartment in Houston, Texas, singing hymns and trying to stay out of Jessie Mae’s way. Their verbal sparring is the result of different desires. Carrie wants to live in the past when life was simpler while her daughter-in-law yearns for materials things in a modern world. When Carrie can no longer wait, she sneaks away to Bountiful for the trip of a lifetime.

While most everyone will agree that remakes are rarely as good as the original, Cicely Tyson has undertaken to recreate the magic of the original Trip to Bountiful movie. She started out on Broadway, but I’m pleased to say the version including her performance, which appeared on Lifetime, is on also DVD.

Regardless of which version you choose to watch first, you won’t be disappointed. I strongly recommend you take the time to watch both. The strength of desire portrayed by Mrs. Page and Mrs. Tyson is overwhelming. You’ll be rooting for Carrie Watts and humming hymns long after the movie has ended.

Cicely Tyson

Cicely Tyson

The Spice of Life – Gingerbread & Girlfriends

Gingerbread with Lemon SauceThe year is 1928. John Welles and his Aunt Prudence are having gingerbread with lemon sauce one evening when she brings up the very touchy subject of Miss Garland Griffin. Garland and John attend the University of Maryland. The two are in constant competition for the top spot in the grade standings. Their rivalry takes on a sharp edge.

Prudence presses John into admitting he has a more personal interest in the young woman by reminding him of comments he’s made regarding Garland’s beauty. Her attempts to draw him out only serve to frustrate him until the two are snapping at each other.

All is not lost despite Prudence’s often bungled attempts at parenting. She and John are close enough that they manage to work through their spats even if he’s the one who has to act more like the adult. John loves his sulky aunt, and in the end, he turns to her for advice.

The following recipe is the one I had in mind when I wrote the scene above. Prudence and John don’t always see eye to eye, but like sweet gingerbread and tangy lemon sauce, their personalities complement each other.

Gingerbread

½ c sugar

½ c butter

1 egg

1 c molasses

2 ½ cups all-purpose flour

1 ½ t baking soda

1 t ground cinnamon

1 t ground ginger

½ t ground cloves

½ t salt

1 c hot water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour a 9-inch square pan. In a large bowl, cream together the sugar and butter. Beat in the egg, and mix in the molasses. In a bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves. Blend into the creamed mixture. Stir in the hot water. Pour into the prepared pan. Bake 1 hour in the preheated oven, until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool in pan before serving.

Lemon Sauce

½ c sugar

2 t cornstarch

Dash of salt

Dash of nutmeg

1 c water

2 egg yolks, beaten

2 T butter

2 T lemon juice

½ t grated lemon peel

1 t lemon extract

Combine sugar, cornstarch, salt, nutmeg, and water in a saucepan, stir until smooth. Cook and stir over medium-high heat until thickened and bubbly. Reduce heat, cook and stir 2 minutes longer. Remove from heat.

Stir a small amount of hot filling into egg yolks, return all to pan, stirring constantly. Bring to a gentle boil. Cook and stir 2 minutes longer. Remove from heat. Gently stir in butter, lemon juice, lemon peel, and lemon extract. Serve warm with gingerbread. Refrigerate leftover sauce.

This Old Dog Tries a New Trick

I’ll be the first to admit, I’m technologically challenged. I have thirty seconds of patience that usually expires while I’m reading the instructions for whatever it is I’m trying to learn and apply. I know this is shameful, but guess what? I don’t care!

On the other hand, when I finally get some poor lackey from Help Desk Support to answer my questions and explain the process, I’m all smiles and goodwill. When this occurs, I feel like sharing. I also pretend my former grouchy self never existed. Denial, I know, but then I never claimed to be perfect.

So, with that being said, everyone reading this is going to be my guinea pig for a new online tool I’m testing called Sniply. Don’t laugh at me if I’m coming in to this late. Refer back to me being technologically challenged.

There is a link in this post to an outside source. It’s a site I found interesting enough to use for the test. You will be directed to the site when you click on the link. However, in addition to the site, you should see a pop-up link with my profile pic and a button hovering in the lower, left-hand side of the screen. When you click the button, you’ll return to my blog.

I understand this tool will come in handy when your not already reading my blog, however, bear with me for the sake of experiment.  If for some reason this doesn’t work, please let me know! I’m open to advice and assistance with this feature.

Thank you,

HL Gibson, Author

Let the Lion Roar

Onward, Christian Ire… Or Not

untitled (11)I’m obviously rather late coming in on the debate of the Russell Crowe version of Noah. In my defense, I wasn’t going to pay to watch that piece of tripe. (Sneak peek on my opinion of the movie.) I had to wait until my turn at the library came up so I could watch it for free. There goes two hours of my life I’ll never get back.

Where do I begin? With the armadillo dog, perhaps? (Snort.) How about the shiny magic rocks or glowing, charmed snakeskin? There are always the Watchers to debate. Don’t even get me started on the hideous CGI, animatronics, or whatever it was they used.

Using a few Biblical names and borrowing the history of the world being destroyed by water were the only things remotely familiar in this farce of a movie. Nothing else was recognizable. To rewrite the facts then present them so pathetically reflects poorly on everyone associated with the film.

In short, dystopian universe Noah is so unbelievable, there is absolutely no way any Christian could be offended, myself included. The movie it utter laughable nonsense.

On the other hand, if the intent of the film was to create yet another divisive, pseudo-Christian religion, the movie presents the perfect shaky foundation for this to occur. Going green seems to be the underlying message. No doubt, Al Gore will be on board as a prophet.

Makeup Mishap

images2L07D8WHYou just spent the last thirty minutes perfecting the most beautiful color scheme of eye shadow on your lids. It blows away the smoky eye. It may very well be the next hot thing. Without a doubt, photographers who see you will beg to take pictures of your glamourous eyes for fashion magazines.

The colors blended with silky precision, your eyeliner smudged without bleeding, and there are absolutely no clumps in your mascara. This was only achieved because you threatened the males with whom you live to not even entertain the thought of coming near the bathroom while you were creating.

One last time, you lean in to admire a job well done. Oh crap, there it is; a small blob of ocular goop, better known as the eye booger, clings to that miniscule fleshy hump on the inside corner of your eye. What is that thing called anyway?

You know, you know, you absolutely cannot touch your eye with your fingers. It doesn’t matter how many times you’ve washed them. It will sting and burn when you try to fish out the goo. Your eyes will inevitably water and ruin what you just spent the last thirty minutes achieving. Even if the makeup isn’t marred, your eyes will be red and blotchy, a look that will clash with your makeup.

As if the globule in your eye wasn’t enough to make you cry, the whole stinking situation will. Either way, you’re scre…

…sigh …just fix it and move on. That’s what moms do.

Why Aren’t You Following My Blog?

In the spirit of the attached article, I would like to ask my Facebook friends and Twitter Community: “Why aren’t you following my blog!”

Authors are required to promote themselves long before they ever publish a book. Long before final revisions, query letters, and agent searches, authors must “sell” their “product” to a potential audience. I can tell you that most authors/writers do NOT have a degree or background in marketing. This makes the task much more daunting. With the advent of social media, authors can build a “platform” to accomplish the above-mentioned tasks. This is where you come in.

I’m offering each of you the opportunity to join me from the ground up. My promise to you is free, quality writing delivered straight to your inbox. Most of you are already perusing various social media sites. With my blog, you won’t have to search for high-quality content in various places. My blog features short stories, non-fiction blogging about the quirks of family life, and interesting articles used while researching my novel, The Secrets of Dr. John Welles. I also promise to not bombard your inbox with chain e-mails, offensive jokes, pictures of my kid and pets, or boring accounts of what I ate for breakfast.

In closing, thank you for your support during my journey from pre-published author to New York Times Best-Selling Author. ~ HL Gibson

“If You Don’t Ask, You Don’t Get”

Zane in the City

Love Me, Love My Dog

Love Me, Love My Dog

The following short story was written for a contest hosted by the American Kennel Club.  When I wrote it, I had my friend, Diana, in mind.  Diana is a member of the writers’ group I attend at the North Branch of the Stark County District Library.  She is a dog lover and owns an Italian Spinone.  Her beloved Bernese Mountain Dog, Targa, recently passed away.

Targa was an amazing dog who pulled a little cart.  She was the subject of several children’s stories Diana wrote.  Together they attended classes to certify Targa as a therapy dog.  Even though she didn’t pass, Diana’s love for Targa was evident whenever she talked about her.  My goal was to capture that love and channel it into a story about a dog owner and her pet.

I decided upon a hound for my story because of another friend’s fondness for them.  Hounds can be strong-willed beasts who will own you if you don’t lovingly, patiently train them.  Even then, you may find yourself bested from time to time.

You’ll want to make a cup of cocoa for this cold weather story.  Lucky for you, there just happens to be a recipe for cocoa on my blog under Edible Fiction.  It’s the perfect beverage for the tale that follows.  So, grab some cocoa, curl up under your favorite throw, make sure your four-footed friends are gathered around you, sit back, read and relax!

Zane in the City

 

Train Ride in My Kitchen

 

Last year, Will and I celebrated our twentieth wedding anniversary in August. My brother, Heath, and his wife, Michelle, celebrated theirs in December. As a treat for the four of us, Michelle purchased tickets for the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad Ales on Rails trip in October. It was a surprise for me and Will. I cannot begin to tell you how much fun we had sampling delicious food perfectly paired with ales we had never tried.

CVSRThis year, in commemoration of our splendid trip and our twenty-first anniversaries, I recreated the outing in my kitchen. My brother and sister-in-law thought they were simply coming for dinner. They had no idea what I had in store for them.

I began my search for the ales the minute I noticed the fall beer selections popping up in the grocery store. Woodchuck’s Pumpkin Cider was high on our list of favorites and the first purchased. It’s seasonal so you’ll want to pick it up now before it disappears. Same with Rogue’s Dead Guy Ale which disappears shortly after Halloween.

AlesNext was Well’s Banana Bread Beer and Victory HopDevil, a lovely IPA. I’ve seen both throughout the year. Even though you can get them regularly, I wouldn’t drag my feet trying them. Nor should you hesitate to try Smuttynose Robust Porter and Vunderbar Pilsner, the last two rounding out our beer menu.

A special ‘Thank You’ to Jason Wigley, Brandon Snyder, and Peter Egleston, all of Smuttynose Brewing, who responded promptly to my request for the Vunderbar Pilsner. Their efforts ensured that I found it in a grocery store close to home. Fabulous customer service, gentlemen!

We received glasses etched with the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad emblem on the original trip. We used them again this past Saturday. I recreated the menu, slightly tweaked for our tastes and increased to dinner portions rather than hors d’oeuvre size.

Train TicketsIn keeping with the train themed party, I made tickets for the trip, which I punched as our guests came in. We were serenaded by the Andrews Sisters’ rendition of Chattanooga Choo Choo and lulled by the big band sound of Glen Miller. I had to laugh at one point as the four of us swayed to the music and my sister-in-law commented, “I can feel the rocking of the train just sitting here.”

Our food and ale menu included:

Buffalo Cheddar Cheese Dip and Pretzel Chips paired with Woodchuck Pumpkin Cider

Mixed Greens with Cranberries, Goat Cheese, Sunflower Seeds, and Raspberry Vinaigrette paired with Smuttynose Vunderbar Pilsner

Sweet Italian Sausage with Sautéed Onions served with Victory HopDevil IPA

German Potato Salad paired with Rogue Dead Guy Ale

Turtle Brownie paired with Smuttynose Robust Porter

Extra Aged Parmesan Cheese with Honey and Black Pepper and Toasted Almonds served with Wells Banana Bread Beer

The Boxes in Which We Put Ourselves

The Writer Has the Last Word

The Writer Has the Last Word

It is my very great pleasure to share an article by Mela Saylor of The Greater Canton Writers’ Guild, Inc.  The following article was featured in the September newsletter.  Information regarding the Guild can be found at:  http://cantonwritersguild.org/

Mrs. Saylor’s personal blog can be found at:  http://paintandpens.blogspot.com/

The Boxes in Which We Put Ourselves ~ Mela Saylor

First time writers are always told “write what you know” and they dive into their pool of knowledge head first, taking their first tentative strokes with their pens. But after a few years and many laps of swimming in that subject matter, writers may feel the need to expand. To be brave, writers must get out of the pool and take a dive into the ocean.

Explore new topics, learn new things. 

The world of writing is vast, and I find that exciting – and there’s no need to stay on the same topic all the time. To be honest, your readers might be bored hearing the same topic all the time. Understandably, writers may discover they have a tendency to stay within certain comfort zones. But it is always good to step out of what we so often find ourselves writing. Learn something new and play with ideas – push them around, see how far they’ll stretch. We do need to keep in mind that there is a difference between having a recurrent theme and redundancy.

Writers may wish to ask themselves what they have learned as a writer this past year – your writing needs to grow right along with you. If your writing doesn’t grow, if it stays the same, it becomes stale. Make a promise to yourself to take a chance or two with your writing style and subject matter, explore and reach out into new horizons. Starting something new – topic, idea or story line – is exciting and keeping to what you’ve done before is limiting. Take a chance. Who knows where you’ll go.

Literacy and Democracy

Reading and writing, like everything else, improve with practice. And, of course, if there are no young readers and writers, there will shortly be no older ones. Literacy will be dead, and democracy – which many believe goes hand in hand with it – will be dead as well. ~Margaret Atwood

Since I began working at the library, I have seen a decline in the quality of books for children and teenagers.  I have even witnessed a decline in the value of those being read by adults, and it shocks me.  There is very little worth in the written word lately.

My concern is that authors aren’t putting out their best work for the sake of their readers.  I find it hard to believe that some writers are actually proud of what they are producing.  Rather, it seems as if turning a quick buck is the goal.  Again, this is cause for concern.

As a writer, I lay this burden at my own feet first.  My goal is to write a book that will engage my potential audience.  I dream about my novel becoming a classic, but, at the very least, I want to give readers something to chew on mentally.  Even if I create a book that’s just a good story, I work to make sure it’s well written.

What we feed our minds is as important as what we feed our bodies.  I’ll admit that I love a good dessert as much as the next person.  However, even desserts come in varying degrees of quality.  Then again, so does much of what we eat to sustain ourselves.  What I mean is, a diet of garbage from fast food restaurants isn’t going to provide what our bodies need.  I could probably live a better life eating my mother’s homemade desserts all the time, not that I would.

The same is true with what we choose to read.  I can’t fill my mind with endless garbage and expect to increase my knowledge and/or awareness of the world around me.  Too much cotton candy for the brain will render me useless.  I’ll die without anything of value to read.  This is the point where someone will want to debate who assigns value to what is being written and read.

But just for a moment, let’s be logical.  A steady stream of unintelligent reading is harmful.  Like cotton candy, it’s fun for the moment, but it won’t sustain you.  Train your brain to crave the weightier reads the way you teach your body to desire healthy food.  I promise you, there are no negative side effects to nourishing your mind.

As for the link to democracy, even if someone lies to you about a situation, you will know better because you took the time to read and find out.  You will not be led around by the nose.  You’ll be mentally strong enough to meet their attempted deception head on.  You will understand what is being said to you.  What’s more, you’ll be prepared to fight back.

So I implore you:  Seek out quality reading.  Treasure it and share it with the upcoming generations.  Write the very best you have to offer.  By providing worthy literature, poetry, screenplays, etc., you will leave a foundation for the youth.  In return, they will know how to take care of you in your golden years as well as prepare for the generation coming up under them.

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