Tuesday, February 25, 2020

A wonderful summer read!

Book Review
 
Song of Sugar Sands
 
Author: Debra Coleman Jeter
 
Reviewed By Linda Goodman, Storyteller
happytales@aol.com
 
         
          Song of Sugar Sands is a Christian romance novel that brings together a lukewarm Christian woman and an on-fire Evangelical preacher.
          I usually do not care for romance novels, but Song of Sugar Sands has such sharply drawn characters that I could not put the book aside.
          Acadia Powers has it all figured out. She was not one of the most popular girls in her high school, but she makes up for that in college. Her goal is to get into medical school and become a doctor. Her heart is not really in it, though. What she really wants is to fall in love.
          Enter Peter O’Neil, who is on fire with his faith. What he needs is a partner to help him shepherd his flock, once he gets one. Can two people who are polar opposites really make a marriage last?  Acadia is willing to step up and do her part.  Unfortunately, a cold congregation eats away at Peter’s lack of confidence. In the meantime, Acadia’s conscience wrestles a deep, dark secret that is making her life miserable and causing her to question whether or not her marriage is a mistake.
          Acadia is a three dimensional character whose strength is tested again and again. That only makes her stronger, though, as she faces such controversial issues as domestic violence, gay marriage, and death of a much loved friend. I did not like Acadia at first, but she grew on me. I came to respect her willingness to help those less fortunate than herself. I also admired her honesty and strength of character.
          This is the first book in the Sugar Sands series. I look forward to reading the next one. 

Monday, December 23, 2019

Angels


Angels

©Linda Goodman 12/21/19

Little Children, have no fear.

Last night there were angels here.

Here to praise a tiny boy;

Flesh and blood, not plastic toy.

Here to make the darkness light,

Filling the world with beauty bright.

Now I come so you will know.

NOW GO! Tell others who don’t know.

Amen! Hallelujah! May God be praised!

For giving this miracle to us this day.

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Nickels for Dimes


Nickels for Dimes

By Linda Goodma

© Linda Goodman 2007

 If you are familiar with my stories, you have already met Brother Lee. I am sad to say that Lee left this world on September 20, 2019. Alzheimer's Disease showed him no mercy. Lee is a big part of my story Nickels for Dimes. I am posting it in his honor. You can watch the video of this story on my website on the "Hear Linda Tell tab."

            In August 1961, on an oppressively hot and humid day (made even more oppressive by my having just played four innings of kickball), my nine-year old body lay stretched across the bed in the room that I shared with my five-year old sister Evelyn.  I was trying to get cool.  But there was no air conditioning, and the fan just circulated hot air. 
 
            In my hand I held a nickel, my allowance for the week.  Believe it or not, in those days a nickel would buy an eight ounce fountain Coca Cola with chipped ice or a one-scoop ice cream cone.   What it would not buy was both.  Therein lay my problem.  I could not decide which one I wanted.  Would it be the cold energy of the Coca Cola, or the cool comfort of the ice cream? 

            I was just about to let a flip of my nickel make the decision for me, when I noticed my baby sister Evelyn’s money jar on her side of our dresser.  It was really just a pickle jar that Momma had washed out.  Daddy cut a slit in the lid so that she could use it as a bank. That bank was filled almost to the top with nickels, dimes, and quarters.   Unlike my brothers and me, who spent our nickels as soon as we got them, Evelyn put all of her nickels in that bank.  And when relatives came to visit, they would put dimes and quarters in there because she was so cute.

            As I stared at that money jar, I thought to myself, if I take just one nickel from that jar, Evelyn will never know.  Heck, I wouldn’t even know if there was a nickel missing from that jar, and I was the smartest person I knew!

            If I took a nickel from that jar, however, that would be stealing, and the Bible said that stealing is a sin. 

            Of course, the Bible also said, “Thou shalt not store up treasures on this earth,” and Evelyn had quite a treasure stored up in that jar.  That meant she was sinning, too.  I figured her sin cancelled mine out.

            And the Bible said over and over again that we should always help those in need.  There I was in dire need of a Coca Cola and an ice cream cone, and my baby sister had not even offered to help me out.  That meant she had two sins to my one, and I figured that entitled me to a free one.

            I got off the bed and walked over to the dresser, but just as I started to reach for that jar, my baby sister Evelyn walked into the room!

            “Hi, Sissy!” she greeted me.

            “Hi, Ev…Evelyn,” I stammered.  “I was just admiring your money jar. Why, it’s almost full!”

            “I know,” she squealed.  “I can’t wait for it to get all the way full.  Then I can start a new one.”
            Suddenly, I was possessed by an idea.

            “You know, Evelyn, I can help you with that.  See this nickel I have here?  It’s about twice the size of a dime.  If you give me a dime out of your jar, I’ll give you this nickel and your jar will be that much fuller!”

            “Really?” she innocently asked.  “You would do that for me?"

            I nodded my head and said, “Uh huh.”

            She walked over to the dresser, opened the jar and took out a dime. And as we traded my nickel for her dime, she put arms around me in a big hug and said, “Oh, Sissy!   You’re the best sissy in the whole wide world!”

            Ten minutes later, I was sitting at the counter of the Highway Pharmacy, ordering myself a vanilla ice cream cone and a fountain Coca Cola with chipped ice.  And as I walked home licking that ice cream and sipping that Coke, I thought to myself, boy am I smart!  What other nine-year-old would even think of trading nickels for dimes?

            Soon I passed the ball field, where my brother Lee (who claimed to be in training to be a major league pitcher) was playing catch with his friend Roy Allen.  I decided to mess with him.

            “Hey, Lee!” I hollered.  “Your glove is on the wrong hand!”

            That startled him and he dropped the ball. “Get outta here, goon face! You’re messin’ with my concentration!” he sneered.

            I just laughed and kept on licking that ice cream and sipping that Coke.

            The next morning our neighbor, Mrs. Oliver, asked me to go to the little store around the corner and get some bread and milk for her, because she didn’t want to leave her new baby.  I did as she asked, and she rewarded me with a shiny new nickel.

            Immediately I went to find my baby sister Evelyn, who was in the back yard under a tree, having a tea party with her imaginary friends.

            “Look, Evelyn,” I purred, “I have another nickel.  Want to trade for another dime?”

            She ran into the house, lickety split, and came back with a dime. And as we traded my nickel for her dime, she put arms around me in a big hug and said, “Oh, Sissy!   You’re the best sissy in the whole wide world!”

            Ten minutes later, I was sitting at the counter of the Highway Pharmacy, ordering myself a chocolate ice cream cone and a fountain Coca Cola with chipped ice. And as I walked home licking that ice cream and sipping that Coke, I thought to myself, I must be pretty close to being a genius.  If I keep this up, I’ll be a millionaire by the time I’m ten!

            About that time I passed the ball field where, once again, my brother Lee and his friend Roy Allen were playing catch. 

            “Hey, Lee!” I hollered, “Where’s that stick?”

            Lee turned with his hands on his hips to look at me.  “What stick?” he questioned.

            “That ugly stick you got beat with!” I laughed spitefully.
 
            He just shrugged.  “You got no room to talk,” he said.  “You’re so skinny, if you turn sideways and stick out your tongue, you look like a zipper.”

            That hurt!  I had been sensitive about my weight ever since I had passed out in school, and the principal had sent me home with a note saying that I could not return until I had seen a doctor.  He thought I was starving, the note said.

            But I was not about to let Lee know that he had gotten to me.  I got right in his face and starting taunting him, “COKE AND ICE CREAM! COKE AND ICE CREAM! COKE AND ICE CREAM!”

            Then with a big gulp, I swallowed the rest of my coke, and with a gigantic bite, I devoured the rest of that ice cream. 

            Then I started to run, but I tripped over my shoe lace, which made Lee and Roy Allen start laughing.  I wasn’t laughing, but I wasn’t crying either, because there, right on the ground in front of my face was ANOTHER NICKEL!  I scooped it up and ran home as fast as I could

            Of course, the first thing I did was to go looking for my baby sister Evelyn.  I found her in our bedroom, changing the diaper on her Betsy Wetsy doll.

            “Look, Evelyn!”  I announced.  “I have another nickel!  Want to trade for another dime?”

            She couldn’t get to her money jar quickly enough.  And as we traded my nickel for her dime, she put arms around me in a big hug and said, “Oh, Sissy!   You’re the best sissy in the whole wide world!”

            The next afternoon, I was sitting at the lunch counter of the Highway Pharmacy, ordering myself a vanilla ice cream cone (there were only two flavors in those days) and a fountain Coca Cola with chipped ice.  And as I walked home licking that ice cream and sipping that Coke, I thought to myself, “God is behind me on this!  He wants me to trade nickels for dimes!  After all, nickels are appearing miraculously everywhere!”

            As I approached the ball field, I noticed that Lee and Roy Allen were not playing catch this time.  They were sitting on the curb.  And as I approached, Lee stood up and walked over to meet me.

            “You know, Sis,” he began, “I’ve just been sittin’ here, wonderin’ about somethin’.  For three days now I’ve been seeing you walk past here with an ice cream cone in one hand and a Coca Cola in the other.  And what I want to know is, how can you get ice cream AND Coca Cola three days in a row, when you get a nickel a week for allowance, just like me?”

            “Lee,” I retorted, “you might be five years older than me, but I’m WAY smarter than you.”

            “You’re not as smart as you think you are,” he informed me, “if you think that I’m gonna believe that you all that ice cream and all that Coca Cola on just a nickel as week allowance.”

            I bristled.  “I got my ways.”

            “I know that,” he nonchalantly replied. “And I know exactly what your ways are, too.  See, the way I have it figgered, Mr. Gilliam, the man behind the lunch counter at the Highway Pharmacy, feels real sorry for you because you’re so ugly.  So he gives you ice cream and Coca Cola for free.”

            “That not true!”  I insisted.  “I paid for all my ice cream and Coca Cola!”

            Ignoring my agitation, Lee continued, “I figger that Mr. Gilliam gives you that  ice cream and Coca Cola as soon as you walk in the door, ‘cause he wants to get you of his store quick, before you scare the other customers away.”

            Now I was really mad.  “That’s not true!  I paid for every bit of ice cream and Coca Cola I got!”
            He didn’t believe me.  “Ain’t no way you could have bought all that ice cream and all that Coca Cola when you’re only gettin’ a nickel a week.”

            “That’s what you think!” I exploded.  “I’ve been trading our baby sister Evelyn, nickels for di…..” suddenly I realized what I was telling him.  “…uh oh… and…and you could, too, if you wanted,” I whined.

            “I can’t believe it!” Lee exclaimed.  “I can’t believe you’ve been cheatin’ our baby sister! I would never do that for any amount of money!

            “I named a trade,” I reasoned frantically.  “She agreed to it.  You can’t name that cheatin’”

            “It’s cheatin’, all right,” he sneered.  “And I’m gonna make sure that Momma knows about it, too!”

            “If you tell on me, I’ll tell on you!” I threatened.

            He was indignant.  “What are you gonna tell on me?”

            I pointed at Roy Allen.  “I’m gonna tell that you’ve been makin’ fun of me in front of you friend yonder!”

            Lee shook his head. “I don’t care what you tell.  I ain’t lettin’ you cheat my baby sister no more.”

            As I walked home after that confrontation, I savored every last lick of that ice cream and every last sip of that Coke.  I knew it would be a long time before I got either one again.

            Sure enough, as soon as Lee got home, he pulled Momma aside and whispered in her ear.  Her eyes widened and her nostrils flared as she turned towards me.  “Linda!” she ordered, “I want you to go to your room and think about what you’ve done!

            I went to my room, but I did not think about what I had done.  I was too busy thinking about what my momma was going to do.

            She let me stew for a couple of hours.  Then she came into my bedroom.  Hands on her hips, she cocked her head and said, “Linda, you sure are a smart young’un.  Wonder how it is that a woman like me, with just a sixth grade education, mind you, gave birth to a young’un smart as you?”

            I smiled sweetly.  “God blessed you, Momma.”

            “He surely did,” she responded.  “He blessed me with a maid for the rest of the summer.”

            My baby sister got my nickel allowance for the next three weeks.  They were just enough to fill her jar so that she could start a new one. 

I spent the last 3 weeks of summer vacation dusting, sweeping, mopping, scrubbing, washing, and polishing. Momma passed that time lying on the devinette, eating bonbons and watching her stories.  Every once in a while, she would look at me, point, and say, “You missed a spot.

            It wasn’t too hard a punishment. I could take it.  What I couldn’t take was my baby sister Evelyn’s reaction.  She came up to me and said, almost apologetically, “Momma won’t let me trade you nickels for dimes anymore, Sissy.”  Then she whispered in my ear, “She didn’t say anything about quarters, though.

            I couldn’t help myself.  I put my arms around her and gave her a big hug, and with tears in my eyes, I declared, “Oh, Sissy, you’re the best sissy in the whole wide world!”

Sunday, June 30, 2019

Linda Goodman's New Normal

A few months back I was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease, and it is taking its toll. It has affected my memory, my speaking, my eye sight, my balance, and my movement. I have good doctors, and we are working hard on improving my health. I am cancelling all my storytelling engagements for the time being.

I will continue to  post on my blog:
http://lindagoodmanstoryteller.blogspot.com/
I am not sure how often.I will post. My stiff fingers make for SLOW typing.
...
I am in good company. Neal Diamond, MIchael J. Fox, and Linda Ronstadt also have this disease.
https://www.bing.com/videos/search…

"You don't die FROM Parkenson's; you die WITH it." Linda Ronstadt



Saturday, March 30, 2019

Two Ordinary Days

Two Ordinary Days
©March, 2019 Linda Goodman
     Recently I was standing in front of the local Mall, when I noticed an attractive young woman walk out of the anchor store and head to her car, which was situated in the back part of the parking lot. As she walked to the car, I noticed a white truck driving slowly towards her. The driver pulled up beside her and uttered something that I was unable to hear. Suddenly the woman started screaming, "I know you! I can see your face! You are not supposed to be here!"
     Suddenly I realized what was happening. The man was trying to get the woman into his truck against her will. I ran quickly toward the truck, yelling "Free ice cream cones! Come and get 'um! Free ice cream!" Others who were in the parking lot turned their eyes toward us. It was a hot day. The truck burned some rubber as it sped away.
     A couple of teens walked up to me and requested their free ice cream. I explained that there was no ice cream; that it was just a ruse to get folks headed in my direction so they could scare off the fleeing man who couldn’t take no for an answer.
     The following day as I was leaving my doctor's office, a young woman walked over to me. Her skin-hugging clothes were way too tight, and her teeth had not been brushed in a while. She seemed harmless, though, as she exclaimed over my purse and how something so pretty could be so useful as well.
     Then she said, “My niece has allergies and the doctor won't give me her medicine because I don't have the $10 co-pay."
     "I'm sorry," I said."I wish I could give the money to you, but I don't carry cash on me when I go out." (I really would have given the money to her if I had had the money on me.)
     The glass elevator stopped in front of us. We both got on it. As the glass door closed she looked at me with a now sinister look in her eyes. "Do you feel safe with me in this elevator?" she asked.
     "Sure," I said. "Why shouldn't I?" My radar was warning me to stay cool. I was about as far from cool as you can get.
     "Do you really feel safe with just the two of us in this elevator?"
     "It's a glass elevator," I reminded her. "People can see us." The short elevator ride came to a halt. She stepped off the elevator, and then looked back at me. "You're okay," she said "But I think you really were afraid of me. And with good reason, if you really want to know.”
     I giggled nervously as I watched her walk away and get into an old black pick-up truck. She waved as she pulled out of the parking lot.
     Thank God for glass elevators.
     Just two ordinary days.

Friday, February 1, 2019

Blog

FYI: I will not be posting a blog for the month of January 2019.

Thanks!

Linda Goodman
Author/Storyteller/Playwright

Friday, December 21, 2018

Christmas Memories



By Linda Goodman, Storyteller

These memories are nuggets waiting to become full blown family Christmas stories.

Christmas Memories 1979, Portsmouth, VA. Seven year old Melanie and I celebrated Christmas for the first time since her birth. I remember how excited she was to show her friends our first Christmas tree. Bought at People’s Drug store, it stood 24 inches tall and came in a box with ornaments and lights. I placed it in the center of an end table. Her friends were speechless. They could not understand why Melanie was so happy to have such a small tree.

Christmas Memories  1982  Melanie’s first new bicycle! Phil and I were engaged at the time, and he thought Melanie should have a bike that wasn’t rusted. Melanie opened all her presents, and she was happy with all of them. She didn’t think there were any more to open. Phil sent her into the kitchen to get him a glass of water. She came back with the water and asked, “Whose bicycle is that?” You should have seen the look on her face, an amazing mixture of delight and surprise, when Phil told her, “It’s yours.”

Christmas Memories  Every year I waited to hear my bother Allen’s Super Baby stories on Christmas Eve. Super Baby could do anything! He saved Christmas every year as he battled the likes of Ebenezer Scrooge and the Grinch. My mother made us go to bed at 6:00 pm on Christmas Eve. Of course, we couldn’t sleep that early; but we weren’t bored. Allen’s stories kept us entertained.

Christmas Memories  1969 - My brother Lee's first Christmas after coming home from Viet Nam. I remember all the horror etched upon his face; but we were happy because he was home and safe. We were certain he would bounce back quickly, surrounded by the people who loved him. We had no idea how long that war would be fought in his head. We had no clue what horrors he had witnessed. We were just relieved to have him with us.

Christmas Memories 1983  Christmas in Bay City, Michigan brought about 3 firsts: our first Christmas as a family (Phil and I had gotten married in May); our first trip to actually chop down a live tree at a local Christmas tree farm (which served hot apple cider and popcorn balls to everyone looking for a tree); and our first white Christmas. We also visited the little town of Frankenmuth, which was a cozy winter wonderland at Christmas time.  It took my breath away. I have never had such a perfect Christmas.  http://www.frankenmuth.org/things-to-do/christmas/

Christmas Memories  1958-1970 Christmas Eve services at Asbury United Methodist Church on Deep Creek Boulevard in Portsmouth, Virginia. At the age of 6, I started out as an angel in the chorus or our Christmas pageant and worked myself up to narrator by age 10. At 12 years of age, I was invited to join the junior choir, which participated in the Christmas Eve Service every year. Whenever I was at that church, I felt like I had dozens of parents and hundreds of brothers and sisters. The people not only talked about the love of Christ, they lived it. Asbury was closed in 2014, and I was able to attend its last service. That church and its members will always live in my heart.

Christmas Memories 1970s Visiting Coleman's Nursery's Winter Wonder Land in Portsmouth, VA. The long lines of people began this yearly ritual on the day after Thanksgiving and did not let up until after Christmas. It was Santa's workshop brought to life, with a special place of honor for the Nativity. Melanie and I would spend hours there, studying each of the many scenes. Sadly, a fire destroyed this much loved Christmas landmark. Later, the parts that could be salvaged were put on display in downtown Portsmouth, but it was not the same. Now all that's left are the memories.

Christmas Memories 1998-2012 Christmas dinner with my niece Sandi Lowery's family, my sister Evelyn Wright, and my niece Rachel Davis. They dined with us every Thanksgiving & Christmas while we lived in Richmond. Sometimes my daughter, Melanie Goodman Deal, and her family were able to join us. Today I am missing them all. I can't even look at the green beans (Phil's special recipe) without choking up.

Christmas Memories  1999 Richmond, VA  Due to religious convictions, I raised my daughter, Melanie, to believe that there was no Santa.  She resented that. In fact, when she grew up and had a child of her own, I walked into her hospital room, my arms reaching for my new granddaughter, Morgan, and Melanie clutched her baby close, growling, “This child will believe in Santa Clause!” What could I do but play along?  And I must admit that when I awakened on the Christmas day that Morgan was three years old, the first year she was aware of all the hoopla, I was thrilled to hear her sit up in bed and loudly call out, “Did he come?” Then I watched in awe as she walked downstairs and entered the wonderland of toys that her pawpaw and her daddy had assembled for her.  She went from one to the other, hugging her new doll, playing her new keyboard, unpacking her tea set….. Finally laughing in delight as she spotted the empty plate and glass that had held cookies and milk for Santa. She was speechless when she found the letter that Santa had left for her. She was smiling and crying at the same time as her mother read the letter to her. I must admit that I shed a few tears of my own as I watched her big blue eyes widen with wonder.

Christmas Memories  1962 Opening presents around the tree with my family. I rarely ever got what I wanted, but I still felt blessed. My two best friends had been abandoned by their fathers. Their mothers had to go on welfare until they found jobs (that paid much less than was needed to support their families). I, on the other hand, had two parents who loved their kids and each other. I also had been taken in, along with several other children in my neighborhood, by a church that treated kids who attended church by themselves like family. Without the examples set and the love offered by my family and my church, who knows how my life would have progressed. God made sure that I ended up in the right place. There are no coincidences.