Saturday, June 23, 2012

CD Review - Destination? Slammer!

True Tales of Life and Laughter

Recorded Live on July 25, 2010 at Beans in the Belfry Café in Brunswick, MD

Available from CD Baby or directly from Geraldine Buckley at
Email:  Snailmail: 5256 Bamburg Ct., Frederick, MD 21703.
$15.00, plus $1.00 shipping and handling.

Reviewed By Linda Goodman

            Geraldine Buckley, a former British convent schoolgirl, is a comedian, a poet, a philosopher, and, above all, a storytelling evangelist. Listeners will fall in love with her self-effacing humor, rapier wit, unique wisdom, and her eagerness to share all the she has learned from life.

            There are eleven stories on this CD, each one a gem. The Night That Changed Everything chronicles Geraldine's first trip to the largest men's prison in Maryland where she teaches poetry to the inmates who have gathered to fill time, but who end up filling their minds with eloquent verse and sentiment as they realize that they are in the presence of someone who feels their pain.  “Yay! Yay, God!”  they cry in a climactic, heart-stirring moment. There is more than one way to “take down” a man.

             Tatton Hall, set in Knutsford, Cheshire in the North of England, details Geraldine’s childhood love of reading and her quest for adventure, inspired by  Enid Blyton’s The Famous Five and Carolyn Keene’s Nancy Drew books. The story culminates in her discovery of a secret passage, to the chagrin of her by-the-book teacher, Miss Lemming.

            Paradise proves to be quite dreary in Bored in Paradise, until a bus load of nuns knocks at the door. Will a little something extra in the Sangria quench their thirst?

            Teachers do not know everything, as The Interview’s Mrs. Blythe proves when she prophecies that her student will find her niche working for the BBC.  Geraldine tries her best, and, in spite of a pair of ill-fitting panty hose, she gets a job working behind the scenes at the fabled network. Will it be everything she hoped for?
           A lost love in Austin, Texas, a job as a radio salesperson, and a parental visit set the scene for Liz Carpenter’s High Hillside, a story that shares the beginning of Geraldine’s life-long friendship with Lady Bird Johnson’s Press Secretary, a woman who knows how to live life without wasting a minute of it.

            Anyone who has ever tried to be the third person to answer a question correctly for a radio show contest will appreciate the humor of Lady in Red. When you are on the radio, ears are everywhere.

            In Hitching Up My Wagon Geraldine talks about the “Road to Damascus” experience that led to her becoming a Pentecostal minister. This short piece segues nicely into The Correctional Academy, where Geraldine must prove her ability to shackle an inmate and “take down” a man before she can secure the job of chaplain for the facility.

            In The Bus, a meeting with a prison gang leader recalls a long ago bus trip to Delhi, India in a bright pink bus, filled with unwashed bodies and Hell’s Angels. This story gave me chills as Geraldine lovingly yet firmly established her turf and saved her prison service. What insights this woman has into human nature!

            This CD ends appropriately with  An Extract From a Franciscan Blessing that wishes for all to be blessed with those things that bring about heartfelt living, justice, and generosity.

            The cover that Andrea Stasulis created for Destination? Slammer! is as colorful and unique as the wonderful teller it showcases. This recording boasts the best CD insert I have ever seen, with liner notes for each story and information about Geraldine’s work.

            This CD is the winner of a Storytelling World Gold Award, and deservedly so. This world is filled with uncertainty, fear, and pain. Geraldine Buckley has found the secret joy that lies within the darkness and these stories bring that joy to life. You will not soon forget her men behind bars, or her fearless, selfless quest to be of service to them. Her blessing to you is these stories, which bear testimony to her belief that, with God, anything is possible. 

Monday, June 4, 2012

On Graduation

(c) Linda Goodman, 1970

They said, “There’s a cold, cruel world outside.
Please listen to us and try to abide by our rules. Stay Inside.”          

So we did.
And some met failure, and some knew success,
And some didn’t bother; they couldn’t care less.

And now the time’s come. We’ll be sheltered no more.
We’ll run to be free.
We’ll unbar all the doors.
And we’ll say we want peace, yet we’ll follow the road
Where God is the plotter and Man is the mold.

And we’ve worked hard and achieved to our best  
And our souls have grown weary and ready for rest,    
Then we’ll remember these fast flying years   
With laughter and wonder and warmth and tears.