The Woods

I’ll admit it;  I volunteered to run all errands and transport the kiddos everywhere so that I could finish Harlan Coben’s audiobook The Woods, read by Scott Brick.  Selected for me by a phenomenal librarian (shout out to all librarians everywhere) at Maryville Community Library, I had a feeling it was going to be good, and it was.  Not certain of the genre or even the storyline, I popped it into my mom-van CD player  and entered county prosecutor Paul Copeland’s world.

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Copeland, a recent widower and now single father of a six-year-old daughter, is in the midst of a high profile rape case while thrown back in time when asked to identify a dead body, a body he hadn’t seen in twenty years.  A body connected with the death of his sister and responsible for the loss of his first love, a love Sheryl Crow would agree ” . . . is the deepest.”

On his journey to uncover the truth, Copeland revisits his adolescent youth while uncovering his own familial history.  Think KGB meets summer camp.

Read by Scott Brick, winner of over thirty Earphone Awards, I was able to keep Russian characters separate from Latino characters separate from . . ..  In other words, I was never lost in the complexity of the characters with only one actor speaking all the parts.  Bravo!

I am looking forward to a return trip to the berry so that I can be surprised again by a librarian extraordinaire’s selection of an audiobook.  You can’t beat a free listen!

The 1820 Colonel Benjamin Stephenson House

A few weeks ago, I accompanied my daughter and her third-grade class on a field trip to The 1820 Colonel Benjamin Stephenson House.  Having recently visited Conner Prairie, an interactive 1800s historical park, it was nice to view a similar piece of the nineteenth century, one located in our own backyard.

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Upon arrival, no time was wasted (which I like) as our group was led into the orientation room by a female docent dressed in period clothing.  Here we viewed a video explaining the history of the Stephenson family in Illinois, highlighting their time in Edwardsville and this Stephenson House. 

Once the video was complete, we were ushered outside where a male docent (again, in period dress) with quite a sense of humor explained the architecture of the house both inside and out. 

From there, our group entered a separate building which housed the kitchen.  Educating us on the particulars of canning and food preservation, students were given the opportunity to string beans for drying above the fireplace and tamp down the cabbage for the purpose of making sauerkraut. 

Our final station consisted of learning how water was transported by the use of a shoulder yoke and how those living in the 1800s cleaned their clothing.  Again, this interactive tour allowed students to try on a shoulder yoke as well as stir the laundry in the boiling pot and attempt to remove stains by the use of a washboard.

Disappointed our tour had come to an end, I look forward to revisiting the Benjamin Stephenson House while my daughter looks forward to Mrs. Lucy’s Academy for Young Ladies, a summer camp offered at The 1820 Colonel Benjamin Stephenson House.

I Was Told There’d Be Cake

As I’ve mentioned before, I like to know how people come across any and all books they read.  While having lunch the other day with two amazing women blessings and discussing my weekly three-hour drives to see a loved one, they suggested I listen to audio books while travelling in the car.  Eureka!

The last time I can recall listening to audio books was when I drove three hours from grad school to home, which is a long time ago.  Thus, I was anxious to explore the offerings at our local library.  My squirts, now pros on two wheels, and I hopped onto the bike trail across the street from our house and found our way to Glen Carbon Centennial Library (in one piece, I might add).  Here I explored nearly four rows of books on cd, a welcome increase in selection from years past.

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A foodie at heart, the title which caught my eye was Sloane Crosley’s I Was Told There’d Be Cake, a New York Times bestseller.  A compilation of essays told in Crosley’s own voice, this was the ideal reintroduction to audio books for me.  I didn’t have to remember a cast of characters or settings.  Instead, I  only had to hone in on one nonfictional account at a time ranging from the mystery of the bowel movement found on the rug in her small New York bathroom to her near death experience with hemochromatosis (yes, I didn’t  know what this ailment was before listening either).

Crosley’s careful manipulation of words made me giggle aloud as I waited in my lane for prescriptions to be filled or checks to be cashed.  I even found myself more than a tidy bit miffed when the GPS lady interrupted as I was trying to drive to a new-to-me locale.

So, if it has been a while since you have listened to an audio book or never tried one before, pick up Crosley’s I Was Told There’d Be Cake and listen to her straightforward story told in her own words.

Five Minute Friday: Door

Door.  I travelled to see a loved one this week who has been diagnosed with dementia.  She and a male friend had her door barricaded shut with a chair.  After a second knock, the man removed the chair which was wedged under the door knob and opened the door.

With this disease, I am never certain what I will encounter before I pass through her door. . .

During my visit, she showed me pictures of a man to whom she was once married.  She told me, “He was so nice to me.”  Having lived with this man she was referring to for several years while growing up, I know, for a fact, he was often not nice to her, his wife, as he had extreme sexist beliefs which manifested into condescending remarks and infidelity.

I had always joked with this woman after this marriage had ended that she had now transformed into a man hater of sorts since she often exclaimed, “I don’t need any man!”

This week I witnessed that her door on those negative memories with him had now closed, or, at the very least, for the time we sat together on her bed and sorted through pictures.

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In my forty-three years, God has presented me with a plethora of doors to open and walk through with my entire being.  Some I have entered with no thought to the consequences, some I have attempted to hold shut, and some doors I have clawed at wishing they would open just one more time . . . one more time.  Door.