Monday, February 24, 2014

The Staying Power of Jupiterian Fropples

February 24, 1965

Jocie Brooke here reporting from Hollyhill, Kentucky. Things have been pretty calm in Hollyhill. That's the way it is in the winter around here. If we don't have a big snowstorm, then nothing really happens in February. Just cold winds and days you think spring will never get here. School is extra trouble in February. Teachers must look at the calendar and decide we need to do twice the work since there are only 28 days in the month. Reports and more reports. All on boring true stuff like why Shakespeare poisoned Romeo and Juliet. Well, not really. That might be interesting. Not as interesting as one of Wes's Jupiter stories, but not as boring as drawing the digestive track for health. Eww!

So how about another bit from that book, Summer of Joy. Last week I told you how I figured out love could be shared without it getting lost when I told Robert why I love Wes. I was still a little worried about how what Wes would do when he met his grandson. I mean, I knew he wouldn't stop loving me, but I sort of needed to hear him tell me that. 

   I was already over being jealous of Robert. I'd lost that even before We told me that Jupiter love is stronger than ten grizzly bears, stickier than bubblegum in hair, and has the staying power of a Jupiterian fropple.

    When I laughed and asked what in the world a Jupiterian fropple was, he grinned at me and said, "Nothing in this world, for sure. A fropple is sort of like the frogs you have down here but some bigger with longer jumping legs. Fropples can hop all the way around Jupiter after eating two teeny little bugs. Never get tired. Never wear down. Never quit. Just keep hopping. Around and around."

   "But why are they hopping around Jupiter?" Seemed like something that would be good to know.

    "Now that's something nobody knows. Mr. Jupiter, he's had the scientists up there on Jupiter working on it for years. They can't figure it out. Of course, they did figure out that they could make rocket fuel from those little bugs. That's how come I'm down here on earth. Bug juice fuel."

    That makes me giggle thinking about it. Bug juice fuel. I'm glad that Wes loves me enough to keep telling me crazy Jupiter stories. Did you have a granddaddy or granny who told you silly stories?

     Remember about those giveaways. If you leave a comment here you might win one of the Heart of Hollyhill books. And you can visit that writer's website to find out about her book celebration giveaway. The deadline to enter is Friday at midnight. I love the prizes. A charm bracelet and a cute little dish with a bicycle and the saying "Take Joy in the Journey." Wow, that's I want to do.  That's what Wes does. All the way from Jupiter.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Jocie Shares a Scene from Summer of Joy

February 17, 1965

Jocie Brooke here reporting from Hollyhill, Kentucky three days after Valentine's Day. It's been snowing and snowing. That's given me lots of time to think about all the different kinds of love and back to some of the things that happened in those Heart of Hollyhill books I'm in. 
You know it's funny that last Hollyhill book is named Summer of Joy because most of it happened in the winter time. We had a bunch of snow then too. And during one of those snows, Robert showed up out of nowhere. I didn't like him much. You know how I love Wes. I mean, Wes is my best friend and my grandfather all wrapped up in one. But he's not really my grandfather, not in any kind of real family kin. He's from Jupiter. I know. He's not really from Jupiter. I've known that forever, but that's what he's always told me. Then Robert shows up - his real grandson in the family kin way. That sort of worried me. I was afraid Wes wouldn't love me the same if he had Robert to love. Here's the scene out of the book where I go out to walk in the snow to think that through, and Robert hunts me down to talk about Wes.

    We walked along without talking for a little ways. I was thinking about claiming I was cold and saying we needed to go back to the house when Robert said, "Your father told me you and my grandfather are real close."
    I wasn't sure what he wanted me to say to that, so I just nodded a little and kept walking. We were almost to the end of the apple orchard, but Mr. Crutcher doesn't mind me walking in his pasture fields next door. Dad walks there all the time when he's praying through something for a sermon or whatever. 
    I thought maybe I should be praying through something. I just wasn't sure what. I wasn't sure why I had that spider crawly feeling inside and tears in my eyes that weren't there just because of the cold wind blowing in my face. Just because proof that Wes wasn't from Jupiter was walking along beside me didn't mean Wes had to stop telling me Jupiter stories. And even if he did, so what? I was too old for Jupiter stories anyway.
     "Tell me about him," Robert said.
     "What about him?"
     "I don't know. Tell me why you love him."
    "Why do you want to know that?"
    "So I can love him the way you do. Like a real grandson would."
    It seemed only fair, so I told him about the spaceship from Jupiter. And about the motorcycle and how Wes talked to the press to keep it running. I told him about the tornado and the tree falling on Wes. I didn't tell him why we were out in the tornado. I figured that would just confuse things. Last I told him about Wes being baptized in the river even though it almost made his ears freeze and fall off. We both laughed about that.
    By the time we walked back to the house, I'd passed some of my love for Wes over to Robert, but the funny thing was I didn't have a bit less inside me. Maybe love really is like a candle flame that keeps burning just as brightly no matter how many other candles are lit from the flame.

Is that how you think love is? 

By the way, I've heard there are some giveaways going on. You can check it out here. And there's a Goodreads giveaway too. Leave a comment here and be in a special drawing for a copy of one of the Heart of Hollyhill books. That sounds like fun, doesn't it?


Monday, February 10, 2014

Chocolates Spell Love

February 10, 1965

Jocie Brooke here reporting from Hollyhill, Kentucky. Snow is still on the ground but the school buses are running again. I don't ride the bus. Dad takes me to school on his way to the newspaper office. Thank goodness. If I had to ride the bus, I'd be on it for an hour. That might be all right if I could read or sleep, but reading while riding makes me upchuck and I've been on buses a time or two. They hit every bump in the road. Way too bouncy for sleeping. Of course, my girlfriend, Myra, likes riding her bus since her boyfriend is on the same route. They sit together and get all moony eyed over each other. She'll probably get a fancy heart shaped box of chocolate candy. Sigh.

I don't have a boyfriend. Myra says I never will if I don't learn how to flirt a little. I tell her I don't care if I don't ever have a boyfriend if I have to go around batting my eyes like I've got sand in them or something. She says she doesn't do that. She just smiles a lot and lets Joseph know how cute she thinks he is. I didn't tell her, but Joseph would never be on my cute boy list. Then again, I don't have a cute boy list. Maybe I should make one and then I could study up on flirting. I do have guys I like to talk to, but I can't imagine holding hands with any of them. Eww! They're just buddies.

Still it might be fun to get one of those heart boxes. We ran this ad in the paper last week. Dad should get one for Leigh. He did get her chocolate once, but nothing as fancy as this. Just a big chocolate bar back when he was trying to remember how to be romantic. He said it had been a long time since he'd even thought about romance before Leigh began to bat her eyes at him. But I don't know if she's got much chance of getting one of those neat heart boxes of chocolates. Dad says you're not getting a very good return for your money on the candy inside. That it's all show. 

But even if I don't know much about flirting, I know that the return on that fancy Valentine heart is not what's inside the box. Leigh would like it. Dad spending that kind of money on a box of candy would make her feel loved. But he probably won't. Even if Zella tells him to. Dad is sensible. Maybe that's why I'm not a good flirter. I'm sensible too. Gee, that sounds horrible at my age. It's okay for Dad to be sensible, but I'm fifteen. I'm not supposed to be sensible yet, am I? 

Wes says not to worry, that I've done lots of silly stuff and I probably won't be really sensible for at least three years. He says on Jupiter girls my age have purple hair and instead of giggling when they see a boy they think is cute, they hop up and down like a bunch of crazy rabbits. I guess it's good I'm not a Jupiter girl. I don't think I'd like all that hopping although purple hair sounds kind of neat. Wouldn't that give poor Aunt Love a stroke? She'd be quoting me lots of verses out of the Bible, for sure.

But if you aren't so sensible and know about romance, you should buy your sweetheart something special for Valentine's. Or write them a love poem. Sigh. Now that I could do. If I had any boys on my cute boy list. 

So have you ever gotten one of those fancy boxes of candy for Valentine's? If so, maybe you can give me some flirting hints.


Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Thinking Joy in the Middle of Winter

February 4, 1965

Jocie Brooke here reporting from Hollyhill, Kentucky. First I have to let you know that last week was a disaster here in Hollyhill. A foot of snow and cold. Somebody told Dad that it was twenty below out on their farm. Wow! That's too cold to do anything except sit by the fire and hope you don't run out of wood or coal or gas or whatever keeps your house warm. We used to have a coal stove, but a couple of years ago Dad decided Aunt Love was getting too old to fix fires, so he put in a gas stove. Now we just have to worry about running out of gas in the big tank out back.

Did you miss me last week? I guess it was so cold it froze my brain and I forgot about making my report from Hollyhill. Nothing was happening anyway. Well, I mean nothing ever happens around here, but this was worse even than usual. Everybody stayed holed up in their houses and watched the snow blow around. I like snow, but when it's real cold you can't make a snowman or even a decent snowball and the sled runners sink down in the powdery stuff.

Sunday, Dad and the deacons called off church. That seemed weird too, but the church is out in the county and nobody could have driven there because the roads were drifted over. So we had church at home. Dad gathered us around the stove after breakfast and he read Exodus 33, where the Lord lets Moses stand in a cleft of the rock and covers him with his hand while he passes by to let Moses see his glory. After he read the verses, Aunt Love sang the chorus of "Rock of Ages." It did seem to fit, so I joined in and Dad did too. None of us can sing all that great, but Dad says as long as you believe the words in a hymn, your singing sounds good to the Lord. After we sang, Dad said we don't have to be on the mountain with God to see his glory. We can see it everywhere, even in the middle of a snow storm, but best of all, in the hearts and lives of those who believe.

Dad loves the Bible. He says he's proud of me for trying to read through the Bible this year. I'm still reading a chapter every night but I haven't gotten out of Genesis yet. 50 chapters in Genesis. It's going to take me more than a year get through the Bible unless I start reading more than one chapter a night. Dad says I might get bogged down in Deuteronomy, Numbers and Leviticus, that they're books of law with lots of the rules for the Israelite nation. Like what you do if your neighbor steals your cattle. Dad says somehow Jesus turned all these rules into two. Love God with all your heart and love your neighbor as yourself.

So now the snow is melting and March is on the way. That's when the third Hollyhill book will be out there for readers. Do you see me on the cover? What do you think about my picture there? I'm at Leigh's apartment playing her records. She's got some great 45s. Lots of Elvis. I think he must be her favorite singer. I don't know which I like best. "You Ain't Nothing but a Hound Dog" or "Love Me Tender." Do you like Elvis? Which is your favorite Elvis song?

(Note from the future) If you haven't got the new book, Summer of Joy, it will be out in about twenty days. Before that you can check out this place on Goodreads,, and sign up to maybe win a copy.