Here it is at the end of August. I would love to tell you that I have been working hard on completing the book I lost, but alas, t’ain’t so. Somehow that get up and go, got up and hasn’t come back. I have been doing some short essays. One follows a few announcements. I hope you will enjoy it.
Marlene Buchanan and Lynn Hesse will be presenting at the Walnut Grove Library Book Club on September 7 at 11:00 am. Visitors are welcome Lynn Hesse and Marlene Buchanan will be selling books at the Monroe Festival on October 8. They will be in front of the Monroe Walton Center for the Arts Building.
Monroe's Southern Sisters in Crime meets the last Sunday of each month at Monroe Walton Center for the Arts. If you are interested in writing or reading mysteries, join us. We meet in person from 3-5 pm. Contact Marlene Buchanan
for more information firstname.lastname@example.org.
On September 29, 2022, Georgiana Fields, Lynn Hesse, and Marlene Buchanan will be at the Book Festival at Gainesville Library from 3-98 pm. This is a program reserved for local authors.
Monroe Walton Center for the Arts is developing a new program for writers. Although they offer several classes for people who wish to write or perform, the BOOK NOOK will feature published authors. It will become a place for you to
sell your books, hold book fairs, book launches, meetings, etc. If interested in participating contact Marlene email@example.com. The MWCA committee begins developing this new Author Featured program this September and hope to be fully underway in October. The cost--only a membership in MWCA ($25 for one year for seniors, $35 for others. special student price and family prices).
205 South Broad Street
Monroe, Georgia 30655
Blackie, the Patrol Officer
My father was a City of Atlanta Policeman for over thirty years. The last twenty
plus were spend as a School Detective. What we think of as Resource Offices started out
in 1956 as School Detectives. There were two organizations. The city of Atlanta and the
Atlanta Police department in 1954 decided to join forces and establish a unit assigned
only the schools. In 1956, the money was allocated and the division was established.
Sargent J.D. Nash was placed as the unit commander. Daddy and Julian Stephens were
the second and third men hired, eventually six Atlanta policeman were assigned to the
School Detective Unit.
These men focused on crimes against the schools system and children. These men
were dedicated to providing a safe lifestyle for the children of Atlanta. Trust me, I have
been in the office when one of the detectives would be hot on the trail of child abuser.
Determination was strong. I don’t know about now, but for18 years Daddy held the
record for highest number of crimes solved.
My grandfather worked on the train that ran from Atlanta through Stone Mountain
Village. I have the lantern that Daddy would wave and his father would slow down and
my Grandmother would hand him dinner. Then he went to work for the Atlanta Police
Department. He solved one of the biggest bank robberies to happen in Atlanta.
But this story is about a dog named Blackie. Black was a black mixed breed dog
who lived in Bellwood, a division of Atlanta like Buttermilk Bottom and Cabbage Town.
Daddy was a foot patrol man when he started with the Atlanta police department.
Sometime in 1937, Patrolman Ratledge was assigned to a beat in Bellwood. He
asked for the beat route and was told, “Stand at the call box and wait for Blackie, a big
black dog.” Those were his only instructions.
Daddy reported for duty at the call box. A few minutes later Blackie reported for
duty. Blackie walked through the entire beat, stopped at each door that needed to be
checked, introducing his new partner to the store owner and residents.
Although most of the store owner has a little something to give Blackie, Daddy
began bringing an extra dinner with him. They shared their meal and then went back on patrol.
Apparently Blackie belonged to the neighborhood, not one person. Everyone knew
him and treated him kindly. The officer with Blackie was treated with respect and appreciation.
When it was time for Daddy to move to the motorcycle unit, he bade Blackie
goodbye. He told the new patrol officer “Check in at the call box and wait for Blackie.
That is all you need to know.”
Hope September brings you great happiness and wonderful health.
Hugs to you all,
Marlene, AKA Ms. Rat
Here it is at the last day of July. Tomorrow James returns to full time work. He grumbles but he is excited to be back with his “Ladies” at work. In December he will have completed 17 years at Cooper Elementary School.
I graduated from East Atlanta High School in 1967. It doesn’t seem like 55 years have passed. I was terrible shy in school and really didn’t have many friends. Those whom I was close to have moved far away. We keep in touch with face book and email.
One of those friends, Darby is coming to our reunion at Manuel’s Tavern. We have been friends since kindergarten at H O Burgess. That is 67 years if my math is correct. My best friend growing up, Dotti (AKA Pickle) and I have had 71 years of friendship.
Someone mention something that happened such a long time ago—1983. I thought, that isn’t a long time ago. But if you born in the 1980 or 90’s I guess it is a lifetime ago.
It has been so hot that the yards now belong to Mother Nature. We had the truck and all the lawnmowers go down at the same time. With all the shipping issues and people not wishing to work, it took four months to get the part for the truck repair. We are trying to reclaim the yards, but I think I will let the pastures grow up in wildflowers and pines. Gwinnett County messed us up by forcing a sewer line down by the creeks and the lower edge. I think I just might let them maintain it.
Snell is doing very well. He sees the heart doctor in August. I really liked his original heart doctors but I fired them. I wrote the doctors a very nice note about how well I liked them, BUT you could not get a return call from that office. You couldn’t get an apt scheduled to save your life. We moved to the doctors that took care of Mama. I am very pleased with Snell’s care.
Here is a little story I put together. Writing has been hard for me to get back into doing. I am writing some short pieces like this one, but loosing this nearly completed book has done me in.
I am going to try again to get my newsletters and stories on the webpage. I don’t know if I am not crossing my eyes and holding my tongue just right or what. So far, I haven’t been successful.
Happy August, y’all. Take care. And let me hear from you when you have a minute.
Gloom, Despair, Agony on Me
Do you remember the TV show Hee-Haw? It was a variety show that showcased many
country-western entertainers and other stars of the times. There was always a segment that
included my new theme song--
Gloom, despair, agony on me.
Deep, dark depression, excessive misery.
If it weren’t for bad luck, I’d have no luck at all.
Gloom, despair, agony on me.
That’s me this morning. I save the books I am writing on thumb drives. I have three in the
works. One is all finished except for a few editions and editing. One is a good start with concepts
and characters, but only about 6,000 words, quite a ways before it is done. Then there is Finding
Home, the title of the book I have been concentrating on. It was three-quarters complete in the
writing. Something like 60,000 words. I would have finished it this week. I WOULD HAVE
finished it this week. Gloom, despair, agony on me.
Until this morning, I could insert the thumb drive and open up my story. Everything is
gone but part of the first four chapters. I really don’t understand. I thought I was saving it to both
a thumb drive and to the computer program. I “save” at the end of each chapter. My computer
guru said my thumb drive may have been old and it just failed. Well, guess what? If it weren’t
for bad luck, I’d have no luck at all.
I had printed out a full copy of everything. I do that so my husband and I can read it. It is
my way to check that things are flowing in the book the way they flow in my head. Isn’t that
brilliant? A paper copy I can retype into the program. Yes! NO!!! After making the changes from
paper to the thumb drive I tossed the paper copy. “Oh no, you didn’t?” You say. “OH yes, I did.”
I wale in deep, dark depression, excessive misery.
So—four chapters saved. Basically, the intro. Three thousand words in and I had just
announced the victim. Twelve or fifteen hours of my life. Only 57,000 words to be back where I
was. And I can’t seem to recreate those 57,000 words. My brain just fizzled. Do I start over? Do
I just go on to another project? Right now, my plan is to pick up the story at chapter four and
write from there. So far what I have done has been a struggle. I think I must set it aside and let
the cloud of despair lift. In the meantime, I will continue to hum Hee Haw’s song as that is the
only thing circulating in my brain right now.
Ms Rat Writes March, 2022 Newletter
Rabbit, Rabbit, Y’all
The chant of “Rabbit, Rabbit’ said upon the waking on the first day of each month brings you luck. Sometime in the early 1900’s this tradition started. No one knows where or when or who, but saying “Rabbit, Rabbit” supposedly brings good luck due to the rabbit being a symbol of spring and renewal.
I am not superstitious. Not very much. I like black cats. The number thirteen doesn’t scare me. We married on December 13, 1975. So far, thirteen has been good to us.
I am not scared to walk under a ladder, but why take chances. My best friend Pickle (AKA Dotti) walked under a ladder, fell down and had a black for a week or more. Why tempt fate?
Superstitions are interesting, but not dangerous. Knock wood.
If we are together and you hear me mumble “Rabbit, Rabbit”, it isn’t superstition so much as a trying to get any good luck I can. Oh wait…. Okay, I like superstitions that bring good luck, not bad. So I guess I am a little bit superstitous. Aren’t you? Just a little?
Spring arrives March 20
Spring is almost here and I am ready. The daffodils are amazing. The pear and cherry trees are starting to bloom. Things just seem happier and more maneage in the srping.
The Hummingbirds are the way to our area. 1/4 cup sugar to 1 cup water makes a great nectar. Change it every other day. Do not add color. The birds are attracted by smell not the color red.
Soon, I can start bushhogging. My favorite past time. Please note the other matching pair of boots is in the bottom of the pond. Neither boots nor golf carts float. You’ll have to read Life is hard. Soften It with Laughter to get that story.
Did you know? The Colors of Spring and Easter are yellow and purple. I was born on Easter Sunday—many Sundays ago. Purple and yellow are my favorite colors. I wonder if it is just a coincidence.
I have been invited to speak at several programs this spring. I hope you will join me. All of the programs are designed to be light hearted and bring a smile, if not an outright guffaw! (I hope).
Please consider me for any of your gatherings. You can reach me online. (I’m cheap. Just let me sell my books.)
Our son James will be 40 in March. How did that happen? I swear I still feel the labor pains. I know I haven’t lost all that baby fat I put on while pregnant. Here he is at DAY ONE with his Granddaddy, James E. Ratledge.
And here he is pushing 40. Dang, time moves quickly.
A New Book
Finally, I have a title for the next book. Smile! It smooths the Potholes of life. It will be another collection of essays based on the foibles of life—yours and mine. I hope to have it out in May. Keep your fingers crossed and Rabbit, Rabbit.
In the works is a collection of short stories? I don’t have a working title yet. They will be ghost stories with humor. I was thinking about Boo, Y’all.
Anyone want to read my stories as they are written for corrections and cohesiveness? Let me know if you do. It is almost like being an editor, but not quite. You get to have your opinion and your advice heard by me. I don’t think I am hard of hearing.
A Huge Thank You
As always, thank you for taking the time to read my newsletters. I welcome your comments and suggestions.
I write regularly for the GwinnettCitizen.com. My column is Hey Y’all, and can be found under the Opinions section.
Please check out my webpage and sign up for my newsletters. www.MsRatWrites.com
Happy Spring, Y’all
(Please forgive any mistakes. I know I make them. It just proves I am human and don’t have an editor.)