The following is a guest post for great book released this week. Plus the author and publisher, Anaiah Press, have included a chance to win a $20 giftcard on ITunes!
Bricks by John Davidson
Surge, Anaiah Press
Sixteen-year old Cori Reigns learns that not all tornadoes take you to magical places. Some take your house, your school, and life as you knew it. Struggling to put the pieces of her life back together, Cori learns to rebuild what the storm destroyed by trusting a family she didn’t know she had and by helping friends she never appreciated.
Thank you so much for having me on the blog. I thought I’d share a page from Cori’s journal. After the tornado hit, the journal was lost, but some of the pages were found and returned to her. She figured others had seen it so why not share it with everyone. Besides, she kind of felt like it was an open letter to Mrs. Lassiter.
I was thirteen before I really thought about how much Mrs. Lassiter meant to me. Mrs. Lassiter is our neighbor. She lives across the street. Her husband died quite a while ago—doesn’t have any kids of her own. I mean, I guess she doesn’t have any. She doesn’t seem the kind to keep things like that a secret. I think even if she had some, she would talk about them. Like maybe no matter what they did she would still love them. That’s what made me realize how special she was.
It was Thanksgiving. We always ate Thanksgiving at our house. I don’t have any grandparents of my own. My mom’s parents passed before I was born, and my dad—well, if they exist, they don’t care. So like I said, I don’t have any grandparents of my own. I was completely bummed out. Slim’s mom was back, so he couldn’t come over like her usually did, and Toto had gone to her grandparents, she wasn’t around. Not that I don’t love my parents, but it’s nice to have a change of scenery—especially on a five day weekend.
Anyway, Mom and Dad were buzzing about in the kitchen. A football game was on the tv, and there was some instrumental music on the surround sound when I heard the doorbell. Mom and Dad were lost in each other. They get that way sometimes. It’s really sweet and totally eww. I mean, fine, your married, but it’s Thanksgiving. Focus on the giblet gravy already. When I answered the door, Mrs. Lassiter was standing in a dress I’d seen her wear to church. A fresh baked pie rested in her hands.
She handed me the pie then bent over and kissed my cheek. “I know you love pecan pie. Happy Thanksgiving,” was all she said. She then turned and headed back across the street. I sat the pie on the entryway table and chased after her.
“Mrs. Lassiter, why don’t you stay and eat.”
She shook her head. “Thank you, dear. I’ve got plans at the church. They’ve got too many young ladies there who don’t know how to make a proper stuffing.”
Mrs. Lassiter was always going to church. Always. Even when it wasn’t Sunday or even Wednesday. But you’d think she’d get the holidays off.
“You know,” I told her, “you could eat with us. I mean since Thanksgiving is a family-type holiday, and you’re family-type and all.”
It was cold. But I suspect that wasn’t what made her cheeks turn red. She walked over and hugged me. One of those hugs like leftover turkey where there’s plenty to go back to even weeks after you first had it. When she pulled away to look at me, her eyes were moist.
‘Thank you, sweetie. I made an obligation to my church family, but I will certainly stop by later if that’s all right.” She turned to leave.
I’ll admit. I was irritated. It was Thanksgiving, and for the first time, I felt jealous. That’s when I realized what she meant to me. “I could really use an extra person around,” I called out. “It’d be better than nice if you could stay. I mean you get to see the people at church all the time. Couldn’t you eat with us this once?”
She walked over and took me by the hand. “I promise you I’ll stop by later. But those people are counting on me.”
I wanted to shout out how much I was counting on her, but even though the words never left my lips, she must have known.
“I’m not eating with them, dear. I’m cooking with them. We serve the food at the homeless shelter. Being among people who have so little in the way of food—or family, makes me appreciate what I have.”
And that’s when it hit me. I knew just what she meant without her having to say as much. Old people who grew up in the country have this funny way of saying I Love You without ever using any of those words.
“I’d invite you along,” she said, “but you got plans, I know. Maybe some other time.”
“Yea,” I said. I looked at my shoes.
“You should give it a try, sometime. One thing I know. A sure fire solution to feel better about my own situation is to help somebody else out.” She winked, got in her car, and waved as she headed out.
I learned two things that Thanksgiving. First, older people really do make better food, and second, there were a lot of people who’d give anything to have a Mrs. Lassiter in their lives.
About the author:
Married to my bride for twenty-four years, I have an amazing son and a wonderful daughter.
Born and raised in central Oklahoma, I work in education, first as a teacher now in technology curriculum. I write. I read. And in the summer I make snow cones.
Linking up with these hops this week:
Inspire Me Mondays at Create with Joy, Inspire Me Monday at Angie Ryg,Mama Moments Monday, Motivation Mondays, Good Morning Mondays, Inspire Me Mondays at Table for 7, Mommy Monday Blog Hop. The Book Nook – A New Blog Party For Book Lovers! and Booknificent Thursdays.