Friday, March 16, 2007

A reader speaks

I finally turned the bedroom light out at 2 a.m. this morning. Why? Because I had to finish reading Junkyard Blues. Kudos to the author.
Jeanette Ashworth
Oakdale, California

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Junkyard Blues

Check out my new novel, Junkyard Blues.

According to Catherine Radcliffe, a professional actor, the story is a twisting, turning dark ride that will haunt your finish line.
Two million in drug money. Ride behind a Vietnam vet as the drug cartel chases him and his motorcyle across Texas, California, and into Mexico.
The novel is available through Just click on the bookstore to find it.
After you read the adventure, send me an email so I can print your review.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Letters from a soldier

I first met Army Second Lieutenant Michael Mendez at the Elk Grove post office. Actually, it was his mother standing in line behind me as we waited to mail Christmas packages to our sons serving in Iraq. I was sending a box of paperback books to my son Kelly's unit somewhere north of Baghdad, hoping it would help them pass the lonely hours when they were not searching the war torn streets for insurgents.
"Give me your son's address," I said to the lady I had just met, "I'll send some books."
"Don't send Bibles," she warned. "It's a Muslin country."
Friends of the Library, Elk Grove affiliate, was happy to donate a dozen used paperbacks and I boxed up a variety of genre to mail off. Mixing westerns, romances, science fiction, and mystery novels, I felt there was something for everyone. I have sent other packages to soldiers and recieved no reply. There is no need for a thank you because it is me thanking them. But my heart lit up when I got a letter from Lt. Michael Mendez of the 652 MP Company.
"I put the books out in the day room for all the men to share," he wrote. "It is people like you, willing to help out those you don't know that makes this nation great."
The note revealed a spiritual vein when he ended with "Jehovah God keeps us safe. Please keep us all in your prayers."
For some reason I'm not sure of, I didn't want to let go of this soldier. I wrote to him, asking if I could send more books. He answered, telling me more about his life. He is in the Florida National Guard and has a wife and daughter he has not seen since November. The baby was only days old when he was deployed to Iraq.
"Thank you for your support," he wrote. "Please keep the soldiers and the Iraqi people in your prayers."
I sent a card, told him how proud his daughter would be of him one day when she was older and understood what he did. His next letter filled me with amazement.
'It's nice to know complete strangers are thinking of us," he wrote. "Of course I don't think of you as a stranger even though we haven't met."
His letter told me he had graduated from Florin High School, and then earned a bachelor's degree from the University of Florida. His dad, also named Mike, is a preacher at the Mack Road Church of Christ.
"I invite you to visit sometime," he wrote, putting down the address.
Many people believe there are no accidents in life, that everything has a plan and a purpose. I guess I believe that also. We pass through each other's lives for brief moments and the reason for it is not always clear to us. The Word tells us we see "through a glass and darkly."
Now when I spot a car with a Support Our Troops sticker on the trunk lid, forgotten and fading in the sun and rain, I wonder what that means to the owner of that car. The Bible says "by their fruits you will know them."
Soldiers and Marines are away from home, doing the job most Americans won't do. Like hundreds of other people wanting to help, I extended my hand, and to my honor, a young soldier reached out and took it. I wonder if it can only be happenstance that he grew up attending a Church of Christ just a couple of miles away from the one where I am a member.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Just a nannothought or two

Get a clip

If I watch one more interview with the female celebrity constantly pushing her long hair back, I will abandon Larry King Live! forever. From queen Nor to Priscilla Presley, the beautiful and rich spend the entire hour pushing their expensive locks away from their face. I beg them to cut their hair or get a clip!


How does it happen, all those shoes cluttering the asphalt on busy streets and intersections? I see them tossed from car windows and left like garbage. Mostly tennis shoes, but not always, mostly single, but sometimes in pairs. Who pitches shoes from cars as they travel through the suburbs and never bothers to retrieve them?

Saturday, June 25, 2005

A nannosecond message to Karl Rove

To the uninformed and slimball Karl Rove, I want to say that many of us liberal Democrats have children fighting in Iraq. His remarks are stupid and cruel. But what can you expect from a fat, old, bald man who has never done a brave thing in his life. Would love to see him prove his patroitism in combat next week along side a true American. But then, I recall that he loves to demean soldiers and their valour.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Right brained and left winged

The day my best friend, Sandy and I made our usual stop at the local record store on Webster Street in Alameda and found an albums with drummer Louis Belson on the cover was a turning point in our lives. Two 16 year old rebels, right brained and left winged, we were not in the mainstream of the Encinal High School class of 1956.
The City of Alameda, something of an appendage to Oakland, was a strange mixture of Navy and military support families on one side of town, and upper middle class on the other. Encinal High was where the poorer kids attended school. Lower income is today's term.
When Sandy and I found jazz, we found a way of life. Our peers were doing the bop to Elvis, but we were watching swing dancers at the Ali Baba Ballroom moving to the sounds of Count Basie. Mostly, we like to sit at a table drinking cokes during a Sunday afternoon jam session at the Blackhawk Club in San Francisco. An aspiring Johnny Mathis would sing and who ever was the star attraction would take the stage. We became, in those years, jazz snobs, turning our noses up at any other musical form and missing out on the musical revolution going on around us.
Sandy and I hung out with jazz musicians and radio disk jockeys too old for us. We sat in the Fillmore in San Francisco's mission district and turned a jaded ear while the likes of B.B. King and even Louis Armstrong played on stage. The jazz musicians beside us knew better. Now I do also.
By the time we graduated from high school and went out into the real world, jazz was beginning to take a back seat in the music world that had previously used it to score movies, enhance cocktail parties, created festivals and even built night clubs to showcase it. The great Miles Davis tried to melt into the new with his "fusion" innovations. Sand, jazz, and I went in separate directions.
In my late 30s, as a divorced woman, I went through a Country Western faze, dancing in big bars, wearing boots and jeans. I must admit it was a good time even though my friends had no idea who Chet Baker or Anita O'Day were. The Eagles and that melodic story telling style turned me on in the 80s. I was a long way from jazz.
A few years ago, my friend and night club owner, Big Mac Daddy, taught me to listen to the blues. I love the simple rowdiness of it all. But, there are so many variations, I am confused between the Chicago, Texas, Delta, West Coast, and Road House styles. I'm a lover of the down home, front porch, dirt yard style that seems to have faded when the blues blended with rock and roll.
The heroes of jazz are mostly dead now. Their time has come and gone. Young jazz musicians today do their own creations and play mostly to their self. Maybe they don't know the standards that were the heart of jazz in the 40s and 50s.
Still, I collect the CDs of Stan Kenton and Stan Getz. Still, I listen to June Christy and Chris Conner in hushed reverence. Once in a while I hear from Sandy and she tells me she likes Sting now. It makes me sad to hear her say that. Forever right brained and left winged, I can't let go of the music that lifted me from the mundane. I may not have become a writer with jazz.
Maybe it's all over. But, wait! Who is this trumpet player called Chris Botti?

Friday, March 18, 2005

Silver Star Shining

Awards are not uncommon in today's world. Most people have one hanging on a wall, gathering dust on a shelf, or tucked away in a forgotten place. Yet some awards just carry more weight than others, even leaving a mark in history. An oscar, Most Valuable Player, a Silver Star.
I watched as a silver Star as pinned on my son's chest March 10 at Fort Campbell, Ky. The second highest award an enlisted man can recieve, the Silver Star is the symbol of uncommon gallantry under fire against a foreign emeny of the United States. My son's name will be added to a list that includes Audie Murphy, Douglas MacAathur, John McCain, and John Kerry. Kelly Mahon will be in the company of heroes forever. Only an act of congress can take that away.
He was a rowdy boy who always tried his best. He loved to compete and took risks. From Little League catcher to gymkhana racer, wild bull rider in pro rodeo, he went on to join the Army and jump out of airplaes with the 101st Airborne. He was a member of the Long Range Surveillance unit during Desert Storm, qualified as a Ranger and Pathfinder before making it into the most elite group the Army has, Special Forces. He would not rest until he was picked as on of three out of 100 applicants to wear the Green Beret.
I watched him on stage as they related that night in Iraq when he crawled under crossfire to pull another SF soldier to safety, then led an attact against Al Qaeda terrorists holed up in a two story house. It is a mother's nightmare and pride.
I'm against war, especially this one. Yet I respect the men and women who so courageously answer their country's call. Too many do not. Every man I have ever loved has served his country and worn its uniform; my father, my brothers, my husband, my son. They have no regrets. They are proud of Kelly also.
I wear a peace sign and mourn the name of every fallen sevice man and woman. I ask congress to bring our people home alive. I do what little I can as a member of Grandmothers for Peace.
Bravery, patriotism, and leadership are not about war, but are conditions of the heart.