Marilyn Pappano has written a charming holiday romance, Season for Miracles, about Emilie Dalton who has just rescued her sister’s children from placement in foster care as Christmas approaches. Her sister is in sad shape because of drug problems and Emilie hits the road with the kids before they are taken away. She ends up in “Bethlehem”, perfect name for the hometown willing to take them in. She lands in the lovely Victorian home of one the town’s recently deceased residents and assumes the role of the woman’s niece, since the town folk have already jumped to that conclusion. The movie (made for television with the same title as the book) has several mysterious visits by a helpful stranger (Patty Duke).
It’s been awhile since I read the book, but just watched the television show again. I definitely think you need to give the book a read even if you have seen or are going to see the movie. I like holiday romances, this one complete with hunky, cute, caring police officer Nathan Bishop. Of course things eventually turn out well for the makeshift family, just in time to appreciate the true meaning of Christmas.
So if you want to enjoy the holiday with a little romance turn to Ms Pappano for a good read.
Marilyn Pappano now lives in her home state of Oklahoma and she has a great selection of titles in her repertoire. Check out this one or any other of her titles and you’ll be in for a treat. Visit her blog, with her other Twisted Sisters.
When you’re all stressed out from holiday shopping, cleaning, cooking, etc. you might want to stop and read the observations of Miss Alice Robertson in Christmas Time in Indian Territory. She revealed the hardships suffered by her missionary family as they returned to Indian Territory after the Civil War. 1866 Tullahassee I.T. was not a glamous place to be, war ravaged by the Union, it was a struggle to survive and as her story reveals not all the family made it to the next Christmas. It’s a tale of making due with the barest necessities and appreciating Christmas dinner and the meagre gifts. No X-Box 360 for Miss Robertson, instead a book of “improving poetry”.
Recollections of Christmas Morning,
“I hated improving poetry then as I hate it yet, but I knew it was all mother had to give and I tried to like it . After breadfast, which I cooked–fried vension, corn cakes raised over night and baked on top of the stove, with molasses for us all and coffee for father and mother, there were family prayers when father read, as always on Christmas, the wondrous story of the Nativity and mother played on her little old”melodeon,” we all sang joyously “While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks by Night.”
Miss Alice was twelve years old during their first Christmas back in Indian Territory and she wrote about this experience in a newspaper feature fifty years later. Hers was a fascinating life that eventually led her to Congress. She was also the first female postmaster of a Class A Post Office. She lived much of her later years in poverty, and struggled through many difficult times and transitions. My grandmother would call her a “tough cookie”, and she’s a good reminder of all that we have to be thankful for today.
For more about Miss Alice read:
Alice Robertson, Congresswoman from Oklahoma by Reba Neighbors Collins and Bob Burke.
Bill is so right about the Skirvin. We have lost many of our architectural treasures, and it’s been a delightful positive for Oklahoma City to hang on to the Skirvin.
Unfortunately the Criterion Theater was one of our lost buildings. I remember going to see Gone with the Wind there. We had fancy programs and it was a grand old theater. And of course the sad demise of the Biltmore Hotel. My husband and I went downtown to witness the demolition.
We have buildings built by Bruce Goff, but it also includes the tragic loss of Shin’en Kan. But the good news, we’ve hung on to some wonderful architectural structures; like the Price Tower in Bartlesville, which sat dormant for years, the Boston Avenue United Methodist Church in Tulsa and the Skirvin Hotel in Oklahoma City.
And we’re lucky to have books that have preserved our architectural heritage.
Bob L. Blackburn, The Physical Legacy: Buildings of Oklahoma County, 1889 to 1931 (N.p.: Southwestern Heritage Press, 1980).
Available at your local libraries and book stores are many other delightful books showing the varied and wonderful architecture of our state. See if you can’t spot some awesome landmarks you would hate to see disappear in your own hometown.
For awhile there, from the late 60s to the early 80s, it looked like Oklahoma City might erase all architectural traces of its past. Urban renewal cleared whole blocks in an effort to create a modern downtown. Much of the cleared land remained vacant for years as businesses and people continued moving to the suburbs. By the time the city had learned its lesson about the importance of historic preservation to the life of a community, many of the city’s remarkable buildings were already gone.
Perhaps that hard lesson is what made the Skirvin Hotel such an important symbol to the city’s desire for growth and revitalization as the state approached its Centennial year. The hotel had a glorious start in 1911, grew in influence, struggled as Americans embraced their cars and the roadside motels, fell from grace, survived unsuccessful attempts at revival, and had ended up destitute, just waiting for the wrecking ball. But from the street, citizens still saw a beautiful work of art. They held cherished memories of this Grand Dame on Park Avenue. They had slept in its rooms, celebrated at its wedding receptions, dined with family and made business deals in its restaurants. Surely, we couldn’t let this gem go.
Skirvin, by Steve Lackmeyer and Jack Money, is the story of this venerable icon, from glory days to decline and remarkable rebirth as the Skirvin Hilton. But it’s also the story of what people can do when they share a dream.
I heard a rumor at the Skirvin booksigning at the hotel: a similar book may be in the works for Tulsa’s Mayo Hotel, recently restored and reborn as both a hotel and residential address. I can hope and cross my fingers. These two works would make such great bookends for my Oklahoma shelf!
Skirvin is available from Full Circle Bookstore.
Young Bill Young here. Sadie posted an interesting opinion on her Extremely Graphic blog about how you really shouldn’t buy books as gifts, because you really can’t make that pick for another person. Aside from pretty coffee table books and gift cards from bookstores (which I truly love), I completely agree with her when it comes to adults. But not when it comes to children.
I have a nephew and niece and I always give them books for their birthdays and for Christmas. I think children should be surrounded by books. Beyond the initial reading to the youngster, many of these books may never be picked up again. Many of these books may be re-discovered later in the child’s life. And, of course, many of the books may be discovered by visiting friends or by younger brothers and sisters. (I read my sister’s books all the time. She’s a decade older, so I was exposed to the likes of Alfred Hitchcock anthologies, Bullfinch’s Mythology, and Little Women at an early age. Heck, I even read her Archie and romance comic books, which explains why I am totally warped!)
Since I promised another book gift idea for children, here you have it: If My Dad Were a Dog by Annabel Tellis. It features great photo illustrations of a big, lovable Lab and sing-song text that will appeal to ears of all ages: “If my dad were a dog, just for a day,/I’d tell him to sit and I’d tell him to stay….I’d buy him a basket and small scoop to use/when we’ve been on our walks and he’s done daddy-doos.” No, this book will never become a children’s classic, but I’m looking forward to some laughs and camaraderie when I share it this season with my nephew.
So, what books are you getting for the young people in your life?
That’s right. I’m in love… with Chicken Dance, Oklahoma author Tammi Sauer’s latest children’s title. (Young Bill Young here, by the way. Kitty’s letting me bust in on her blog once again. She’s a generous soul!)
I’m a sucker for clever picture books. Reading to children is fun, but it’s doubly fun when the book’s humor can be appreciated by adults, as well. Sauer’s partner in crime is illustrator Dan Santat. You can tell this work was both a labor of love and a well-spring of creativity for these two kids-in-adult-bodies. (That’s Sauer and Santat above, getting their squawk on in the book’s end sheets.)
Chicken Dance is an against-all-odds tale that proves you reap the best rewards by being true to yourself. The plot: hens Lola and Marge attempt to win the barnyard talent show in order to capture free tickets to see famous rooster Elvis Poultry in concert. This simple concept is complicated by the duo’s quest to find their unique talent, menacing punk ducks who have won the barnyard competition every year, cows jumping over the moon, goats eating tractors, a surprise ending, and much more. The book jacket features an Elvis Poultry album cover with songs like “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Wattle.” Even the authors get in on the record album parody for their book jacket flap bios.
Just an incredible package of wonder, and a great gift for the young person in your life. I’ll have another holiday book idea for kids later this week, if Kitty lets me bust in on the blog again! (Insert smiley emoticon here.)
Thomas Friedman, Pulitzer Prize winner, journalist for the New York Times and author of Hot, Flat and Crowded, is coming to the University of Oklahoma to receive the Gaylord Prize for excellence in Journalism. Go to his blog, for an
audio address on Global warming and an audio preview of this book. It also looks like OU is offering to their students an informal discussion with Friedman.
Norman seems to be the reading capital of Oklahoma this season having both Sarah Palin and Thomas L. Friedman and showing some interesting diversity in their selection of author visits.
According to Amazon the Kindle is flying off the shelves, of course they are the folks selling it so they wouldn’t be saying
‘No one wants this thing and it’s still way too high and squinty’. Anyway I’m still unconvinced.
There are lists and lists of the Best Books for 2009 out there. The one I thought very peculiar came from USA Book News . I think it is more of a “pay to play” list but since I haven’t read the titles I guess I shouldn’t be too judgmental.
Of course there are the old standbys of great lists, PW Publishers Weekly; a list for the millennium from Millions and of course there is your own list this year. So ponder your 2009 choices, review your past reads, think about keeping a list next year (always think I will but never do) and tell me what your best read was this year, and will you be reading on a Kindle in 2010?