Sunday, June 13, 2021



From Linda Lee Greene, Author/Artist


“If while washing dishes, we think only of the cup of tea that awaits us, thus hurrying to get the dishes out of the way as if they were a nuisance, then we are not ‘washing the dishes to wash the dishes.’ What’s more, we are not alive during the time we are washing the dishes. In fact we are completely incapable of realizing the miracle of life while standing at the sink. If we can’t wash the dishes, the chances are we won’t be able to drink our tea either. While drinking the cup of tea, we will only be thinking of other things, barely aware of the cup in our hands. Thus we are sucked away into the future—and we are incapable of actually living one minute of life.”

― Thich Nhat Hanh, The Miracle of Mindfulness: An Introduction to the Practice of Meditation



Roma, whom her near and dear called “Ro” was my mother, and in all her 69 years of life, she never owned a dishwasher. Day in and day out, Ro cooked for her family and then washed the dirty dishes by hand as she always had done. The eldest female of her seven siblings, she was born at a time when small family farms were still ubiquitous in America. The responsibilities of an “eldest female” in such farm societies began very young and were numerous. Among the chores she assumed when little more than a toddler was washing the dirty dishes at the completion of every multi-course breakfast, dinner, and supper consumed by her large family, seven days a week, every week of every year and nary a day off in between. After each meal, her mother scooted a chair across the worn linoleum-clad floor of the Southern Ohio farmhouse kitchen and set it before the counter on which the chipped and dented metal dishpan of warm water sat next to the cistern pump, and then she lifted Ro onto the chair. The little girl then got busy washing the dishes and stacking them to air-dry on the counter.

          When Mom and Dad built the house on Alkire Road in Grove City, a suburb of Columbus, Ohio, in the late 1950’s, Mom could have made room for a newfangled dishwasher in the kitchen—but she saw no need for it. However, she did opt for a double stainless-steel sink mounted in a countertop of yellow-gold Formica and surrounded by tiles of turquoise plastic on the backsplash. And boy, did that compact workspace see hard duty over the years.

Reva “Re,” one of my mother’s two younger sisters and my favorite aunt, came to visit one September Sunday of 1979, arriving early enough to allow her and my mother ample time to “visit” before getting down to the serious business of preparing the evening meal. Their “visits” were jovial affairs comprised of jawing the latest gossip, hee-hawing, sometimes irreverently, and chewing anything in sight. The photograph of them (Re is on the left; Ro is on the right) illustrates the point better than any words I can bring to mind.

 Among a family of wild cats, Re was the wildest of them all. Stories of her escapades abound in the annals of our family. One of my favorites took place in a ‘beer joint” in Columbus, a rowdy evening that Re, my father, and two of my uncles were hanging out and getting soused together. A fellow drunken patron, slurring epithets and challenges to my father to duke it out then and there didn’t know the peril he was inviting. Re jumped up from her bar stool, thrust her face right up to the big fella’s nose, and hands on hips and blue eyes flashing, she spat, “That’s Lee! He’s my brother-in-law, and anyone who makes trouble for him has to go through me first!” The guy just laughed and turned his back to her. Furious at the affront, Re jumped up on his back and riding him like a cowgirl on a bucking bronco, she pounded him on his skull with her balled fists. It took my father and both my uncles to pull her off the startled man.

With help now and then from their brothers and brothers-in-law, my father and mother built the house on Alkire Road with their own hands, essentially. It was an endeavor rife with successes and challenges, the challenges in large part emanating from my mother’s screwball exploits, all of which were constant bones of contention between my parents. One of them involved her hammering a roofing nail into her bare foot. In all its zany and glorious details, I wrote the story of the construction project in GUARDIANS AND OTHER ANGELS, my book in which the momentous historical events of the twentieth century, from World War I, the Great Depression, World War II, and beyond form the backdrop and my family holds center stage.

My two sisters, my two children, and I also attended that gathering at the Alkire Road house that September Sunday of 1979. It was a giggle a minute, which was always the case when Re was around. The evening meal under our belts and the dining room table cleared, everyone but Ro and Re piled in the living room to watch TV. My mother and her sister wanted to extend their visit while washing the dishes. The yellow-gold Formica countertop heaped with all manner of greasy dinnerware, Ro plunged them one by one in the soapy water of the right-hand stainless-steel sink and scrubbed and scrubbed, and then Re swished and swished them in the clear water of the left-hand stainless-steel rinsing sink. Pretty soon Ro took to braying like a mule and Re to howling like a hyena. The TV show in the living room was no competition for the one underway in the kitchen, and the rest of us raced to investigate. And there, dripping in the dish drainer was a Leaning Tower of Pisa of dishes, topped off with an orange plastic bowl and a metal pan wedged in and teetering upright on its handle. “Get the camera!” my mother yelled.

Thich Nhat Hahn also said that washing dishes was like bathing the baby Buddha. I doubt that my mother and my aunt found that kind of reverence in the act, but they applied their considerable sister wisdom to it and made a delightful game of it to share together. So simple! So real! So full of moments of actual life! I am happy to report that I also love to wash dishes by hand and have no desire to invest in a dishwasher. I have a friend who in all the twenty plus years he has lived in his condo, has never turned on his built-in dishwasher. He stores his deceased mother’s fine china in it instead. To my mind, that is a brilliant use for a dishwasher!©  




Re passed on in 1989 and Ro in 1992. Their lives, from birth to death, are featured prominently in Linda Lee Greene’s, GUARDIANS AND OTHER ANGELS, a book of historical fiction based on a true story. To purchase the book, please click the following URL:


#ThichNhatHahn, #Zen, #Buddha, #Buddhism, #WashingDishes, #Dishwasher, #FarmhouseKitchen, #Formica, #Linoleum, #GroveCityOhio, #ColumbusOhio, #SouthernOhio, #AppalachianLife, #OhioWriters

Saturday, June 5, 2021



British author Carol Browne explains the Battle of Dunkirk and why Britons still hold that spirit.

The Dunkirk Spirit – a Lesson from History

By Carol Browne

Let me begin by setting the scene …

It’s the summer of 1940 and on the beaches around Dunkirk in France hundreds of thousands of British troops are trapped with no hope of escape. Behind them was the vastly superior German army with its engines of war; before them was the cruel sea; above them was the relentless strafing of enemy aircraft.

Despite overwhelming odds, the men of the British Expeditionary Force and their Belgian and French allies had fought to defend their positions but, with all escape routes blocked, a desperate retreat to the beaches and harbour at Dunkirk was the only option left.

Now all these men want is to get to England—to home and safety. They have put their faith in the navy. Operation Dynamo has been set in motion to evacuate them, even though the transport ships and destroyers can only expect to have enough time to rescue about 30,000 troops. But soon, repeated attacks from the enemy’s aircraft have blocked the harbour with sinking ships. The soldiers must be evacuated from the beaches. How is this possible in such shallow water?

What happens next will leave a permanent impression upon the British psyche, for when the call goes out that small boats are needed to rescue the troops, a motley fleet of plucky ‘little ships’ will chug its way across the Channel to bring the warriors home. They are motor boats, trawlers, paddle steamers, fishing smacks, lifeboats, barges, and other shallow-draught vessels. The majority of them are privately owned. Many will be taken across by naval personnel, but an equal number will be crewed by their owners and other civilians eager to stand by their country during its darkest hour.

Braving the combined onslaughts of the German army and air force, these civilians will risk their lives again and again to take troops from the beaches and ferry them to the destroyers waiting out in deeper water. Some of these boats will take thousands of men all the way back to England. Thanks to their efforts, a total catastrophe will be averted. It will be described by Winston Churchill as a “miracle of deliverance” and what takes place at Dunkirk from May 27th to June 4th, 1940, will live in the hearts and minds of the British people for many generations to come. At a time when Great Britain faces certain invasion, recovering over a third of a million troops has turned defeat into victory. The phrase, “The Dunkirk Spirit” is born.


“The Dunkirk Spirit.” This is a phrase I have heard many times during my life. If you are British, it needs no explanation and yet as the event that created it moves further back in time, I feared that new generations would have no knowledge of it and an important part of my country’s heritage would be lost. I was delighted, therefore, when a new movie about Dunkirk was released in 2017. Not only will people much younger than me now know about “The Dunkirk Spirit,” but so will people of other countries, and a valuable historical lesson will continue to inspire us all.

What is the lesson? During current uncertain and divisive times, it resonates as much as ever. It shows us what we can achieve when we cooperate.  It demonstrates how brave and selfless ordinary folk can be. We are all capable of far more than we know and when individuals work together for the common good, the tide will turn, and even in the most hopeless and desperate of situations, defeat can be transformed into victory. Because “The Dunkirk Spirit” is the human spirit at its best and nothing can stand in its way.


The book “Being Krystyna” by Carol Browne recounts another true story of survival in World War II.


In 2012 when young Polish immigrant Agnieszka visits fellow countrywoman Krystyna in a Peterborough care home for the first time, she thinks it a simple act of kindness. However, the meeting proves to be the beginning of a life-changing experience.

Krystyna’s stories about the past are not memories of the good old days but recollections of war-ravaged Europe: The Warsaw Ghetto, Pawiak Prison, Ravensbrück Concentration Camp, and a death march to freedom.

The losses and ordeals Krystyna suffered and what she had to do to survive are horrors Agnieszka must confront when she volunteers to be Krystyna’s biographer.

Will Agnieszka be able to keep her promise to tell her story? And, in this harrowing memoir of survival, what is the message for us today?

Buy Links
Dilliebooks - Amazon UK - Amazon US

#WorldWarII, #Dunkirk, #OperationDynamo, #WinstonChurchill, #AMiracleofDeliverance, #CarolBrowne, #BeingKrystyna


Monday, May 31, 2021



 From Linda Lee Greene, Author/Artist


Long, long ago—when I was just a little kid, my family visited the graves of our dead relatives not only on Decoration Day, as Memorial Day was known then, but also on every holiday and at the change of seasons. Among Civil War and other war veterans, upper-crust titans, and lower-caste farmers of our region of Southern Ohio, most of my deceased maternal kin lay in our designated plot of the old cemetery. When spring changed to summer, we thinned the old-fashioned lilies of the valley and irises on their graves and then supplemented them with geraniums and petunias. We embellished each grave with perky little American flags, stars and stripes that waved patriotically from their wooden pegs. As the weather turned brisk again, we planted pumpkin-colored chrysanthemums at each headstone, the ebullient faces of the flowers reflecting the last rays of the sun. Next came festive Christmas wreaths, and finally, grave blankets of fresh hay before the January freezes blew in on the frigid north winds. There was never any second thought about those tasks of caring for the graves of our departed loved-ones. It was as natural and as necessary to us as breathing.

Back when my mother and her siblings were young, and to accommodate the whole large brood, Roger and Smoky, the team of workhorses, straining against their leather harnesses, pulled my grandparent’s heavy flatbed wagon on visits to the graveyard. Taking a rare break from the demanding chores of their farm, Mommaw and Poppaw were at the helm of the wagon. Dean, the baby of the family, sat between his parents on the high seat of the buckboard, a vantage point that looked out over the ample rumps of the horses. Piled in the bed of the buckboard, the seven other children sat on bound bundles of hay perched vicariously on the gaping floorboards of the conveyance. In perfect harmony and at the top of their lungs, and accompanied by Uncle Bob and Uncle Bussy on their mandolins, the group sang the old song, “On Top of Old Smoky,” while the groaning wagon appeared in danger of imploding from the weight of its human cargo and the rough terrain that suffered its challenged wheels and chassis. As the first grandchildren born to the family, my brother and I also rode in that wagon on some of those excursions, singing that old song in unison with our aunts and uncles at the top of our voices. As the newest youngsters in the family, it was we who then got to ride between Mommaw and Poppaw on the high seat that gave view of the broad backs of Roger and Smoky. I was a grown woman with a husband as well as children of my own when suddenly one day it dawned on me that the song was about the Smoky Mountains rather than a horse named Smoky. My Uncle Dean and I, during every gloriously long and adventure-filled summer of my young life on the farm, rode bare back together on top of our own Smoky many times, often singing the song. It was natural that the song took on the meaning of riding Smoky, the horse. 


I still can see in my mind’s eye the wobbly wheels of the buckboard and the iron-shod hooves of the horses kicking up clouds of dust on the deeply-rutted mud-caked lane that opened onto that hillside cemetery, the accumulated clamor of buckboard, horses, and human beings setting in motion the flight of collected birds in an old oak tree at the edge of the plot, the overlapped and snapping black wings of the birds, for those brief moments, nearly blotting out the sun. One of my prized possessions is the ancient earthenware jug that housed the grease Poppaw used to lubricate the screeching wheels of the buckboard, the interior of the jug’s fissured walls coated to this day with black and slick remnants of the grease. During those journeys, every once in a while, Poppaw yelled, “Whoa, Roger…Whoa Smoky,” and the buckboard came to a grating halt. While the horses snorted from their huge nostrils and pawed the ground with their heavy hooves, their hot bodies steaming and making auras of their perspiration all around them, down from the high seat on his long legs Poppaw jumped, pulling that jug from beneath the seat, a stick jutting from its open top. The working end of the stick wrapped in a grease-blackened cloth, he smeared the axles of the wheels with it.          


Many years ago, a psychic, supposedly consulting messages pertaining to me that emanated from an otherworldly realm, where, I am told, such things are known, and scripted within her crystal ball, told me that as a spiritual practice, I should visit cemeteries on a regular basis again. I am yet to wrap my head around the fact that she was privy to the habits of my family of old, and it wasn’t until I wrote GUARDIANS AND OTHER ANGELS, a book about my family, that I set out to take her counsel seriously.


This Memorial Day I come to call in my car rather than the old buckboard. At the entrance to the road that loops the deeply forested community of Cedar Fork in which the cemetery is located, although over the years several new homesteads have cropped up among the trees, the road improved, and the bridge that spans the creek refurbished to modern standards, still it feels as if I am entering an evolutionary backwater, a safe haven cut off from the rest of the world. Nevertheless, I am shocked at the greater accumulation of headstones in the cemetery as beneath the tires of my car the gravel on the lane pops and crunches. And as was the case during my childhood visits, huddled within the gnarled branches of a wizened oak tree on the boundary of our family plot, gathered birds are perched. Their noisy flight as I exit my car and approach the graves briefly blankets the sun. These days, the graves are almost exclusively under the custodianship of some obscure caretaker, and I imagine, with the assistance of the watchful birds.


Late, but better than never, I see fully the meaning behind the psychic’s counsel to visit cemeteries every chance I get. How easy it is for me to lose my way in imagining that life is one way when it really is something else. Few things are more accommodating than a cemetery in which to gain a foothold in reality.©




The above essay is a revised excerpt of Linda Lee Greene’s GUARDIANS AND OTHER ANGELS, a book of historical fiction based on a true story. To purchase a copy of the book, please click the following URL:


Image: Dean and Linda on top of Old Smoky.


#Decoration Day, #Memorial Day, #Southern Ohio, #Cemeteries, #Farmlife, #GuardiansandOtherAngels, #HistoricalFiction, LindaLeeGreene

Sunday, April 25, 2021



I am so happy that author Julia Robb stopped by my blog today. She recounts an amusing story of her West Texas gardening trials and tribulations. However it is a journey of much reward in the end, for while her garden refused to grow, her impressive body of literary work took hold and bloomed. She tells us about her latest book, as well. -Linda Lee Greene, Author/Artist


The Oak Tree

                                 From Julia Robb, Author


My garden saga began when I moved to my parent’s home in Marshall, Texas in 2004, after events had beaten the heck out of me. I had left a Maryland reporting job for a Louisiana reporting job, because Louisiana was nearer to Marshall. But the second morning on the road I took my chocolate lab for a walk, and he jerked me. I fell, shattering my leg. That led to a Near Death Experience, which I tell in its full detail in my latest book, SUPERNATURAL PHENOMENA. Readers can find the book at

  I didn’t get along with the Louisiana folks and got fired. Then, I got home to Texas just in time to see my father’s Parkinson’s disease go from bad to worse. I needed cheering up, so I looked for a house (one I could afford). A miracle—I found it. But the house had problems.

  There was nothing behind the tattered wallpaper but board and the home’s former owners had covered the ceilings with commercial acoustic tile. Linoleum covered the sunroom floor. The 1940 yellow-brick, two-story house was on a nice street, but nothing grew in the front yard but scrubby, yellowy grass. According to neighbors, the renters who lived there before I showed up never watered the grass, or planted anything (which I could see), but they did haul a plastic kiddie pool to the front yard and splashed around while guzzling endless Coronas. I renovated all 1,600-square feet, and then faced doing Something to the vast wasteland beyond the front porch.

  Question: What did I always want in the way of a garden? Forget gardens. I had always wanted a tree that towered over everything—hundreds of feet of green shade. I wanted a 500-year-old Downton Abbey-type tree.

I thought, “Maybe I can have that tree? Maybe at least a 30-foot tree?” I didn’t know anything about trees. I had never planted a tree or even had trees because I grew up in West Texas, which gets a maximum of 20-inches of rain each year. (Marshall gets 50-plus).

  As soon as I got this tree idea, I was inspired and zoomed off to the nursery, only to discover none of the trees were more than five-feet-tall. A grizzled laborer said, “Lady, nurseries don’t sell no 30-foot trees. You can try somewheres else, but you ain’t gonna find nothing that tall.” On the good side, he said the tree I liked was a Red Oak, long-lived, hardy and tall (eventually).

  I gave up and shoved the tree inside my Toyota (although half of it hung out the window) and raced home to the waiting (male) neighbor. Bless Mike’s heart. Digging the hole was convict labor because dirt in my front yard is hard-packed clay. When we sat the tree in the hole, that five feet was pitiful looking; better than nothing, but pitiful.

  Then my real challenges began. It wasn’t long before I discovered that grass refused to grow beside the oak. Clay topsoil will not hold moisture. So I had this little, bitty tree which reached my nose, but was surrounded by dirt. I solved that problem by hauling wheelbarrows of rocks to my yard and dumping them beside the tree. That created a sort-of Japanese look: A tiny tree surrounded by rocks. The yard wasn’t looking like an English manor.

After fuming about the vast wasteland, it dawned on me I could plant other green things—back to the nursery to buy irises. I lined the sidewalk with purple irises, but they took turns blooming for two weeks each spring, and that was it—not near good enough.

  I searched garden books and found an English manor house with roses surrounding the main entrance. That’s it! Climbing roses! That was the answer. So I bought an iron trellis that circled halfway around my front door, and I closed the half circle with wire. The Don Juan climbing red roses looked like my vision of heaven. After they grew around the trellis, I rejoiced in the beauty and the smell. Then black spot hit.

My heart was broken, but I was not going to be beaten down by rose disease. I cut the roses down and planted a clematis vine. That worked splendidly. After several years the vine grew all around the trellis and the tiny white blooms smelled just as good as roses.

  Inspired again, I planted a 12-foot-long garden of perennials (zinnias) between the front door and sidewalk, on the opposite side of the oak. I thought I wouldn’t have to do anything; just plant, and the tall pink flowers would grow, faithfully, each year. Yes, when they bloomed, the zinnias were beautiful. They got taller each year, but so did the weeds, which flourished.

Eventually, my flower bed looked like an empty lot and I didn’t want to spend my free time on my knees. I forced myself to pull up the zinnias by the root (that hurt me, because I believed the flowers cried when I did it), and planted another tree. But the tree had to be a dwarf to avoid electric lines running over that part of the yard, so I planted a Crape Myrtle. Crape Myrtles produce pink blooms from summer until frost and usually quit growing at 12-feet. Guess what! My tree is three years old and has never bloomed.

Then last month a freak, five-day storm may have killed the clematis vine. Right now, on April 5, every single leaf is brown. I have no idea if the vine will come back. My neighbor swears it’s dead. If it’s really dead, I’m going to plant disease resistant climbing roses.

Now let me tell you about the lantana, which is a perennial verbena plant with a red or yellow bloom. I planted two lantana plants with yellow blooms, one on either side of my yard, beside the front sidewalk. They’re beautiful when they bloom, but the plant dies off each winter. In spring, you have to cut off the skinny limbs to make way for new growth, leaving huge circles of nothing but dirt until the plant decides to wake up.

Oh brother! Right now, I have in the front yard two large circles of dirt, a mutant Crape Myrtle and a possibly/probably dead brown vine.

No sign of iris blooms. Well, maybe one.

I don’t seem to be a natural gardener, although I am stubborn.

I do have one redeeming piece of beauty in the yard. Every year, for 16 years, while I failed at gardening, the oak tree grew, and I wrote novels (  I didn’t believe the tree would continue to grow, but it did. Before I knew it, the oak was as high as my house, and I never dreamed it would go on growing, but now it’s as tall as the house plus half as much again. And there is an extra benefit—each fall the tree flames with color.

My oak tree almost makes up for the vine, the roses and the zinnias.



Julia Robb began collecting psychic experiences from her Facebook friends and found them so intriguing she decided to put them together in a book.

One friend told her about a shadow spirit who flowed across the bedroom floor and physically attacked him, and another about a malevolent spirit who lived in his boyhood bathroom.

One mother lost her beloved only son to an accidental overdose, but was not spiritually alone before or afterward. Spirits kept appearing to her, and she kept repeating (about who we consider dead), “They’re Alive, They Really Are!”

Julia herself has had psychic experiences, and she has stories to tell us.

#SupernaturalPhenomena, #Paranormal, #WestTexas, #OakTrees, #Gardening, #ClimbingRoses, #Zinnias, #JuliaRobb, #LindaLeeGreene  






Saturday, April 24, 2021





Gun Safety

Children deserve to be safe and free from gun violence. With the right policies in place that ensure firearms are used safely and legally, we can prevent tragedies. Sandy Hook Promise Action Fund is working to expand background checks on firearm sales, pass extreme risk protection orders, create safe storage laws, and institute high-capacity magazine limits. These policy initiatives, in addition to expanding access to violence prevention programs, can ensure more children are safe from violence.

Violence Prevention 

Violence prevention education programs train students to identify when their peers may be exhibiting warning signs of hurting themselves or others and teaches them how to seek help. Legislation that supports these programs can ensure more students in states across the country have access to evidence-based training. Sandy Hook Promise Action Fund is passing policies that require states to train students on social isolation prevention, suicide prevention, and violence prevention at-large to keep students safe.

Mental Health

Keeping children safe also means supporting their emotional and mental well-being. That’s why the Action Fund works to expand access to life-saving mental health services and supports for students, including suicide prevention training and school-based care. Taking care of the whole child, both in physical safety and mental wellness, allows students to have supportive school environments and can reduce the risk of violence towards self or others.


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Our Mission

Our shared mission with Sandy Hook Promise Foundation is to end school shootings and create a culture change that prevents violence and other harmful acts that hurt children. The Action Fund is nonpartisan and committed to advancing federal and state legislation through grassroots engagement and mobilization that promotes gun safety, youth mental health, and violence prevention training.

Background Checks

Our schools, communities, and public places are less safe when firearms are sold without background checks. That’s why Sandy Hook Promise supports legislation that expands the requirement for background checks. Learn more about the issue and find out how you can help pass the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2021, which recently passed the House with overwhelming support.


What Are Background Checks?

Background checks are a tool to help keep guns from getting into the hands of individuals who may harm themselves or others. To do so, background checks identify individuals who are prohibited by federal law from purchasing and owning a firearm, such as convicted felons and domestic abusers.

Background checks have been shown to help save lives. Since the federal background check requirement became effective in 1994, more than 3 million illegal gun sales have been stopped by a background check.1



On March 11, the House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly to support background checks on all firearm sales. Now, it’s time for the Senate to act to move this lifesaving solution forward.

Gun violence survivors like the families of Sandy Hook have been waiting years to see change. In the meantime, more shootings like the ones in Boulder, Atlanta and Orange County have been devastating families every day. We can pass background checks now.

We cannot allow for more innocent lives to be taken by gun violence before we act. Contact your U.S. senator now to urge them to take action.

#GunSafety, #ViolencePrevention, #MentalHealth, #BackgroundChecks, #BipartisanBackgroundChecksActof2021, #SandyHookPromiseFoundationBip


artisan Background Checks Act of 2021Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2021