Friday, February 18, 2011

Finally SIWG Meets Again

A week before I did not go to our village church business meeting because of the icy roads. Since the meeting was postponed, I attended this week in spring-like weather. I was glad I did. because we were able to vote to give $500 to our homeless shelter in nearby Marion that feeds many families, vote for Jo Barger to begin making plans for a free monthly fellowship meal and social time for local senior citizens, and renew our commitment to our church food pantry for families in need. (Oddly despite increased unemployment, we had ended up with donated food in our pantry growing old. So we had to empty it and quickly give items to the homeless shelter to avoid waste.) Now we will have a volunteer to take charge of the pantry and a plan to insure the pantry is emptied at the end of each month by taking it to some family, who can use it. There were other good ideas and good deeds discussed, and it was a worthwhile evening.

Then last night--again in warm weather but with March-like winds whipping car doors closed and making steering difficult—we finally had a Southern Illinois Writers Guild meeting at our community college. Years ago we quit meeting in December because of members’ busy schedules, and then this year bad weather caused our January meeting to be cancelled. So it was truly good to see everyone again.

It was inspiring to hear Heather Stewart Harris, a young middle-school teacher, tell openly of her bi-polar illness, which caused her to feel a need to share her story so that more people can understand that mental illness is not something to be ashamed of. The title of her book The Love That Will Not Let Me Go was based on the hymn her pastor shared with her during her hospitalization. She expressed her awe that the lyrics published by George Mattheson in 1882 were exactly what she needed during the 21st Century to help her heal. She expressed appreciation for the right doctor and proper meds as she learned to overcome her extreme perfectionism that had haunted her throughout life.

A highlight for me was seeing Charlotte Hartley back after several years’ absence while she focused on her career as a speech language pathologist in the public schools. She reported that after being immersed by her career, she now in retirement has time to read and write again. Her presence was especially meaningful to me because she presented me with a chapter book Cherokee Boy by Alexander Key published in 1957. I did not know of this book, and I started reading it today.

Erin is in Starksville, Mississippi, with the Salukis this weekend, and University of Georgia is hosting its second at-home tourney. Gerald and I are listening to the audio on his computer. He is coughing and try to recover from the winter cold he probably caught last weekend. DuWayne, a softball enthusiast, had so much fun last weekend that he is back at Athens at the Jack Turner Stadium again this weekend with his wife Vickie.

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