December 18, 2013

Tales From Homer, Conley Stone McAnally, the new Mark Twain

I want to share with you an excerpt from Conley Stone McAnally's new book. What a fun read!
He has that Midwest style reminiscent of Mark Twain. I think you'll enjoy it; suitable for the whole family!
“The Doodenville Men’s Club” 
An excerpt
Conley Stone McAnally
 They don’t talk about who has the best dog in town anymore.  No sir, not since last December.
It was the middle of December and cold, gosh it was cold, and snow, I mean you couldn’t see from the window of Jessie Miller’s General Store to the street side of the wooden planks that make up our sidewalks here in Doodenville.  Everybody’s always said that it was the worse snow storm ever to have hit these parts.
Even though it was plumb miserable out, we all showed up about the same time we always showed up at Jessie’s place.  We had what you might consider a men’s club.  We didn’t call it that, but every Saturday about sundown, or perhaps a little later, Steve Branson, Digger Johnson, Judge Johns and myself would get together and play checkers, tell stories, and more or less just brag to one another - which some might say was stretching the truth.
This one December evening, the bragging turned to our dogs.  No man in Doodenville went anywhere without his dog.  A man is judged somewhat on what kind of dog he has and how he treats it and it him.  Now everyone cannot see how one is treating his dog all the time nor he him so we felt like it was our duty that night to tell one another.  That is where the others always get into trouble because they exaggerate a mite and this night they exaggerated a lot.  Not me, of course.
The checkers match had gotten over and we began to sip a little of the stuff behind the counter that Jessie kept for snake bite.  Jessie was always there but he seldom joined in because he was too busy keeping track of how much we were sipping and eating from the cracker barrel.  Anyway, we were doing what we always did when Steve Branson popped up and said during a lull in the conversation, “Now we have been talking about our dogs for nigh onto three hours and Lord knows how many nights we have been doing the same.  Let’s settle who has the best dog once and for all”.
Everybody seemed to think it was a pretty good idea because each man thought he had the best dog and would win any type of such a contest.  We all thought a little and tried to come up with some sort of criteria that could determine who had the best dog.
Steven Branson suggested that we could have them run a race but that idea was scuttled because there was too much snow on the ground and too cold.  “And besides,” Digger Johnson said, “being fast don’t mean nothing anyway”.
He was right, of course.  We all knew that Crazy Jimmy Twofoot’s oldest boy, Jimmy J., was the fastest thing on two legs in three counties and the boy couldn’t find his way to the outhouse without someone helping him.  At least that is what Crazy Jimmy always said.
Then Steve came up with another idea (he was always coming up with ideas, being an engineer and all.)  He suggested that we have the dogs bark real loud and whose ever dog barked the longest and loudest would be declared the winner. (I didn’t say all his ideas were good, though.)
That idea was ignored because everyone knew that Jessie’s wife was sick with the virus and noise would wake her and cause some discomfort.  Steve must have gotten the point also because he snapped his fingers like something had just occurred to him and mumbled, “oh, yeah!” and sat back down.  It seemed as though in all the years that I had known Steve he was always snapping is finger about something.
We all sat around the stove and thought some more.  Then Judge Johns cleared his throat.  Now when a man clears his throat, those in hearing distance don’t pay much attention, but when Judge Johns cleared his throat you knew he had something important to say.  He was also real smart so naturally we all started paying close attention.
“It seems to me,” he began, “that we want to find out which one of us has the smartest dog.  The smartest dog, gents, not the fastest nor the loudest, but the smartest.  Intelligence, friends, is the true test of greatness”.  Judge Johns could always be counted on to get right to the heart of the matter.  “So it seems to me,” he continued after grasping his lapels and clearing his throat again, “that each dog ought to be judged on his reaction to a single command and whose dog reacts in the most intelligent manner will be considered the best dog in Doodenville”.
We all thought about that for a while and by and by it seemed fair enough.  But then Digger said, “You know each man here might think that his dog done the best no matter what the other three dogs did.  If that happened, we would all be in a stalemate and be right back where we were.”
That sounded kind of correct.  We knew we were all men of integrity, but we also knew each other and understood how sometimes a man’s judgment could get clouded in important matter like this one.
“Well,” Judge Johns said after he cleared his throat, “it seems to me we need an unbiased judge”.  You know, to this day, I get plumb amazed on how the Judge could always grasp things and have a solution so quickly.
The natural judge, of course, was Jessie.  I say ‘of course’ because Jessie didn’t have a dog.  At least not since last spring when Old Clem Thurman’s horses kicked Jessie’s dog Cracker in the head.
Jessie agreed to act as the judge and took charge right away.  “Since there are four of you,” while grasping his suspenders, “one of you will have to go first and one will have to go last, and two of you will have to go in the middle, one ahead of the other”.
I sat there and blinked because he had lost me at first.  I did not think that was possible because we always thought Jessie was a mite slow.  He continued: “So it seems to me we ought to go by age, starting with the youngest man.  I will give you all five minutes to decide what you want your dogs to do”.  He fixed his one good eye on the clock that hung over the Buster Brown sign that hung behind the counter.
 The contest would soon begin.
Conley is on Facebook & Twitter (Stone@639)
Presented by:
Check out my books!

Got Kindle (et al) for Christmas? Get Custer! Paperback too!

Here's a good read for readers  who need a break from Christmas. Paperback and Kindle (et al).

Custer and His Naked Ladies, an excerpt

Janelle Meraz Hooper
Newly divorced, Glory’s biological clock is pounding like a powwow drum. She heads back home to Oklahoma, where she meets Soap, a sexy Comanche lawyer who wants to do something about that powwow drum pounding in her head…

1.      Dumped 

     Glory was on her way to join her husband on a NOAA research vessel when she tried to call him to say she was running late. That was when she discovered he wasn’t on the ship; without telling her, he’d pulled out of the offshore project days before. With that failed phone call, all of her recent, uncomfortable inklings fell into place. Her marriage was over. He just hadn’t gotten around to telling her yet.

That was how she ended up at Sea-Tac Airport, halfway between Seattle and Tacoma, with her hair in braids, wearing a pink Where’s the Powwow? sweatshirt. She carried only her wallet, a camera, and a faded blue gym bag. The bag was filled with the same kinds of clothes she was wearing, a few books, and a photo of her husband. The photo—frame and all—she chucked into a trash barrel outside the airport. She would have liked to toss it out of the airplane, but she was pretty sure it would make the stewards cranky if she opened the emergency exit at 35,000 feet.   

            Her original destination, the research vessel, was scheduled to drop anchor over the undersea volcanoes off the coast of Washington State. The scientists on the ship were to study the marine life that thrived in the hot water that spewed out of the craters.

            After the research trip, she and her husband, Rick, were to take a much-needed vacation to Mexico and reconnect. They hadn’t had any identifiable problems, but her husband had been moody and refused to talk about it. Glory had hoped he would open up after a few days rest on a hot sandy beach with a Margarita in his hand. Rick hadn’t been in favor of the vacation, but Glory had insisted. Finally, he had thrown up his hands and given up.

Before the research trip, he had convinced her to put all of their things in storage because they didn’t know if they’d be back in Seattle when the project was over. There was no use, he’d said, in paying rent while they were gone.

It made sense.

Sort of.  

But why hadn’t she been suspicious when he’d insisted on putting all of his things into separate marked boxes? How dumb was she? The dirty rat! And what would she have done on the research ship without him for three weeks? Her specialty was in freshwater turtles; there would be no real work for her there. No paycheck. He was the specialist in coastal underwater volcanoes. He belonged there. She would have been nothing more than a guest with no way off the boat. Her cheeks burned at the embarrassment she felt. What was he thinking?

Her new destination was her mother’s in Oklahoma. Getting a last minute ticket was expensive, and Glory was thankful for her credit cards. No one ever went to Oklahoma unless they had to, and airline tickets to the Sooner State were never a bargain. Glory handed the woman at the check-in counter her credit card and mumbled a quote from a rich friend, “All it takes is money.” The woman briefly looked up, then, expressionless, continued adding up the full fare charges on her keyboard.

On her way to the airplane boarding area, over and over, Glory thought, this isn’t the way normal, educated people get divorced.

I’ve been dumped!

With no explanation.

No discussion.
Facebook, Twitter (@JanelleMHooper)


December 16, 2013

Wilson Bay by Conley Stone McAnally

Are you still Christmas shopping? This will help!
An excerpt from Wilson Bay, Conley Stone McAnally's new book on his experiences in Alaska. This is such a good read. I treasure books like this because they remind me of an epigram in one of my books: "Sometimes we forget that everyone else is living their moments while we're busy living ours." The world is a big place. Don't miss a bit of it!

Wilson Bay
...The meat is divided among the hunters in proportion to the help each provided during the hunt. It is cheaper than buying beef at the village store.  
The intestines will be sold to a craftsman that will produce a water proof rain coat to sell to the tourists that want to show people after they return home how ingenious Eskimos can be.  
The skin is used for ceremonial clothing and repairing of artifacts that the Eskimos keep around more to impress the tourists than anything else.  The best part of the skin, however is taken to the eldest of the Elders.  He or she makes the selection as to who will be given the task, and then the village waits.
A three foot diameter circle is made by the selected craftsman by carving, bending, heating, and pressing driftwood together.  It is held in place by a stone vice while a handle made from ivory or still more driftwood is attached by sinew.  The length of the handle depends on the size of the beater. 
 The skin, after being cured, cleaned, and scraped to a shinny surface is stretched tightly across the circular frame.  The instrument is left to dry and harden in the sun, thus further stretching the skin tighter, thereby giving it it’s haunting melodious sound.  
The eldest of the Elders directs how the product is to be decorated.  A different craftsman provides the ceremonial decorations.  The item is then presented to the eldest of the Elders for approval. 
 After an ancient blessing, that no one now alive knows how long it has been chanted, a crafted willow stick strikes the middle of the drum and it resonates though out the tundra as all previous drums on the tundra have done for ten thousand years...
Note:  Conley's first book is Tales From Homer.
Visit my website:

October 15, 2013

...sometimes, Naked Ladies are just old women in capri pants...

FYI: Naked Ladies!
Dear readers, it came to my attention yesterday that there has been concern about the content of some eBooks. I want to assure you that my novel, Custer and His Naked Ladies, is not an erotic book. I agree the title is unfortunate, but where I come from in Oklahoma, Naked Ladies are a type of flower that suffers--and even dies--if it is moved. I used it for a metaphor about old women being hesitant to leave their homes to go far away to live with their grown children. Of course, there's a little romance in the story--I am a romance writer, after all--but I would put this book firmly in the literary field. Please email me with questions. My email in some places is wrong. Please write to me here:

October 14, 2013

Kickstarter fully funded! Geronimo, Life on the Reservation

                                                          Copyright 2011 art by Sherri Bails
I promised Rudy I'd thank you all for your Kickstarter pledges. I'll keep you posted here about his latest news. You did hear that Steve Railsback will be directing, didn't you?
Rudy is mapping out theatres all over the Southwest for his show. Of course, March 22nd, 2014, will be the premiere at the High Chaparral Reunion in Tucson! Rudy's website for his Geronimo show is: 
 Years ago, John Wayne told my husband that he was tired but if he retired, all of his film family would be out of work. I think of that conversation when I see how much work this show is generating even though it is billed as a one-man show.
The next time you watch a movie, try to count how many worked on the production on the end credits. Read the jobs. Everything from actors to caterers. Whatever you paid for that movie, whether it is on cable, Netflix, or in a theatre, the economy got a big bang for your buck!
Well, I got sidetracked. I can do that. I'm a writer. but I'll quit now because you may have your own work to do!
Thanks again for helping Rudy! Janelle

October 02, 2013

Invest now in Kickstarter for Geronimo, Life on the Reservation (A Historical Fantasy)

5 days to go! Act now!
(Ends October 8th, 2013)

Kickstarter link:

 Dear friends, I have written a one-man show for Rudy Ramos* that is very special to me. It is about Geronimo’s life on the reservation and  I consider it to be my valentine to the Apache people. So far, Rudy has had a reading of the first scene at the 2013 High Chaparral Reunion and the 2013 Memphis Film Festival. It was rewarded with standing ovations! The whole show premieres March 22, 2014, at the High Chaparral Reunion.
This is the last week of the Kickstarter project. Please consider pledging any amount from a dollar up and visit the site to see available prizes. With Kickstarter, no money will change hands—and no prizes will be awarded—if the goal isn’t met.
I thank you from the bottom of my heart, Janelle*

* Rudy Ramos, bio:
The acting career of Rudy Ramos has covered six decades and started with an appearance on the television show, “Ironside” in 1969. Six months later he was cast as a series regular, playing the part of Wind the volatile half-breed Indian boy in the legendary television western “High Chaparral.” Since then he has done over sixty guest shots on episodic television including recurring roles on the hit TV show, “Hunter” in 1987-88 and “Resurrection Boulevard” in 2002-2003.

Mr. Ramos has done numerous movies for television including the ground breaking Helter Skelter (100 million viewers over two nights) playing the part of Danny DeCarlo, Everybody’s Baby: The Rescue of Jessica McClure and Dr. Quinn: Medicine Woman: The Movie as the villainous Captain Ruiz.

Feature film credits include The Enforcer with Clint Eastwood, Walter Hill’s cult classic The Driver with Ryan Oneal and Academy Award nominee French actress Isabelle Adjani, Defiance with Jan-Michael Vincent and Art Carney, Quicksilver with Kevin Bacon and Laurence Fishburne, Colors with Sean Penn and Robert Duvall and the 2001 sleeper Road Dogz directed by the up and coming talent Alfredo Ramos to name a few.

The stage has been a big part of Mr. Ramos’ life with appearances in the Los Angeles area at the Mark Taper Forum, Taper Too, The Met, Matrix Theater, Los Angeles Theatre Center, and Nosotros Theatre. He also was a member of the Los Angeles Actors Theatre and performed in the award winning hit show Shorteyes by Miguel Pinero playing the part of Cupcakes. The ensemble won the 1977 Los Angeles Drama Critics Award for Best Ensemble.

 *Books by Janelle Meraz Hooper:
       A Three-Turtle Summer ( novel, 1st in my Turtle Trilogy, one award)
      As Brown As I Want: The Indianhead Diaries ( novel, 2nd in my Turtle Trilogy, two awards)
      Custer and His Naked Ladies ( novel, 3rd in my Turtle Trilogy)
      The Slum Resort (novella, 2013 honorable mention in the Great Northwest Book Festival)
      Bears in the Hibiscus (novel, romance)
      Boogie, Boots & Cherry Pie (novel, romance)
      There’s a Mouse in the House! (Title poem voted one of the best poems by iPad for children 2-6 on YouTube)
      Free Pecan Pies and Other Chick Stories (mixed genre)
      Old Joe and His Pink Cadillac (Kindle Short)
      Surviving Arthritis, How to Live on a Rocky Beach (Kindle Article)
All of these books and articles have at least one YouTube trailer.





September 27, 2013

Announcing a new Kickstarter prize for Geronimo, Life on the Reservation (A Historical Fantasy)!

Eleven days to go in the Kickstarter campaign for

Geronimo, Life on the Reservation
(A Historical Fantasy)!

Rudy's one-man show premieres in Tucson, Arizona at the
Casino Del Sol in March 2014.
Just for kicks, I'm throwing in a new prize for anyone pledging $25.00! It's an autographed book of the third book in my Turtle Trilogy, Custer and His Naked Ladies.
Pledge now! Limited offer!
Sometimes, Custer is just an ole yeller dog, and Naked Ladies are just old women in Capri pants...
Custer and His Naked Ladies

 Janelle Meraz Hooper

  When her husband unexpectedly dumps her, Glory boards an Oklahoma-bound plane at the Sea-Tac Airport. She has wasted too many years on the wrong man, and her biological clock is beginning to pound like a powwow drum.

    Her biggest problem of all may be Soap, a sexy Comanche lawyer who wants to do something about that powwow drum pounding in her head…

  Sprinkled with Spanish phrases and Comanche words, Custer and His Naked Ladies is full of Southwest flavor. iUniverse, 206 pages, paperback. $15.95 USD, Kindle, $2.99 USD. Set in Oklahoma.

note: prizes will only be awarded if the show is fully funded. No money will change hands if the show's funding doesn't meet its goal.

September 23, 2013

Kickstarter! Geronimo, Life on the Reservation (A Historical Fantasy)

Rudy Ramos as Wind
15 days to go!
Who: Rudy Ramos, who played Wind in the High Chaparral televisions series, and other movie and television roles. Written by Janelle Meraz Hooper.
What: Kickstarter pledge drive for a one-man traveling show about Geronimo's life on the reservation at Fort Sill, Oklahoma.
When: Pledge drive runs September 7, 2013-October 8, 2013. The show premieres at the High Chaparral Reunion on March 22, 2014 in Tucson, Arizona. Afterwards, it goes on tour across the Southwest...eventually traveling to other parts of the country.
Why:  "I want to share Geronimo's story as a one-man show, from his final surrender through his 20 years as a POW at Fort Sill, Oklahoma," Rudy Ramos
What's a Kickstarter? Kickstarters fund artistic projects in all forms. Pledges from a dollar up are welcome. If the funding goal isn't met, no money changes hands. Click on the above link for more information.
Note from the blogger: Dear readers, this show is my valentine to the Apache people.  It treats the historical perspective with respect and humor (without being nonsensical). Please consider supporting this creative effort. I thank you from the bottom of my heart. Janelle


September 10, 2013

Kickstarter! Geronimo, Life on the Reservation (A Historical Fantasy), Rudy Ramos

Rudy Ramos

Kickstarter Page link:
Geronimo, Life on the Reservation KickStarter link
Funding period: September 7, 2013-October 8, 2013
Website page link:

Geronimo, Life on the Reservation (A Historical Fantasy)
Starring Rudy Ramos
written by Janelle Meraz Hooper
About the show...
A historical fantasy of Geronimo’s life on the reservation after his surrender that focuses on the resiliency and humor of the great Apache Indian leader.

Geronimo chats with his visitors using a stolen laptop to introduce humor and lighten the emotional load on his audience. Recalling a history of strife, betrayal, and battle, he says, “…I had to steal the laptop because the white men will never tell the whole story about the Apaches. They control everything that's said about us in newspapers and books. Even the maps are slanted toward the whites. Look and you'll see they're dotted with each place we fought the white soldiers. Look closely. You'll see that if the soldiers won, it was a battle. If we won, it was a massacre…”

In this presentation, Geronimo cleverly evolves from a surrendered Indian leader into a successful entrepreneur. He participates in wild west shows, the Chicago World Fair, and others. Keenly aware of how to work the political system, he joins the same church that Teddy Roosevelt belongs to and rides in his Inaugural Parade. Although he isn’t successful in getting everything he wants, he certainly succeeds in making the best of his situation.

Beaten? Geronimo was never beaten. He simply adapted to his present circumstances and met the white man on a new battleground.

August 25, 2013

Jacob and his Fender

Recently, I spent the day with my grandson. He is teaching himself to play guitar by watching the guitarists on YouTube. Who knew? Click the screen above to see the video...

Obviously, I'm not working very hard this summer. From the time Jacob was a toddler I told him to come on over whenever he wanted to. "Gramma's writing a novel, not world peace," I'd tell him.
Other news around here:
On my CD Player- Dan Mangan's CD Nice, Very Nice. Love this guy. he's a real poet. and Bread's CD, The Best of Bread. He has some music I'm craving that was recorded in Brazil, too, but I haven't ordered it yet.
On my TV- As usual, I'm the last to know about a good TV show because I don't watch much TV. I am crazy about The Big Bang Theory. Can't get enough of it!
On my bed table- Gifts of the Crow by John Marzluff and Tony Angell (How perception, emotion, and thought allow smart birds to behave like humans.)
On my Kindle- Mary, Queen of France, by Jean Plaidy
In my kitchen- homemade salsa with homegrown tomatoes and cilantro (made by our daughter), fresh caught salmon from the river just three miles away (I'm hoping it isn't full of radiation), yellow squash (homegrown) soup with onions, garlic and cubed chicken, and more...
Favorite quote- "Be so good they can't ignore you." Steve Martin



August 21, 2013

Free is a good thing! Thanks, Amazon!

Every once in a while, I like to remind my readers that, if they are an Amazon Prime member, they can borrow some of my Kindle books and my Kindle article for free! Here's the list of items available for a free loan:
A Three-Turtle Summer (novel, #1 in my Turtle Trilogy)
Free Pecan Pie and Other Chick Stories (mixed genre)
As Brown As I Want: The Indianhead Diaries (novel, #2 in my Turtle Trilogy)
Surviving Arthritis, How to live on a Rocky Beach (article)
If you're not familiar with Amazon Prime, it's a feature that allows you to pay a yearly fee and get free shipping on your books and music. They lose money on me. Amazon Prime members can also stream a lot of TV shows for free. But wait! There's more! I just don't know for sure what it is...I am not really a technical person. I'm still looking for the coffee button on my keyboard.
I hope you're having a wonderful summer. Happy reading!

August 14, 2013

How to live happily ever after in

The author with her husband at an Alaskan fish camp
Janelle Meraz Hooper
A variation of this story was published in my short story book, Free Pecan Pie and Other Chick Stories…

    I heard about a great Jewish guy from Alaska who went to New York City to look for a Jewish wife, and all of those big city gals turned him down. Seems they all got cold feet...before they ever left the Big Apple.
     To be fair, part of the problem may be the way Hollywood portrays life in Alaska as a kind of a frozen Dogpatch. Truth is, the big cities in Alaska are just like any other big cities in the United States, only with snow. Maybe this guy should have had as many references for Alaska as he had for himself.
     Or, maybe, he was looking in the wrong city. Why didn’t he come to Tacoma?  There must be lots of beautiful Jewish girls here who aren’t afraid of a little snow.                 
     If any of you ladies happen to meet a nice Jewish (or other) man who asks you to marry him and live in Alaska, here’s some advice from someone who did just that...and had a great time:

1.  Alaskans like to say there’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad gear...and it’s true.  Don’t buy any winter outdoor clothing until you get there. It’s expensive stuff and you don’t want to have to buy outerwear twice.  Then listen to the locals, they’ll tell you what you really need. One hint: don’t expect to be warm and toasty in a snow bank if you’re wearing jeans. 
2.  Take your sunscreen and your bikini. Summers in Fairbanks look a lot like summers in Washington. Temperatures are often in the nineties, and people sail their boats on the lakes, hike and fish just like other real people. In winter, travel agencies have great deals on trips to exotic places that grow pineapples and palm trees. You may see more tropical paradises living in Alaska than you’ll ever see if you live “outside” (Alaskan for outside of Alaska). 

3.  Leave your creature-phobias behind: there are no snakes, spiders or other obnoxious creepy creatures in Alaska. It’s too damn cold. This alone could be a good selling point to any woman.
4.  Be prepared to entertain yourself. Days are short in the winter. If you’re not working, plan to keep busy to avoid the winter blues. This won’t be difficult. Alaska is rich in culture. Art and history museums abound...the opera houses so important to the gold miners have evolved into elaborate facilities that attract all of the Broadway road shows.  Believe me; you won’t be starved for the arts.

5.  Be social. Alaskans are very friendly. You will be invited to a constant stream of parties. Accept all of them. You’ll have a great time; Alaskans are the brightest, most creative, and adventurous people I’ve ever met.   
6.  Learn to love the great outdoors...there’s a lot of it. Thanks to a great infusion of oil money, Alaska is rich in multi-purpose trails that are used for walking, biking, and cross-country skiing...although, in some cases, you may have to share these amenities with a moose.

7.  Don’t underestimate your female competition. Contrary to popular belief, Alaskan women are beautiful. They’re just as stylish as Northwest women and what the local Nordstrom doesn’t have they order from expensive mail order catalogs.
8.  Have a big refrigerator. You’ll find out why soon enough: Alaskans describe their weather as nine months of winter and three months of company. The only people who get more company have addresses right outside Disneyland. Everyone wants to see Alaska...make a big bowl of pasta and gas up the car.
9.  Have money. There’s only one down side to Alaska: it’s a long way from home. You can fly someplace glamorous for what it’ll cost you to fly to Sea-Tac between Seattle and Tacoma (go figure).

10.  Don’t even talk to me about earthquakes. We’ve got those here, remember?    Besides, they’re going to make your e-mails real interesting.
     So, if some nice guy asks you to marry him and move to Alaska, my advice is to go for it. Chances are, you’ll have a great adventure, and when you revisit your old neighborhood, it’s going to look a lot more ways than one.

Facebook, YouTube





August 10, 2013

A loving memory of Pearlie Baskin, a Tacoma leader in supporting the arts

 Pearlie's latest Pot by

(Laughing Loon)

Pearlie’s Pots
Janelle Meraz Hooper
   Pearlie’s pots are under my stairs.  My linen drawers are stuffed with her potholders. Her books by independent authors fill my bookshelves. Some of her plants fill my flowerbeds. I have plenty of wall space, so her paintings hang on the walls of our home.
   No one else in the family knows who Pearlie is. Who is this woman? Why does she have so much of her stuff in our home? I know who she is, and whenever I open a closet and see a hand-thrown  pot  or an original watercolor, I smile.
   I first met Pearlie about 1984 at an art show on the third floor of the Frank Russell building where we exchanged a few pleasant words when I was on the Pierce County Arts Commission. At the end of the show,  I was on my way out the door when I looked behind me and heard an elderly woman carrying out a painting she’d purchased that was so big I couldn’t see anything but her shoes. I only knew it was Pearlie because she was chatting with a friend in line and I recognized her voice.
                “Pearlie,” I asked, “where are you going with that painting?”
                “I’m going to my car,” she said. Then she added, “I hope this thing will fit in the trunk!”
                “Where are you parked?” I asked.
   She indicated that she was parked on the street outside the building.  “That’s a long way to go. Let me carry the painting for you.”
   I had no idea who Pearlie Baskin was or the precautions that were made for her security. She turned to a board member of the art commission and asked, “Is she good people?”
  "The best,” the person answered.
   Still, Pearlie was confident she didn’t need my help. I was so worried that she might take a fall that I followed along behind. When we got to the elevators we discovered they were turned off. The security man said we could use the stairs. I saw Pearlie look at the long, steep stairs with trepidation. “Oh, no!” I argued. “Do you want to take the chance of this woman walking down three flights of stairs?” The man took one look at Pearlie and turned the elevator back on. By then, I was rattled and through taking chances. When the elevator doors opened on the first floor, I took the painting from Pearlie and said, “Lead the way.” I think she only relented because she was getting tired.
  At her car, she and her friend safely loaded the painting into her car’s trunk and she asked me to follow them to her house for tea. While we were waiting for her friend to boil the water, she gave me a tour of her beautifully decorated home that was filled with wonderful pieces of artwork in every medium.
  I was well aware of how special my presence in Pearlie’s home was. It was clear that not many outsiders were ever guests there.  What a treat! I followed her down the hall while she put her newest acquisition in a large closet because she had no more room left on her walls. She opened the closet door wide and pointed out her stash of art—possibly enough to fill a small gallery. When she saw my puzzlement, she cheerfully explained that she and her late husband were art enthusiasts and they regularly purchased  artwork to support artists.
  And that’s how the pots—Pearlie’s Pots—got under my stairs. I was so inspired by Pearlie that, through the years, I’ve tried to support the arts whenever I could.
  Pearlie is no longer with us. I wish there was a way for her to know that she has now branched out into supporting musicians: last weekend, my husband stopped at a street fair to toss some bills into the instrument cases of two very young musicians. I was all in favor of supporting local musicians (My mantra is: Always tip the musicians!"). I was also relieved he hadn’t stopped to buy a pot.  Anything but a pot! Our closet under the basement stairs is full!