Sunday, September 25, 2016

CBS Sunday Morning, My Favorite News Show

I don’t know how many years I have been a fan of CBS Sunday Morning, said to be the most widely watched Sunday news show. I loved Charles Kuralt, the North Carolinian who had the story telling gene like no one I have ever seen.  In some ways, I think he influenced me to interview and write the stories of interesting people. I did that for the local newspaper when I first moved here to the mountains. He also helped me to realize that ordinary people have unique stories and many of them are far more interesting than the constant stream of information we hear about famous people.

I also liked the Sunday Morning show because it was the only program on TV that told the stories of good people, of people most of us  never heard of but who made a difference. I thought of people I knew, even some in my own family, whose stories could have been told on Sunday Morning with Charles Kuralt.

When Charles Osgood took over the show twenty-two years ago, I had never heard of him. I missed the down home style of Kuralt. But Osgood grew on me over all these years. I never missed a show once I could record it and watch after I got home from church.

Today I felt sad as I watched CBS Sunday Morning, the day Charles Osgood retired and will be gone from my Sunday mornings. I loved his ironic rhymes, not poetry, he said. I loved his musicianship and joy in music. He has played piano all his life and plays banjo also. He is a man who was raised with manners, and has an elegance we only see in English movies or British television shows.

I compared my growing up with his and although he came from an upper middle class family and I came from a struggling farm family, I think we were taught the same values – caring about those who have no voice, speaking up when we see injustice, treating everyone with kindness and civility.

We see so little of this on television and social media. Young people of today see the worst examples of humanity on their screens where they stay glued to scenes of violence, denigration of women, dishonesty and fraud that is accepted in our culture as normal. Music of today is  often about violence against women, obvious sexual tease, and male dominance. I love the music we see on CBS Sunday Morning where they often introduce a new face like Rhiannon Giddens .

Today Charles Osgood named his successor. I was glad it was Jane Pauley, a  woman who embraces the kinds of stories we have become accustomed to on Sunday Morning. How the public will accept a woman after over forty years of men heading this show, is one to watch. I hope she will become as loved by the public as Charles Kuralt and Charles Osgood have been.

She is the only news person I think could do this job and do it well. Jane has done shows that  research why all the advertising is geared to the younger generation when it has been found that people over 55 spend the most money, shop and travel more. Still the car manufacturers make ads that poke fun at older people to make their cars appeal to twenty-year-olds.

Jane Pauley will be a great addition to CBS Sunday Morning and I will continue to record the show every week.

Friday, September 16, 2016

De-Stressing, taking off a few of my hats

I wear too many hats I've decided. Can't keep up with everything these days. So, what to do?

Saturday we will have our last class at Writers Circle for this season. I will concentrate on changes I want to make in the studio and downstairs. I will have all winter to get things done.

My last class at TCCC ends in October and I will not teach again until next year. As much as I love teaching senior adults to write about their lives, I need time for myself now. 

When those two hats are hung up until next year, I will still have another hat on - working with individual writers and poets to help them complete goals for their writing. 

But this winter I will put in place a new schedule for the coming year. I will work more from home, in my studio, and will not be hosting as many out of town writers as I have done in the past. 

I have been asked to teach more at my studio instead of the college. I have also been told by several people that I don't charge enough for my classes. I know that, compared to other writers and teachers, my fees are very low, but hesitate to charge what I should. However, I must. The cost of living has increased and my fixed income has not. 

Lexie loves to ride in her car seat where she can see everything.


Plus--I have a second mouth to feed. Lexie eats like a small horse even though she is only 8 pounds. But the biggest expense of having Lexie is making my house and yard escape-proof. I  had a new gate built for my upper deck because she jumped the other one any time I left her out. I have to replace the carpet on my stairs and upstairs office because she thought the carpet was her special place to potty. All of this has been costly. But when she cuddles up with me and looks at me with those sweet eyes, I know I will work as long as I have to if it helps me keep this lovely little thing safe and happy, and keeps me from being angry at her for soiling my floors. She is a year old now and she is good about going outside but it is too late for my carpet. 

My goal is to make my life more stress-free and to spend more time with those I love. That will mean taking off some of my hats, I think. At least I am realizing that I need to take more time for me - to rest, to sit on my deck and enjoy my garden, to read some of the many books I've stacked up and never get to, and to watch my little dog play. Time passes way to fast. I have books to write and publish and the days grow short when you reach September. 


Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Life is happening now, right this minute. Don't miss it.

Life is wasted on the young, I often hear and I believe it. 
As a teen growing  up in south Georgia feeling unfulfilled in so many ways, I longed to be grown up, to be free and on my own. I didn't know exactly what I wanted to do when I was an adult, but I dreamed of being a writer like many other young people and  seeing my name on a book on a shelf in the library. I imagined what it would be like to have readers lose themselves in my books as I did in the wonderful books I pulled from the shelves of the Book Mobile that came to our house every two weeks in summer.  I gave little thought to what was happening in my world every day. I seldom thought of what I had, instead of what  I wanted. I journaled and wrote my stories that no one ever saw. That part was not a waste.

Years later, on a vacation in the West Virginia mountains, we stayed in a cabin with horse pastures surrounding us. I was inspired to write this poem.
 You can purchase a framed print of this poem on  www.YourDailyPoem.com   


While I Waited, Life Happened
By Glenda Council Beall

In the waning days of fall vacation, leaves fly
like goldfinches, poplars’ jeweled showers
rain upon the mountains of West Virginia.

Temperatures plummet to freezing after dark,
but mornings crisp as caramel apples draw us
outside where cows seek sustenance burrowing beneath
tall weeds bronzed by season’s cold.

Three horses clip remaining blades from pasture overgrazed
in the drought. Smoke plumes from burning brush cut to make
the raw road, drifts across the pond’s mosaic surface.

I find myself nostalgic for my own country roots;
Soft sounds of mourning doves and lost calves calling
for their mothers; riding horseback in the woods, quail
flush and scare my pony; crows caw from stands of willows.

Boundless days stretched before me; days of wasted youth;
Hours of restless yearning, wanting always what I did not have,
waiting to learn what I would become, waiting to live,
oblivious to the riches I already possessed.

Given a second chance, I’d hold that gift of time cupped
tightly in my hands. I’d breathe, taste and savor every second
I have squandered — not fritter it away, but hoard each precious
minute, clutched firmly against my breast.


From Now Might As Well Be Then (Finishing Line Press. 2009)


Saturday, August 27, 2016

Old Faithful in a poem for Birthday of our National Parks

This week is the  100th anniversary of our National Parks, wonders of  nature reserved for all people to enjoy. I hope they last forever.

Zion National Park
I have had the good fortune to  visit the Grand Canyon and Zion National Park. I could not get enough of looking at the vast colorful formations of rock not created by man. Barry and I visited these glorious sights in the seventies and eighties, and he made many photographs I still enjoy today. Of course the  Great Smoky Mountains National Park is right  here at my door with the most peaceful and ethereal scenes one could ever wish for.

One vacation, Gay and Stu, my sister and BIL, and Barry and I flew out to Montana and rented an apartment in a  little town near one of the gates to Yellowstone National Park. For a week we visited the park every day and had the best time ever. The bison moving like a wave across the prairie grass will be forever emblazoned into my mind. The  majestic male Elk fighting in the Galatin River, deciding who would be leader of the herd, plays over and  over in my mind. It became a poem, Scene from Yellowstone's Valiant Wild, that has been published a few times. 

We had time to drive through the Great Tetons but wish we had been able to stop and enjoy that beautiful area. It was raining and cold, not a  good day for outside. We did make this photo in front of the lake with snow covered mountains behind us. Looks cold, doesn't it?

Stu is taking this picture of Barry, me and Gay
Today I am posting this poem that was published in Your Daily Poem. It is a bit of humor during this important milestone for our National Parks.


You and Me, Elsie and Old Unfaithful
                     at Yellowstone National Park

Our hands wrapped around hot chocolate cups, 
we shared a muffin  with a resident ground squirrel. 
He ran under tables and chairs in the room where a tree
grew up through the floor as we waited
for the famous geyser to erupt on schedule.

Overcast and cold, the day not meant for
sight-seeing, but we settled in with front row seats
before a giant picture-window. We didn't know the
mature lady with years of laugh lines on her face,
until Elsie took the chair beside us.

For 90 minutes she spilled out her life in cupfuls.
Chicago-born, life-long teacher, retired
to an island in Puget Sound near her only daughter.
I saw this thing this morning and it didn't show me much.
Hope it's better this time. She pulled her sweater close.

What did she expect? Predictable doesn't mean perfect.
I smiled, remembering pictures of the scalding
water shooting skyward, high into blue Montana sky.
Remembering my anticipation of the day when
you and I would be here to see this spectacle in person.

Dusk fell, rain slanted against the pane.
Straining my eyes, I spied the first short bursts
forced from the bowels of the earth. There was
no apex against cerulean sky. The geyser disappeared,
a ghost into the mist, an apparition of my imagination.

The long awaited marvel, like a candle flickered out,
left me empty as the chocolate cups, no sweetness
for the chipmunk, still hunting for some morsel.
Elsie gathered up her coat and hat, ambled off stating
Still doesn't show me much.
                            ---Glenda Council Beall







Thursday, August 25, 2016

Now taking registration for The Art of Reflection by Steven Harvey

Registration is open for a writing class at Writers Circle around the Table, Hayesville, NC with Dr. Steven Harvey, author, essayist, memoirist, and English professor retired from Young  Harris College.


Dr. Steven Harvey, nonfiction writer 
and memoirist
Fee: $45


The Art of Reflection

Using Personal Experience to Explore an Idea:  Vivian Gornick writes in The Situation and the Story that essayists and memoirists are interested in their own existence only as a means of “penetrating the situation at hand.”  They are “truth speakers” and their delight is not in self-aggrandizement but in the illumination of an idea.  We will study how nonfiction writers “penetrate the situation” to discover an idea worth living for and consider ways that we can do the same in our writing.

Students will bring in an object or a photograph of an object that means a great deal to them.  Preferably this is an object in which the meaning is not already obvious, so I would prefer that it not be a crucifix, for instance, or a wedding ring, but a different piece of jewelry—a watch for instance—or a favorite scarf , musical instrument, piece of furniture, or automobile.  Any object—or picture of such an object—will do.  We will explore the meaning of this object, learning various techniques from the writers we examine in class to amplify the idea.  The goal is to have the thematic core of an essay or a memoir—one that can be the heart of a longer work.


Students should bring the object or photo—a photo on a phone will do—as well as a laptop or pen and paper for writing.


Steve Harvey is a professor emeritus of English and creative writing at Young Harris College, a member of the nonfiction faculty in the Ashland University MFA program in creative writing, and a senior editor for River Teeth magazine. He is the creator of The Humble Essayist, a website designed to promote literary nonfiction. 


His most recent book is The Book of Knowledge and Wonder a memoir about coming to terms with the suicide of his mother when he was a child.


He is also the author of three books of personal essays. A Geometry of LiliesLost in Translation, and Bound for Shady Grove and edited an anthology of essays written by men on middle age called In a Dark Wood.   

He lives in the north Georgia mountains.  You can learn more about Steve and his work at his web site:  www.steven-harvey-author.com 

Send check for $45 made to Glenda Beall, 581 Chatuge Lane, Hayesville, NC 28904.  Be sure to give your name and email address.


Writers Circle site is down today. May be up tomorrow.

I am having trouble  with my Writers  Circle site:

www.glendacouncilbeall.com 






I am told it should be up and running by this time tomorrow. 5:00 p.m.

I am sorry. Contact me by email If you want information from my website about classes, etc. 
August 6, 6 - 8 p.m. Tri-County Community College - Writing Your Life Stories for Family or Publication.

Saturday, September 17, 1 - 4 p.m. with Dr. Steven Harvey at Writers Circle studio.




Monday, August 22, 2016

Are you following your dreams, your passions?

The painting above was one my sisters both liked very much. June, my older sister, fell in love with it and had it in her house for a while. Gay has this one and most of my good  paintings.


Going into the painting class the first time, I was terrified. I had never attempted to use oil paint. But the once a week class became a passion that helped my self-esteem, helped me escape from real life, as I painted in class and painted at home, constantly improving until I could see my work was good.

In the 1970's I decided to take painting lessons with a lovely lady named Verna. Little did I know how much she would change my life. I was going through a rough time.

My mother and I had been closer than most mothers and daughters. I visited her almost every day and I could talk to her about everything. My mother had suffered a ruptured aneurysm in January 1975. We had recently moved into the house we always dreamed of building. Life was supposed to be good for us, but my mother needed me and I had vowed if she recovered from the cerebral hemorrhage that almost killed her, I would care for her the rest of her life. 

When she came home from the hospital after three months, she had no short term memory. She had to re-learn who her children were. It was a determined family that would not give up on her. Gay, my younger sister came and spent a month helping get Mother settled in at home. After my sister left, I became the one responsible for Mother's care. I was on call 24/7. I learned all I could about care giving, Mother's illness, diet and her medications. The weight of her care weighed heavily on my shoulders and on my mind.

Depressed and lonely, not working out of the home, I knew I needed to do something that would take me out of my everyday life. My husband's mother was an artist and we had a  number of her paintings in our new house. For a long time, I had thought about taking painting lessons. One day I called Verna and signed up for classes.


I used a little glassed in balcony in our new house high up in the trees as my painting studio. The north light was fabulous. I could leave my canvas on my easel and work on it as I had time. I  love oils for that reason. They take a long time to dry. 

My husband Barry loved my paintings. That pleased me, having grown up in a family where I seldom heard a compliment for anything. Verna asked me to help her judge an art show. I was  overjoyed with her confidence in my ability. It was a day I'll never forget. I still have a small gift I received that day. 

During the ten years of my Mother's illness and my life as a care giver, painting was my absolute passion. I donated a painting to a charity that held a sale at the  local mall. It sold for the price I put on it and, I heard, it was the only painting sold that day. 

Mother died in 1985. I was devastated. Grieving, I felt I had failed as her care giver. Also I was lost with no purpose for my daily life.  

I turned to my writing as  therapy, pouring out all my fears, my sadness, my memories. I stopped painting. It seemed I could not paint and write. This became a period of soul-searching, of deep introspection. My sorrow took over  my life.

In 1988, my father died. I was free to leave south Georgia and we did.

When I moved to our little house in the  mountains, I gave away most of my paintings.

I met and became part of an exciting writing community. I followed my other passion that I had nurtured all my life, writing.

Lately I have entertained ideas of painting again, twenty years after giving it up. I  never lost my eye for scenes I want to paint. I see them everywhere. I often try to capture them with a camera, but have not found the satisfaction I want. 

This is one of the my photographs that hangs on my wall.

My  woods in winter - taken from my deck

I hope we do get to live more than one life. It took me so long to get the courage to follow my dreams and do what I love to do. I think it would be so unfair if, just as I get to the place I can do all these things I love, I would have to leave.

Are you following your dreams, following your passions and doing what you most enjoy? Don't wait. Time flies so swiftly and before you know it, it is too late. I hope you are following your passion, your dream. 

Sunday, August 14, 2016

More family history from my brother

Every time I talk with my brother Max, I learn more of our family history. 

Recently he told me that he, my sister June, and my brother Ray had malaria when Max was only four years old. Malaria is a serious and sometimes fatal disease caused by a parasite that infects a certain type of mosquito which feeds on humans. People who get malaria are typically very sick with high fevers, shaking chills, and flu-like illness. 

My family lived west of downtown Albany, GA, in the southwest corner of the state. At that time that area was mostly undeveloped wetlands, and small sinkholes filled with water each summer. These holes or little ponds became stagnant water, a perfect breeding place for mosquitoes. This was typical all over the south where swampy land existed.

Some of our relatives, who saw Max as he was recovering, thought he would not live. I imagine many children died from that dread disease in the late thirties and early forties. My aunt Lillian once asked my parents why in the world they lived in Albany, the “Malaria Capital of the World.” 

The most effective antimalarial drug was quinine, a very bitter substance, made from the bark of a certain kind of tree. Max said Mother gave them a green, grainy tonic called Grove’s Chill Tonic. One of the ingredients was quinine. The original name was Grove’s Tasteless Chill Tonic and was created not as a cure, but as a preventative and relief for the chills and fever accompanying the illness. Quinine has been used for more than three centuries and until the 1930s it was the only effective malaria treatment.

Mother had great faith in Grove’s Chill Tonic. She continued to use it as her first method of treatment for everything. I came along six years later. I can still remember how I dreaded a dose of chill tonic which she gave for whatever ailed us.

“I had a little drug business in Paris, Tennessee, just barely making a living, when I got up a real invention, tasteless quinine. As a poor man and a poor boy, I conceived the idea that whoever could produce a tasteless chill tonic, his fortune was made.”—E.W. Grove

Mr. E.W. Grove built the Grove Park Inn in Asheville, NC in 1913. By this time his medicinal products had become so popular his little drug business had grown into his Paris Medicine Company. He moved to Asheville for his health and constructed a number of places besides the Grove Park Inn. The Grove name is widely known in the mountain city. A popular place  for shopping is the Grove Arcade. Wise  people invested in his products and his company. I know our family contributed to his fortune with all the bottles Mother purchased. 

Barry and I spent a weekend in Asheville at that beautiful Inn about twenty years ago, and I almost asked for a discount claiming I helped build that place.

By the 1950s malaria had been eradicated. The Communicable Disease Center was founded in 1946 and with state, local and federal cooperation, DDT, an effective insecticide discovered in 1939, was sprayed everywhere mosquitoes could breed. Now only a few pockets of malaria are found in the United States each year.

Today the CDC warns about another mosquito-borne illness, the Zika Virus.
I wonder if I should suggest they try Grove’s Chill Tonic.

Note: The chill tonic was so popular the British army made it standard issue for every soldier going off to mosquito infested lands and, by 1890, more bottles of Grove’s Tasteless Chill Tonic were sold than bottles of Coca-Cola.


Did you ever take Grove’s Chill Tonic or did your mother rely on another tonic?

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Another Hot Day but Fall will come


We are now into August and I believe summer will finally end soon. 

This has been the worst summer for me since I moved to the mountains in 1995. I mean the weather has been the worst. My life in general has been good. I am enjoying teaching writing and having instructors like Tara Lynne Groth come to Writers Circle, my studio in Hayesville, NC. Her class on August 6 filled and we had a waiting list. Of course, all the classes require lots of work from me and my own writing has suffered this summer. 

I am thinking of taking my little dog and going to a cabin in the woods for a few days since I am having some painting and work done on my stairs. Those fumes cause me to have asthma and that is no fun. 

I spent last week at the home of my sister and brother-in-law, dog-sitting. That did not turn out the way I had planned because one of their dogs became seriously ill the first day I was there. We ended up in the emergency dog hospital where she had to stay over night on IV fluids and medication. Thankfully she is doing fine now, but it was a frightening experience. I am so grateful I was with her, however, because I could not reach Gay and Stu. I knew what they would do, and they are glad I did.

Smokie was sick, but she is fine now. She is a love.

While away, I wrote a post for this blog and wanted to post it on Sunday. But I did something that made my post completely vanish, and now I can't get it back. Sometimes computers drive me nuts. If anyone knows how to find a lost post on Blogger, please let me know.

I am taking a break from political news. I know how I will vote and don't care to hear any more of the rabble rousing, name calling and such. I can't change anyone's mind and no one can change mine. I know my values and which party supports them. That is all I really need to know at this time.

TV news brings way too much stress so I avoid it as much as possible. Isn't it interesting that old TV game shows have come to prominence lately? I think that is good, although I've never been a game show follower, because it rests the mind that has been stressed out by watching cable news all day. 

Too many retired people, especially men, sit in front of the television set all day watching the news channel that best fits their political leaning. I've been told by women that their husbands eat breakfast, take their coffee and plop down in front of the TV and stay there all day. Those people have an addiction. Years ago I knew a man who was a "news junkie." He could not wait to get off work and hurry to the nearest place he could watch cable news. 

Today I  took one more step into the 21st Century. I became a Twitter user. After the  class on social media for authors, I had help from our teacher, Tara Lynne Groth, on getting into Twitter and using it for my writing. I will not become addicted to Twitter as many do today, because I don't find it all that interesting. I'd rather read and write blog posts, but I will give Twitter a good try.

Well, I have rambled on too long. That is what happens when your carefully written and edited post flies into cyber space. 

Have a great week and live each day as if it were your last. 

Visit: www.glendacouncilbeall.com  for writing news.