Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Maureen Lang’s THE OAK LEAVES

Reviewed by Marion Kelley Bullock

Maureen Lang’s The Oak Leaves is a dynamic tale, told with warmth and honesty. Talie Ingram has a loving husband, a year-old child and another on the way. She finds the journal of Cosima Escott, her great-great-great grandmother and begins reading it for pure entertainment. Entertainment soon turns to horror, as she discovers family secrets that shake her world. Secrets that have the potential to impact her beloved son, Ben, as well as her unborn child.

As Lang weaves the dual story lines throughout the book, I’m held spellbound, wondering what will happen next and how each heroine will cope. Lang makes me feel a mother’s emotions as she shares intimate glimpses into the mental anguish experienced by the parents of a child others see as “different.”

It’s Cosima’s determination and faith that inspire Talie to reconcile her son’s diagnosis of Fragile X Syndrome (a disability Lang’s own son suffers from) with her belief that God is merciful.

This book is a beautiful example, in two generations, of the power of love and the knowledge that every person is precious in God’s sight.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007


By Marion Kelley Bullock

I grew up hearing the poem, Monday’s Child. If I remember correctly, Monday’s child is fair of face and Tuesday’s child is full of grace.

I may just forget that my mother said I was born on a Wednesday. I never liked that part of the poem. Wednesday’s child is full of woe. Imagine! I’m surprised anyone would ever admit to being born on a Wednesday. I certainly won’t.

If I’d realized the onus of such a distinction, I think I’d have held off being born until the next day. Well, they say hindsight is better than foresight. So I can’t attach too much blame.

Having begun my blog again last Tuesday, after a short hiatus, I find I need some accountability. Therefore, to the best of my ability, I pledge to myself, and to you, that I’ll blog each and every Tuesday, come rain or come shine. I’m sure you’ll find my output meaningful and exciting, about poems such as the aforementioned one, or cats, or my family, or someone else’s family.

I’ll rename myself Tuesday’s child and attribute to myself the line, “full of grace.”
There have been times I was graceful, but they’re few and far between. They don’t take place when I’m walking through the house. I have bruises to prove I bump into walls. “Oh, I was concentrating on the new novel I’m writing. I just didn’t see that doorframe,” I excuse myself. Another time, I fell out of bed. But it was because the doorbell rang early and my feet were tucked in. I jumped out, but my feet stayed in the bed. Only the right side of my face and my right thigh suffered bruises.

Another time, just as I was about to sit down in my office chair, my husband pulled it out to sit in it. Look—no chair!

Oops! I wasn’t supposed to tell that. Gotta go!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007


By Marion Kelley Bullock

Precious died a while back and we were devastated. Only an animal-lover would truly understand. She had lived in our home—or we had lived in hers—since she was three years old.

She came to us as a stray, glaring at us from the relative safety of our alley—before we put up our tall wooden fence. William wanted her.

I wasn’t giving in. “She’s bound to belong to someone. She looks well-fed.”

Her big yellow eyes stared hypnotically, and William was hooked. He begged. “Please, can’t we adopt her?” His brown eyes beseeched us to take her in.

I was stubborn, still saddened by the death of our beloved seventeen-year-old, Leroy Cat. “I don’t want a long-haired cat.” The one in the alley was definitely longhaired, a Maine Coon Cat, we discovered. She was black, with a white chest, cheeks and feet.

“An animal that chooses you is the best kind,” our vet said.

What can I say? I was a soft touch for a certain twelve-year-old boy. It didn’t take me long to capitulate. “We’ll have to be sure she doesn’t belong to someone else, though.” On a loose piece of elastic, I sewed a cloth tag with our telephone number and the request to let us know if this cat already had a home.

Two weeks passed, and the cat continued to hound us. During that time, a little girl who lived down the street insisted that the cat lived on the next block and her name was Precious. William and a friend followed up each lead. No one called to claim her.

Precious seized every opportunity to sneak into our house. She rubbed up against us, promising her complete devotion, if only we’d take her in. Gradually, we got used to the idea that she didn’t have a home.

One day, our next-door neighbor, out working in her yard, saw us with her. “I don’t think she belongs to anyone,” she said. “She was real skinny when I started feeding her, couple of months back. I think somebody moved off and left her.”

“Really?” I could see William’s eyes light up.

“I wish you’d adopt her. She really needs a family.” She went back to her weeding.

“Can we, please?” He asked me. “I think she likes us.” She raised her chin and he scratched under it.

“I think we like her, too—a little bit.” I looked at her round yellow eyes and her pretty black and white coat. And I realized we had grown to love her.

“Yes, I think she needs us and we need her, too.”

She really was Precious.