Tag Archives: #Stream of Consciousness Saturday

Pack Horse Librarians, Blue People, and Moonlight Schools

“Reading is the key that opens doors to many good things in life. Reading shaped my dreams, and more reading helped me make my dreams come true.” ~ Ruth Bader Ginsburg

If we were having coffee, I would tell you I have been busy reading the books I checked out of the library this week. I am often attracted to books with the word ‘library’ or ‘bookstore’ in their titles. So, one book that caught my attention was ‘The Book Woman’s Daughter’, by Kim Michele Richardson. It is a historical novel set in Appalachia and ‘the book woman’ is what the locals called the Pack Horse Librarian. She was a young woman who rode up into the hills and hollers bringing library books to the people there. The Pack Horse Library Project was started during the Depression through the WPA (Works Progress Administration). The women were paid $28/month and had to supply their own horses or mules. Some women would rent their horses from local farmers. There were many people who couldn’t read in Eastern Kentucky so the women would read the books to them as well.

To help combat illiteracy in that area there was another program called ‘Moonlight Schools’ started by Cora Wilson Stewart. Local schoolteachers volunteered to teach adults to read and write in the evening at the one room schoolhouses where they taught children during the day. The program was successful and copied in several other counties and states.

Another interesting part of the book is that the main character and her mother have a hereditary condition, called congenital methemoglobinemia, that causes their skin to be blue. It only affected the younger woman’s hands and feet, but it caused her to feel shame and she and her family suffered terrible discrimination because of it. There was a real group of people in Kentucky who had this hereditary trait.

I really admire the Pack Horse Librarians and the great teachers who provided these wonderful services to their communities. The Pack Horse Library Project ran from 1935-1943. After that there were more accessible roads for the introduction of bookmobiles.

You can read more about the Moonlight School program of Kentucky here.

The Pack Horse librarians (via Wikimedia Commons)
Pack Horse librarian on her route (via Wikimedia Commons)
‘Works Progress Administration Pack Horse Librarians make regular calls at mountain schools where children are furnished with books for themselves and books to read to their illiterate parents and elders. The little native stone school shown here was built by the WPA in Kentucky and replaced an antiquated log school. Date 11 January 1938’ via Wikimedia
Packhorse librarian reading to man in Appalachia via Wikimedia
Cora Wilson Stewart via Wikipedia
Moonlight School in Kentucky 1 Jan 1916 via Wikipedia

Weekend Coffee Share is hosted by Natalie at Natalie the Explorer.

Stream of Consciousness Saturday, #SOCS, is hosted by Linda G Hill. The prompt for today is ‘key.’

Public Libraries Are Uplifting

“I think the public library system is one of the most amazing American institutions. Free for everybody. If you ever get the blues about the status of American culture there are still more public libraries than there are McDonald’s. During the worst of the Depression not one public library closed their doors.” ~ David McCullough

If we were having coffee, I would tell you I was sad to hear that a historian and author I admired had passed. David McCullough brought history alive for me with his books ‘1776’, ‘John Adams’, and ‘Truman’. David McCullough died August 7, 2022. I agree with this quote about libraries. They are amazing and uplifting places that nourish our minds and spirits. You get a library card for free and then can check out any book in the collection. I have recently gone back to the local library to check out several books. I have to be patient while the books requested are shipped to my local branch and need to return them within a specified length of time. I can extend the time with a renewal if no one is waiting for the book. My local library system has a lot of the latest popular fiction available, so I do not have to buy so many books. The only problem is I think I requested too many books this time and hope I will be able to renew some of them when they come due.

Book drop at a branch of my county library where you can return books

Stream of Consciousness Saturday is hosted by Linda G Hill. The prompt for today was to use a word starting with the letter ‘u’.

Weekend Coffee Share is hosted by Natalie at Natalie the Explorer.

Need A Rest Stop

If we were having coffee, I would tell you I have been hibernating a bit lately because the weather has not been good for walking. Just going out for errands or appointments. Read in the weather reports we are supposed to have thunderstorms but so far only a few sprinkles of rain over our area.

Thunderclouds over mountains on Friday walk

We have had humidity. I did take a walk yesterday when it was 92F, but with humidity my weather app told me it felt like 100F.

The weather app is predicting a storm for tomorrow. We will see. In the meantime, I need to take a ‘digital break.’

(Chelsea Conrad/Washington Post)

Above wallpaper from interesting article in Washington Post Wellness section by Hannah Good, ‘Need a break? Take one with this digital reststop,’ about taking a break from negative digital media by focusing on relaxing images.

Stream of Consciousness Saturday is hosted by Linda G Hill. The prompt for today is ‘wallpaper.’

Weekend Coffee Share is hosted by Natalie at Natalie the Explorer.

Heating Up

If we were having coffee, I would tell you the temperatures are going to be in the triple digits until Friday. Hot weather for June even here in the Coachella Valley. We are maintaining our cool with the AC and my husband has the fans going all over the house. It puts a crimp in my walking goals. I have been walking at least 30 minutes a day. Have to see if I can get up real early to walk before the heat sets in.

We’ve had a couple more visits from the roadrunners. I spotted one hopping up the branches of the grapefruit tree. I don’t think they like grapefruit but are probably using the branches like a ladder up to the back wall.

I’ve been doing the Spelling Bee in the daily newsletter from the New York Times. You have to see how many words you can make out of 7 letters. The words have to be at least 4 letters in length. I knew the word zigzag, but did you know you that ‘zigged’ and ‘zagged’ are words all by themselves?

The roadrunner zigged and zagged to avoid detection by a couple of big ravens.

Maybe if I hunker down they won’t see me
I think it’s working
Raven by Natalie Maynor on Flickr.com

Weekend Coffee Share is hosted by Natalie at Natalie the Explorer.

Stream of Consciousness Saturday is hosted by Linda G Hill. The prompt for today is ‘ a picture from wherever.’

Turning Pages

If we were having coffee, I would tell you I turned over a new leaf, tea leaf that is. I’m having a cup of honey chai turmeric this morning. I do have coffee available if you prefer.

The weather continues moderate here and good for walking outside. We did have some wind the other day which kicked up quite a bit of sand into the air. But none of the extreme weather like I read about in other parts of country and world. Life here continues mostly indoors.

Our book group is starting up again this month. I had already purchased three new books and I am in the process of starting to read the third one. We will meet on Zoom but the plan is for in person in March.

The three books:

‘The Sentence’ by Louise Erdrich

‘State of Terror’ by Hillary Rodham Clinton and Louise Penny

‘The Dark Hours’ by Michael Connelly

The book group book for this month:

‘The Vanishing Half’ by Brit Bennett

Of the two books on the top list that I just read; ‘State of Terror’ is the page turner. ‘The Sentence’ centers around a haunted bookstore in Minneapolis. It includes current events like living through the pandemic lockdowns and protests after the killing of George Floyd. The bookstore is able to remain open and sell books by curbside pick-up and sometimes home delivery. I picked up a couple of books curbside, but now I order them online for delivery. I did have a book arrive damaged recently and had to go to the local Barnes & Noble to exchange it. I didn’t expect to see so many people in the store, all wearing masks. Like in the book, bookstores are a balm during these times.

Maybe we’ll turn the page on Covid soon.

‘I’m feeling a little prickly.’
But Spring is on the way

Weekend Coffee Share is hosted by Natalie at Natalie the Explorer

And Stream of Consciousness Saturday is hosted by Linda G Hill. The prompt word for Saturday is ‘page.’

Rainy Day

If we were having coffee, I would be having herbal or decaf tea. I have given up coffee for a while because it was one of the things that was causing stomach problems. If you had asked me a few months ago if I thought I could stop drinking coffee, I would have said it would be very hard. It surprises me that it has been pretty easy. I don’t think I have had caffeine withdrawal she says as she falls asleep at the computer.

I made a resolution to get outside and walk every day and I have been sticking to it almost 100%. It does feel pretty good to go out and look at the trees, various cacti, flowers, and the beautiful expanse of sky over the Coachella Valley. I even like the dark grey clouds like the ones we had about a week ago that brought some rain with them.

So far it hasn’t really stormed here but we did get enough to soak our patio and one of the roadrunners. I spotted it up on a fence puffing up its feathers, trying to dry off.

Hawk on a lamp post as rain clouds start to clear away
Roadrunner puffing feathers to dry off after rain
Heather fluffs feathers too

Stream of Consciousness Saturday, #SOCS, is hosted by Linda G Hill.

Weekend Coffee Share hosted by Natalie at Natalie the Explorer

Like It Or Lump It

I thought by now we would all be looking in the rear-view mirror at the pandemic, but it continues to have a few tricks up it sleave. So here we are heading into another holiday season with a new variant. It’s having to worry about catching it, wearing masks, nervous about letting repair people into the house or getting too close to a stranger or slightly known acquaintance. I know some like to throw caution to the winds…

via giffy.com

And even though I feel like it sometimes, I don’t want to catch COVID or spread it to someone else. So, I don’t have to like it but, I will continue to take precautions and I hope you do too.

Hope you have Happy, Healthy, and Safe holidays!

Mill Rose Inn, Half Moon Bay, California

Stream of Consciousness Saturday, #SOCS, is hosted by Linda G Hill. The prompt word for today is ‘opposite.’

Weekend Coffee Share is hosted by Natalie at Natalie the Explorer.

Photo of Mill Rose Inn by Wonderlane on Flickr.com

It’s How You Put The Words Together

If we were having coffee, I would tell you I have gotten caught up on my book list. I almost believed I was over reading books anymore. Now I think I just got out of the habit. I have a prompt today from Linda G Hill for Stream of Consciousness Saturday that relates to books.

Your Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is “close eyes and point.” Grab the closest printed material to you when you sit down to write your post, open it up (if it’s a book, flyer, etc.), close your eyes, and point. Whatever your finger lands on, use that as your prompt. 


I am getting near the end of ‘All The Devils Are Here,’ by Louise Penny. So I picked up the book, opened it, and my finger landed in the middle of a sentence on ‘hand reached.’ This made me think of people reaching out a hand to each other. Which leads me to something I have been thinking about after reading three other books on my list,

‘The Glass Hotel’ by Emily St. John Mandel

‘The Witch Elm’ by Tana French

‘His and Hers’ by Alice Feeney

There is a thread connecting all three of these books. The last book was one from my book group and some of us picked up on this thread. It has to do with the flaws of many of the lead characters, (protagonists), that you would usually want to root for. Not that characters can’t have any flaws but when they have too many I find it hard to be in their corner. They definitely did not reach out to help each other. What was disturbing is how they almost casually, mindlessly caused harm.

Maybe, the authors are all in a negative mind set from all the bad going on in the world. But when I read a book, I don’t want to be made depressed at the end. Louise Penny does give us characters to root for. Don’t we need that right now?

Weekend Coffee Share is hosted by Natalie at Natalie the Explorer.

Don’t Say Boo

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I need an extra cup today because I did not get enough sleep last night. I’m feeling pretty grouchy as well. I woke up in the middle of the night to a pitch black room. It was creepy because I could not see a thing. What if there was someone hiding in the dark? After a bit, I told myself it was more likely the power was out. I turned toward the window on the opposite side of the bed and saw some light coming through the blind. The room was warm and it felt like there was no air, so I decided to get up and crack open the blind and window. I carefully walked over and opened the blind, then slid one side of the window open. I thought I saw a flashing light in the neighbor’s back yard and wondered could it be lightening or a fire. I groped around on my nightstand for my cell phone and clicked on the screen. This gave me some light to go into the living room and check out the house and neighbor’s yard. No more flashes from next door and our house looked normal. No one lurking in a corner or sitting on the furniture. I went back to the bedroom and there was more light in the room now from outside, but not enough to see well walking to the bathroom. I was concerned about my husband getting up and falling. When he did wake up a short time later, I informed him of the power outage and escorted him to the bathroom with my cell phone. He told me the flash lights were in the garage refrigerator. So I thought it best I be the one to go into the dark garage, with my lighted phone, to get the flashlight. It was pretty spooky to be in the dark like that. If someone said ‘boo’, I would have screamed my head off. Another spooky thing. My bedside clock radio was off during the power outage, but after the power came back on several hours later, the clock was showing the right time. Usually, it would have lost those hours, been way behind, and the dial would be flashing. I told my husband we must have a ghost. Or could I have been dreaming?

I plan to have flashlights in both of our nightstands from now on just in case.

by Fotozeit on Pixabay.com

Stream of Consciousness Saturday,https://lindaghill.com/2021/10/29/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-october-30-2021/ #SOCS, is hosted by Linda G Hill.

Also, sharing with Weekend Coffee Share which is hosted by Natalie at Natalie the Explorer

Featured image of cat eyes by PublicDomainPictures on Pixabay.com


If only I could snap my fingers and everything would be right with the world. It feels like it has been way too long that we have been living with the pandemic and all the unwanted changes it has brought to our lives. It can be hard to see when it will end. My husband and I got our COVID booster shots this week. Have to keep telling myself that infection rates are dropping.

I noticed that the grapefruit on our grapefruit tree were green for the longest time. I thought it was because there was some kind of stress or infection and the tree wasn’t able to produce normal fruit. Just this week I saw that the fruit is starting to ripen. I researched it and found out that it takes the tree 6 months to grow the fruit. It takes a good amount of time, but it will all be as it should in the end.

Stream of Consciousness Saturday, #SOCS, is hosted by Linda G Hill.

Weekend Coffee Share is hosted by Natalie at Natalie the Explorer.