All too soon, the end of summer is in sight. My husband and I spent the evening with friends. We dined on a delicious leg of lamb, salad, and other tasty fixings under the big Wyoming sky. The conversation flowed, jumping from one subject to another, and later brought to mind a few thoughts.
The past year has been interesting. It has been a whirlwind that I could never have imagined. Parts of it were quite interesting.
Things get kind of weird when people find out you have published a book, especially when you share a name with someone famous. Some of the conversations and comments can be quite funny.
"Are you THAT Jennifer Lawrence?" Nope, not even close. It is easy to say there are a few years and miles separating us. Not only that, we live in two entirely different places, and really, two different worlds. While I can't speak for the other Jennifer Lawrence, I can say that this one is strictly a small town gal. I know I would not enjoy the big city lifestyle.
"Ms. Lawrence! That chick stole your name! You should sue her!" I had to explain to my lovely students that this isn't how the real world works. Movie stars can choose just about any name they like. This led to an even funnier conversation recently. Because there are two Jennifer L's that are teachers in our building, I sign all of my student's passes and paperwork requiring initials as JLaw. Little did I know that the other Jennifer Lawrence goes by JLaw. A building paraprofessional finds this quite humorous, and now never misses an opportunity to call me JLaw.
"But you are a scientist, not a historian." I have heard this from many people, my students included. (I forgive the latter. They are still young enough to be linear thinkers.) Hmm...I didn't know the two were mutually exclusive. I have always believed a person should have many interests, and should always be growing and learning.
"You forgot to dot that i and cross that t. You, not only a teacher, but a writer!" This was from a casual conversation, posted on a social media site. I took the time to explain that I considered Facebook, most email, etc. as casual conversation. I do not expect it to be perfect on your end, and I don't expect it to be perfect on mine. Besides, we all make mistakes.
My favorite conversation was via email. A young lady from Gillette, Wyoming took the time to write to me. The conversation went something like this...
"Hi, Ms. Jennifer Lawrence. My name is Suzy Q. I am interviewing a famous writer. Could you please answer the following questions for me?" The email contained a reasonable list of questions pertaining to the writing craft.
I was flattered to be thought of as a "famous writer," however the child had a slightly different perspective than I did. (That perspective is changing, but that is fodder for another blog post.) Nevertheless, I spent quite some time and thought crafting the answers to her questions.
I explained that I kept a notebook or note cards with me at all times to jot down random thoughts that might become something I incorporated into my writing. I told her that I while I only wrote nonfiction articles and books, I hoped to eventually publish some fiction. This would include children's literature. I mentioned that I tried to write a bit every day. I explained the importance of having other people read my work before submitting it anywhere, and told her it was very important to be willing to accept criticism. Oh, how I believe I waxed eloquently in answering the child's questions. I concluded by asking her about her writing, and said I would love to read what she wrote. I didn't have to wait long for a reply.
"Dear Ms. Jennifer Lawrence. I only wrote to you because this was an assignment our teacher gave us. By the way, you are the only author that has answered so far. Thank you for answering me. Sincerely, Suzy Q."
As we sit here on a cool summer night, swattin' flies and swappin' lies, it is good to remember that working with children and animals will always keep us humble!
#JLaw #Writing #JenniferLawrence #History #Science
(Photo courtesy of NIki DeLancey, DeLancey Stables)
She was 24-years-old. She had arthritic front knees, and a swayed back. On Friday, she "mared up" and got into a kicking fight with younger mare. Initially, the other mare tried to get away, but the old mare kept after her. Finally, the younger mare, wearing shoes, whirled and kicked. The old mare took off around the barn, packing her hind leg. I got the herd run into the corral, and sorted into their respective pens.
I haltered the old girl, and led her into the barn. By then, she was able to put weight on the leg. She had a cut on her canon and another on her stifle. We doctored her, and put her in a pen by herself. She seemed to be improving, then she started declining again.
She was a winner in her day. She carried her older owner around the dressage ring, and through some two-phase events. Later, when her owner was in her 70s, the mare helped the lady win a season-end barrel racing buckle.
She was a trooper in the 4-H arena. Her owner's granddaughter showed her for many years, and won numerous championships. The mare earned that young girl many buckles, too.
I also rode her off and on. She had a walk that would take you to Texas, and a lope that jarred your teeth out. Ironically, one stint of my riding her involved being a lead horse for the mare that kicked her, when that mare was learning to be a saddle horse.
She finished her riding career carrying a young rider in the rodeo arena. She ran barrels and poles, and worked as a goat tail tying horse. That little girl won a year-end saddle with the old mare.
Then she was retired, living out life at the boarding barn where she had lived since she was five.
She was one of those horses that we didn't like some days, but we always loved. She had some truly stupid moments in her life, and we wondered what possessed her. She picked fights with any horse stabled next to her. She had a few little quirks, and came by the addition to her name of, "You ol' bitch," honestly.
She loaded onto the trailer this morning, not to go to a horse show or rodeo, but to go to the vet. Her final trip took her to that kindness that our animals deserve in the end.
Even though there are those that will say, "She was just a horse," she touched many lives. Contrary to popular belief, cowgirls do cry. As we've done before, and will do again, we will cry for a horse.
Don't Cry for the Horses
Brenda Riley Seymore
Don't cry for the horses that life has
A million white horses, forever to
Don't cry for the horses now in
As they dance and prance to
a heavenly band.
They were ours as a gift, but never
As they close their eyes, forever to
Their spirits unbound, forever to fly.
A million white horses, against the
Look up into Heaven. You will see
The horse that we lost, the horse we
Manes and tails flying, they gallop
They were never yours, they were
Don't cry for the horses, they will be
When our time has come, they will
show us the way.
Do you hear that soft nicker close to
Don't cry for the horses, love the
ones that are here.
#horses #sorrel #mare #riding #rodeo #euthanasia
Wow, Jennie....your book came out a year ago. Why are you just now getting around to creating an author's page? That is certainly a valid question. Actually, I have had a page for quite some time. However, the title and web link both say, Army Laundress. Unfortunately, people didn't always make that connection, especially when I write about other topics. I decided it was time to use my name as a connection to an author's web page.
As I sit here on the eve of Independence Day, I think of the freedoms we have. I have the freedom to start a new web page. I have the freedom to write what I want, you have the freedom to read what you want. We have the freedom to walk into a grocery store, and find what would be to some, an unimaginable choice of foods and other necessary supplies. We can buy fuel for our vehicles, our children are afforded a free education, we choose what we wish to become in life. Sometimes, we choose more than once.
Tomorrow we will celebrate those freedoms and many more. Many of us will go to local celebrations. I know I will. Laramie's big celebration is in a city park. As I drove home this evening, I saw the funnel cake trailer preparing for the event. The snow cone trailer was parked on another street. There will be food vendors. Civic groups and churches will be handing out slices of watermelon, cookies, hand-scooped ice-cream cones and more. There will be music, and games for the kids. The fire department will have their trucks on display. Red, white and blue bunting and American flags will be in abundance. It will be a busy place, with people nodding hello or stopping to talk. The big talk will be the forest fire burning west of town. Hopefully, by this time tomorrow it will be out.
The day will wrap up with a fireworks show. People will choose the best vantage points, and sit in their cars or on blankets as they watch the sky light up.
I don't know what I will do with my Army Laundress page. I may completely merge it with this page. I may keep it going as more of an historical information page. There is time to figure it out. Thankfully, I live in a country where I have that freedom.
Jennie Lawrence is the author of Soap Suds Row - The Bold Lives of Army Laundresses 1802 -1876. She also writes a regular column for African Violet Magazine, and has done freelance work. She has started to dabble in children's literature as well.