I love libraries!

Capture            By Janice McCaffrey

What is the #1 support writers need?  Readers…critique groups, beta readers and book buyers. What came first a desire to write or the love of reading?

Silly questions? Maybe. But lately I’ve been thinking how important reading is to us writers. I bet reading has taken each of us to magical places we’d never imagine for ourselves. We’ve gotten to know characters we won’t meet in our daily lives. Heroes and villains, historic figures and fictional characteristics blended in a way we hadn’t thought of before.

Reading we learn about our planet and our place in it. Where would we be without books in our lives?

I’m afraid we take our reading skills and availability to meaningful books for granted. It’s difficult to imagine kids in this great country who don’t have an adult to support their education or read to them. Kids who don’t have books in their lives.

Without thinking much about it we buy books, use our Kindles, and borrow from public libraries and our friends. What if we didn’t have those resources at our finger tips? We’d suffer. I know I would. Our children and community would suffer. Take a minute and put yourself in that situation. Imagine yourself and your family without books.

Andrew Carnegie knew how important reading is for everyone. He funded grants to 3,000 communities around the world (including 17 in Montana). The Hockaday Museum, Kalispell, is housed in an original Carnegie Library.




Then to honor his mother Todd Bol put up a little free library. Soon Rice Brooks joined him and in 2009 they formed a non-profit organization.

And Little Free Libraries are popping up around the world.

2014 enters Kim Kozlowski, a reporter for the Detroit News. Working with Detroit non-profit organizations, city parks and public schools her goal is to have 313 Little Free Libraries in Detroit (313 is their area code). Her latest project is to erect and maintain Little Free Libraries in front of each of Detroit’s 97 public schools.

Detroit’s main library is a product of Carnegie’s grants. There are ten branch libraries throughout the city. None of the branches are opened weekends and most have only one or two weekdays that remain open until 8p. When can hard working families take their kids to the library?

I was born in Detroit and raised just north of its city limit. I spent fun teen years during the birth of Motown and the era of the original muscle cars. I’m very proud and happy to report that the book club I belong to has sponsored a  Little Free Library at a Detroit school. I think all book clubs and writers’ organizations should join the cause of the Little Free Libraries—a fun way to encourage reading while building community interaction.

We don’t have to be as wealthy as Carnegie to help . . . any contribution adds to the movement. Check out these websites and facebook pages.

Website:                                                                     Facebook:

Littlefreelibraries.org                                                 little free libraries

Detroitlittlefreelibraries.org                                    Detroit: the little library capitol



Played Forward with Memories

gunnar fish (2)A tale of fishermen. On my refrigerator hangs a picture of my great grandson holding up his first fish caught all by himself. The proud happiness gleams from the pinch of his fingers. This is a pay it forward version of family fun. The stories range from whoppers to minnows, but the love of fishing is paramount and passes from generation to generation. The peace and blessing I receive at looking at this fish picture is payback for the many fishing lines I have untangled, the many disputes over who gets what rod or who stands on what rock that I have settled. And for the skinny, white, hidden bones I have picked from fried trout. Not to mention the hours spent boning and canning smoked sockeye salmon. This picture brings me joy.  So do the others. Hope you have time to go fishing.  Marie

my son's biggest fish

my son’s biggest fish

He is still fishing

He is still fishing

Montana Rainbow

Montana Rainbow


Forever Mom

As I reflect back on Mother’s Day, it occurs to me that I’ve been in the mothering business for thirty-four years. My daughter was born in 1979, and my son turns twenty-five this month. For thirty-four years, I’ve been working this gig, singing this tune, fighting the good fight, and loving it. Challenging? Yep. Frustrating? Sometimes. Overwhelming? More often than I’d care to admit. Best job in the world? You bet!

Before the kids got grown and gone, I’d wake up on Mother’s Day to the sounds of pans banging in the kitchen as my kids prepared breakfast. After breakfast came the hugs, the candy, the gifts, and the proclamation that I was to put my feet up and take it easy for the entire day. Of course, the day never turned out that way.

Just as I’d get comfy in the recliner, I’d hear, “I can’t find the cinnamon, Mom.”

“Middle shelf, left side, cabinet by the stove,” I’d say.

“Don’t see it. Are you sure?”

I get out of the chair, go to the middle shelf, left-hand cabinet by the stove, push the jar of bay leaves to the side, grab the illusive jar of cinnamon and hand it to my child.

“Thanks, Mom” is followed by a kiss on the cheek and a hug. “Now go sit down, Mom. This is your day to relax.”

With a cup of coffee in one hand and the Sunday paper in the other, I sink back into the recliner.

“Mom, can I wash my new red pullover with my basketball jersey?” my son asks.

“Only if you want your white jersey to turn pink,” I explain.

“If I wash them on cold, it’ll be okay. Right?”

“Wrong.” I’m out of the chair again. I put down the paper that will never be read and set down the coffee, which will be reheated in the microwave at least twice before I finally give up and pour it down the sink. I grab the pullover and head downstairs to the laundry room. After I get the wash going, I get another kiss on the cheek, another hug, and another reassurance that it’s my special day. They mean well. They really do want me to “take it easy” and enjoy my Mother’s Day.

The truth is that after all of these years, the mothering instinct is too ingrained in my DNA to allow myself to enjoy lounging around while my family works. Whether the “kids” are four or eighty-four, it doesn’t matter. Once you are implanted with that mothering instinct gene, you’ve got it for life. But that’s not so bad because every now and then, they will admit (grudgingly) that Momma really does know best ……at least some of the time.

Thanks for stopping by.

Deborah Epperson

Deborah Epperson

Breaking TWIG

Breaking TWIG