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Five Things About Me


A couple of weeks ago, my publisher, Ambassador International of Tales of a Cosmic Possum, asked me to write about five things that most people don’t know about me. It was fun, so I thought I would share it with you.

I love movies! Whether it is Disney, James Bond, a romance, a musical, a mystery, or a history, movies entertain me. Going to a theater or watching on TV, I become mesmerized into the story. There have been times that I have wanted to become part of the fantasy, because it deeply touched my emotions. My preference is for happy endings, but the reality check of those with unresolved conflicts or some form of estrangement is also thought-provoking. Though identifying with the characters is fun, movies also stretch my mind/world view to see life through someone else’s lens.

When I was around four, I met President Dwight D. Eisenhower. In a long line of people, my parents and I were outside a church in Augusta, Georgia. (Since then, I have found out that it was the Reid Memorial Presbyterian Church, where the President attended in that city.) I can still remember that it was Daddy, then Mother, then me. As the President walked by, he shook Daddy’s hand and then smiled and patted me on the head. It makes no sense that I can still visualize this occasion, but I do. I guess I am supposed to have this one in my memory bank.

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Pulitzer prize-winning photo of Presidents Kennedy and Eisenhower.

My grandmother Lulu used to regale my brother and me with stories of our relatives, both the unknown and the infamous. Over and over, we would ask for her version of our cousin, Jesse James. He was the son of a Baptist minister, but he robbed banks and trains. Supposedly, his crimes were payback for the way he and his family were treated during the Civil War. (Perhaps this scenario was similar to the legends of Robin Hood.) Jesse James had staunch friends and family that protected him during his life of crime. So interesting now as an adult that I was enamored with the romanticized thoughts of a cousin that chose to be a thief, so he could provide for his impoverished family.

Jesse and Frank James, c. 1872Jesse and Frank James, c. 1872

Robert Ford (Credit: The Print Collector/Getty Images)

Both my grandmothers and mother made jelly and preserves every year. They started the spring season with strawberry preserves, following that with peach and blackberry preserves, and ending with apple jelly in the fall. It saw that it was hot work, as they all dealt with the steam from the jars boiling and the fruit being brought to a boil. But it wasn’t long after I married that I chose to follow in their footsteps. There really isn’t much enjoyment from the process, but there certainly is in eating the finished product. I, also, enjoy sharing them with friends and watching their eyes light up with anticipated pleasure. If I could only bake biscuits, like those three ladies, to go with those preserves, I would be truly be a happy camper.

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Crime or mystery novels have always been a favorite of mine. Patricia Cornwell, Louise Penny, Ken Follett, Robert Ludlum, John Grisham, John Hart, and Tom Clancy are some of my favored authors through the years. To go along with this choice of reading, one of my uncles worked for the CIA. Somewhere it became part of my outlook that I would make a worthy agent. In my imaginings, I would capture Russian spies, save America, and never be taken prisoner. Traveling from one exotic place to another, I would make friends on every continent, but remain savvy as I found traitors and enemies. No, this never happened. In real life, I research to find truth about my characters and and use my creativity to construct and shape the worlds they live in, that I will never see.

Louise Penny has one of her characters say,

“The four sayings that lead to wisdom:
I was wrong
I’m sorry
I don’t know
I need help”

Sounds like wise statements to me. Do you agree?



Happy April!

Happy April!


Playing an acoustic guitar, Warren Zevon sang these simple lyrics,

Don’t let us get sick.
Don’t let us get old
Don’t let us get stupid, all right?
Just make us be brave.
Make us play nice
And let us be together tonight.

My friend Clare has memorized these words and shared them with me before. Today I finally got around to listening to their author sing them, and, of course, they took on another dimension.

Music can stop us in our tracks with its bravado and power. Lullabies soothe hurts of the body and spirit. Refrains pull us from our seats to stand at attention. Hearing certain songs can bring back memories of particular places and people. Recognizing certain musical scores catch our attention in a movie, and we know that an explosion of some kind is about to occur.

With the door open now on the sun porch in the mornings, the various birds break the silence. I don’t recognize their warbles, but their cheerful greetings start my new day with carefree welcome.

This is my quiet time of the day; sipping on my first cup of coffee adds to the mix of calm. My prayers of petition are similar to the refrain above, and my thanksgivings are all about being with the ones I love

In The Fellowship of the Ring, J.R. R. Tolkein says, “All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”

Until seven years ago, the first week of April was all about The Masters. Grandaddy bought his first patron ticket in 1959; then Daddy a few years later. Three generations, four adults and two children, huddled in a blue Dodge for the road trip to Augusta, Georgia. Taking turns with spending time on the lush green course, the grown-ups spent the day. My brother and I weren’t included in those early years, but it was a fun trip. We usually would “play nice” by entertaining ourselves in the parking lot.

For fifty years, four Collins generations enjoyed days following our favorite golfers. Whether hot as blue blazes or under cloudy and windy skies, we savored pimento cheese sandwiches wrapped in green plastic. Then we would watch the rest of the tournament on television.
I have a couple of plastic glasses from our last visit in 2009. Believe that all this week, I will use this glass to saluting fun, family memories at The Masters. I might even have to mimic Daddy with a “Good night nurse!” if there is a poor shot made.

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