By Judge Jim Redwine
Last week I was chastened by a copperhead snake with a disdainful attitude. He acted as if he were the poster boy for the famous Gadsden Flag of colonial times. But the over reaction by female book clubbers to my whimsical article about their “book/wine clubs” made my reproach by the copperhead seem an almost welcome respite.
In order to ensure at least one person reads these articles, I bribe Peg with promises of work around JPeg Ranch if she’ll peruse them. Usually this just humors me and does no harm. However, since my article about book clubs gently gibed at Peg’s and our daughter, Heather’s, book club along with our neighbor, Bonnie’s, and, worst of all, my sister, Jane’s, book clubs, Peg saw fit to snitch to all of them. No one was amused.
Probably none of them would have read the article in the paper. So, if Peg had not taken umbrage and aroused what might be likened to a gaggle of heckling harpies, that article would have shared the anonymity of all the others. But, with a few computer keystrokes the fangs of the internet were bared: email and Facebook lie there just waiting ‘til stepped on. I ask you, Gentle Reader, whatever happened to literature? Have all these book clubbers forsaken books? I saw my description of female book clubs as falling squarely within the bounds of acceptable satire, you know, “True wit is nature to advantage dressed, what ‘oft was thought but ne’er so well expressed” as Alexander Pope might say. Well, he might if he had not died in 1744 before even the ladies of New Harmony’s Minerva Society formed one of the first book clubs.
But, let’s you and I address the real problem here, my sister. When Peg tattled to Janie, Janie attacked much as she did when she would tattle to our parents if I or our two brothers ever did anything she considered untoward. Jane sent to me, by email, of course, an epistle meant to show the intrinsic value of her book club. She mentioned each member by name: Carol, Dot, Mary Lou, Nikki, Cindy, Margaret, Donna, Joanne, Barb and Jane. They call their group INSPIRITICE; although I noted when they visited Posey County recently they each pronounced it differently. Janie included the following litany of their activities:
“You have too narrowly defined our ‘book club’.
We have invited illustrious authors to share with us pearls of wisdom; we have made face masks which now adorn the walls of our homes; we have learned the myriad languages of flowers and created messages with lovely posies. We have designed jewelry which we wear, and we have played innumerable games that have brought us to laughter through our tears. We have eaten well on many occasions, in our homes and elsewhere.
We have traveled to cultural events such as the Monet Exhibit at the Nelson and the Princess Diana Exhibit at Union Station; we have read original plays that tugged at our heart strings and have done oral readings of Shakespeare that caused volcanic laughter. We have created and shared poetry (even a few raps).
Even more stimulating, we have observed our own and our families’ growth and development and come to a greater understanding of joy and blessings, of life and of death in our shared experiences—children’s graduations and weddings, 50th anniversary celebrations, retirement celebrations and farewell parties. Together we have shared life threatening illnesses, accomplishments and disappointments, sorrows and grief among the 10 of us who have covenanted to accept one another as each is, warts and all, while giving one another not only the room to grow but some of the tools and talents to do so as we celebrate one another in our coming together.
And, dear brother, that only scratches the surface of Inspiritice, but I am glad to see that you recognize that women who come together in book groups, however they are defined, are far more sensitive to life than those who chose not to do so, female or male.”
Okay, okay, okay. Mea culpa, big sister, maybe you don’t just drink wine and eat salads. However, isn’t that a little heavy on the estrogen? I’d say mix in at least an occasional boxing match or, perhaps, snake taming with a crutch.