KINDNESS

A simple act of kindness can go a long way to soothe frayed nerves and weary spirits in this negative hate-filled world .

This week is designated as the Jan Hawke Random Acts of Kindness Week at the RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB.

It simply feels good to do something for someone solely because you want to!

Today is also RRBC and RWISA Author, Peggy Hattendorf‘s birthday! So in honor of her birthday, the first person who responds in the comments below, who has not yet read her book, will receive an eBook of “Son of My Father – A Family Dynasty!”

Here is my review of this book. I read it in July of last year.

This was an enjoyable read for me. The best part of the book, in my opinion, was the climactic ending. It was totally unexpected. Early on in the story, I figured out who the arrogant young man, Christian, was and his relationship to the powerful and rich tycoon, Jonathan Barrington. With only one daughter, Christiana, to carry on the family legacy and fortune, the intrusion of the young man irked her to no end. I won’t give away any spoilers, but I could easily see this book made into a Lifetime or Hallmark movie. Lots of drama unfolds throughout the story. At times, it seemed redundant and moved a little slow, but the ending made up for it. If you like plot twists, family drama, high stakes business gambling, you will enjoy this story. Don’t spoil it and read the ending first. 🙂

Here is the Book Trailer:

Do something kind for someone today! It doesn’t have to cost money, only your effort! Let’s make the world brighter through random acts of kindness!

I Got Caught!

The month of May is designated as National Get Caught Reading month!!

What a fantastic holiday month for readers and writers! I’ve been an avid reader since I could first make out words in the Dick and Jane primary readers. The image below is me when a story captivates me!

Image courtesy of Pexels

So, in honor of this fabulous month, I’m going to list some great books I’ve read recently!

Noemie’s Journey by Victoria Saccenti

Here is my review:

What I liked most about this book was the honest way the author portrayed the racial prejudice in the southern part of the United States in the 60s. Noemie Bellerose is a girl of mixed race and until her family moves to North Carolina, she has no idea that she is considered an outcast because of her race. With a mother of color and white father, she finds that she is not accepted in either community. But, the torture doesn’t end there. With the death of her mother, her father becomes an abusive alcoholic and does not hold back on the punches in his rages. He blames Noemie’s little brother, Gerry, for their mother’s death and often takes his rage out on the young boy. Noemie is a girl-driven. Driven to make a better life for her and her little brother, driven to get an education, and driven to look out for her father, even despite his abuse. But, when Richard Winters rides his Harley Davidson Chopper into the small North Carolina town, looking for refuge and escape from a heartache so big it forced him to run, things begin to change for Noemie. But, not just for Noemie, for Richard too. With a steel lock around his heart, he is sure nothing can get through, but Noemie does. The racial prejudice is horrific. The abuse Noemie suffers at the hands of her father and others in the small-town is horrific, but the love she finds with Richard is redeeming. I loved this story. I have to admit that I was almost ready to put the book down by the third chapter, as it got off to a slow start. But into the fourth chapter, I was hooked and couldn’t stop until I reached a satisfying conclusion. Steamy romance, racial prejudice, everlasting friendships, and steely determination drive this story.

If this sounds like your cup-of-tea, you won’t be disappointed!

End of Day (A Hode’s Hill Novel Book 2) by Mae Clair

My Review:

I have loved every Mae Clair book that I’ve read and this one is no exception! The way she intertwines the past and present to build the entire story is fantastic! When the empathic Jillian Cley crosses paths with Dante DeLuca who communicates with spirits in the other world, things are bound to get interesting. And they do. Jillian struggles to control her sensitivities and has a service dog, a Husky, who helps to ground her. There are a lot of characters in this story. But, I never had trouble keeping up with who was who and the role each played, even as the author switched back and forth between present day and the late seventeen-hundreds. As the reason for the curse is revealed, the plot gets thickened with a grave-robber and the release of monsters who had been held in the infamous Hode’s Hill cemetery. There are nail-biting scenes and I couldn’t put the book down. I had many late nights until I finished it. Suspenseful, engaging, compelling, other-worldly, and gripping are words I’d use to describe this story. My hat is off to this author for successfully writing in two different time periods effectively! This is a GREAT read if you love suspense, paranormal happenings, and relatable characters! I highly recommend it!

The Outlaw’s Mail Order Bride by Linda Broday

My review:

I fell in love with Clay Colby’s character in Broday’s Men of Legend Series when he was introduced in book two as a ranch hand. Even then, I wanted him to have a happy ending and to know more of his story. In this book, Linda Broday did more than give Clay a happy ending. She gave him an unforgettable story! A character also introduced in the Men of Legend Series, Talley Shannon was a fugitive. Along with several other women, they hid in a canyon and existed with the help of Luke Legend. They had escaped from a torturous insane asylum. Both Clay and Tally have deep wounds and scars and their journey to redemption is not an easy one. Broday keeps the reader on the edge of their seats as they follow along with bated breath, hoping and praying that the two will finally break through the walls of their hearts to be united as one. If you love the 1800s time period, plenty of action, tension, conflict and steamy romance, you will love this first book of the Mail Order Bride series!

I read two poetry books in April and loved them both! You don’t have to be a lover of poetry to enjoy these two intimate compilations.

Just her Poetry Seasons of a Soul by D.L. Finn

My Review:

I thoroughly enjoyed this collection of poetry. The author covers every subject from nature to the deepest part of the human psyche and soul. While I loved all of the poems, a few stood out to me personally like, “Splendor” where the beauty and aliveness of a spring day are expressed in flowing descriptive phrases. “The Journey” is deeply profound portraying the metaphor of life to that of a tiny bird struggling to ride out a storm. This author’s musings from the back of a Harley particularly captivated me. I went along for the ride! But, the section of the book, “The Emotions – Darkness and Light,” is hands-down my favorite section of the book. Each poem expresses life’s journey and the varying aspects of the dance. If you love well-written poetry that touches on every aspect of life and living, you will enjoy this book of poetry from D.L. Finn!

Songs of Heartstrings: Poems of Gratitude and Beatitude by Miriam Hurdle

My Review:

A fantastic collection of honest, heartfelt poetry that takes the readers on a journey through good times and bad. She writes about a health scare that could have easily ended her life. She weaves nature, family, love and faith through her writing. If you love REAL poetry – poetry that moves you, you will enjoy Miriam’s book!

And finally, a book that really opened my eyes to some of the unforgiving views about sexuality in the middle east.

The Love that Dare Not Speak Its Name by Fiza Pathan

My Review:

The collection of short stories in this book from India-born author Fiza Pithan deals with a most delicate subject matter. Not only does it encompass stories of transgender people, but lesbian, homosexual, bisexual and asexual people. Two things about these stories struck me. #1 is that this author writes so well in a language that is not her native tongue. I commend her for the well-written stories. I did not spot even one typo throughout the book. The second thing I want to commend her for is the honesty and eye-opening reality of how people are tormented, tortured, ostracized and even killed in Mid-Eastern countries for their sexual preferences and/or differences. Reading these stories makes me truly glad I live in America. If you are looking for stories that, although are fiction, shed a light of truth on these issues, you will enjoy each of these!

Hopefully, you saw something here that caught your eye! It is quite a variety of genres, but I love reading all types of books.

So, grab one and let’s make May a month for memorable stories!

I’d love to know what I caught you reading! I just started on the first book of the Billy Battles trilogy by Ron Yates (Finding Billy Battles.)

Image courtesy of Pixabay

Research – Where do you go?

Authors, when you are writing about a subject that you aren’t familiar with, where do you go for reliable research?

I am writing a short story that includes a Voodoo Doll and magic spell. I find lots of what I think is hooey, in my searches, and want to make sure my facts are accurate, down to the words said when casting a spell.

So, I’m curious as to whether you have any tried and true sources you trust.

I found a good deal of information on Pinterest and a little on WikiHow about ways to construct your Voodoo doll. As far as the origin of the practice of Voodoo, I went to the Wikipedia and found some fascinating history including what it morphed into in New Orleans. Then I started searching for incantations that could be used for specific situations.

When they say you can find everything on the internet, they aren’t wrong, including bogus information. There is a lot of history, and folk tales surrounding Marie Laveau, and it’s hard to tell what’s true and what isn’t. Here a couple of examples.

So, back to my original question. Do you have tried and true resources for research. And do you get good information that you feel comfortable including in your stories?

I’m also having a hard time finding just the right free image to create a book cover for this story. But, that is just a time-consuming search. I went first to Pixabay. I find that the key to a successful search is all in what words you enter. I gave up on Voodoo and entered “Fantasy” in the search box and found some intriguing images.

Let me say that this subject and practice is way out of my wheelhouse, so I am going strictly on information I can find. I’d appreciate any tips!

Thanks in advance!!

FREE TRIAL MEMBERSHIP! #RRBC

You hear me talk a lot about the RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB, and I also feature lots of authors who are members of the club.

Maybe you’ve been a bit curious about RRBC or maybe you’ve even taken a look at the website.

Well, now you have a chance to take advantage of a FREE 30 day trial membership. You can try it out for yourself and see if it is a good fit for you, and it costs you nothing!

This is not just a book club. It is a community of authors and readers who promote and support each other.

The RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB is A UNIQUE  place to be if you are seeking amazing author support for your writing. Not only are our books being purchased, but read and reviewed on a regular basis. No other international organization offers so much incredible uplifting support!

But, you need to know up front that this is not a place to list your books in the catalog, sit back and wait for the reviews to start rolling in. It is a place where you get as much as you give. Begin by purchasing, reading and reviewing other’s books, then share it all over social media and watch what happens. Every author needs more reviews. I’m offering you the solution! For the answers to all of your questions, click HERE


Interested? JOIN US!


I am an RRBC Recruitment Affiliate so please be sure to list my name (JAN SIKES) on your application.
Please invite all your friends to join, as well, and ask that they also list my name as their referring source!   ~  Thanks in advance!

10 Years – How is that possible?

Today marks the tenth anniversary of Rick Sikes’ passing. It doesn’t seem possible that I’ve already lived ten years without him.

I don’t want to make this a sad post. I do want to remember, to honor a life well-lived, and found some pictures that I don’t think anyone has ever seen before.

We did lots of living and loving in the twenty-five years we got to be physically together! We built a home, raised a family, started businesses and made music. Isn’t it pretty incredible when you can cover a twenty-five year time-span with one sentence?

The first pictures I want to share were taken at Rick’s wake on May 3, 2009. The outpouring of love was overwhelming. I’m not going to put a lot of words and let the photos speak for themselves.

And now a few photos looking backward.

And that’s about it. I just wanted to share a few memories and celebrate A STORY TOLD – A LIFE LIVED…

Thank you for stopping by. I’ll leave you with this tune from Rick.

Failure?

I think it’s safe to say that we’ve all felt like we have failed at something or another during our lifetime. Yesterday, for me, could easily be one of those times. So, I thought about it and decided that “failure” is simply a matter of perspective.

I have a 1958 version of the Thorndike Barnhart Dictionary on my desk and consulted it for the true definition of the word. Here’s what it had to say:

Failure: 1. a being unable to do or become; 2. a not doing, neglecting; 3. a being lacking or absent being not enough, 4. losing strength; becoming weak…

So, let me start at the beginning. As most of you know, I write for Buddy Magazine. Yesterday, we had the opportunity to have a presence at a Dallas event, Lake-A-Palooza. As part of the exchange for me working a booth, I got to bring my books.

I have everything needed for an outdoor event. I have a pop-up canopy, an 8′ table, a 6′ table, card table and chairs. So, of course, I offered my setup.

Unloading was easy as I could drive my car in, unload, than go park. Setting up the canopy required help. Thankfully, the nice folks setting up next to me offered to help.

Take a look at the lake white capping in the background. The wind blew so hard that I had to put the easels away and lay my books down flat on the table.

Long story short, I was at this event for 12 hours and walked away with $76. Was it a failure? This is where my musings come in. Financially, yes it was a failure. That is not much money for the amount of hours invested.

Physically, it was a failure. I had to do the entire setup and tear down by myself (thank goodness for kind neighbors). Because the event was not over when I decided to leave, I couldn’t drive my car back in to load everything. I had to carry it all one piece at a time to the car. When I left around 8:30 last night, there was not one part of my body that didn’t ache.

BUT, in another way, it was a great success. I got to tell so many people about my stories and put my books in a few new hands.

So, how do you define failure? To me it’s all subjective.

Would I do it again? NO! Not by myself. That was the lesson I took away from it. At 67, I no longer can handle the big stuff alone. So, next time, I take someone with me or don’t go. 🙂

All-in-all, everything turned out okay. The wind finally laid and it turned into a beautiful day with lots of music and people.

The opposite of failure is success. And who knows – maybe next time I’ll sell out of books and go home with a pocketful of money!

At any rate, I LOVE this quote!

#RRBC 2018 WRITERS’ CONFERENCE & BOOK EXPO SPONSORS BLOG HOP – Nonnie Jules

Nonnie Jules is known for her head-on approach to life, to writing and to raising her children. Let me introduce you to her book, THE GOOD MOMMIES’ GUIDE TO RAISING (ALMOST) PERFECT DAUGHTERS!

BLURB:

If you’re reading this book then you’re probably a Mom, Mom-to-Be, Guardian (or maybe even a Dad) to daughters. And although I’ve found this to be the greatest job in the world, sometimes it might leave you thinking that boys might have been a little easier . And just for the record, I’ve never had that thought! Are your daughters getting off track and you’d like to know how to get them back on? Are you a new Mommy and you want to know how to raise your daughter (almost) perfectly starting from day one? Then “THE GOOD MOMMIES’ GUIDE…” is just for you!

This guide is filled with 100 tips on how you can raise girls “everyone can’t help but love!” In her very humorous manner, the author shares how she started teaching her daughters from the very beginning, when they were in her womb, and she still swears by this method!

“I didn’t have to do much research as I lived this, day in and day out. Throughout this guide you will find my TOP tips that I used in rearing my two (almost) perfect daughters, one now an Adult and the other in her teenage years. Real life situations along with methods on how to effectively deal with each and every one. A little humor thrown into the mix is also what you will find in THE GOOD MOMMIES’ GUIDE…”

With an astonishingly surprising twist, the Author includes a few Bible Scriptures here and there without it coming across as “preachy”. They were placed first and foremost because “my daughters were raised in a Christian home and THAT is the real basis of their foundation,” she says. 

The author pokes fun at herself throughout this guidebook which makes it all the more enjoyable to read. She shows us that we don’t have to be PERFECT Mommies to raise (almost) perfect daughters, we just need to be GOOD Mommies with consistent teachings, and with that, our daughters will turn out just fine. 

This guide is great for rearing toddlers, on up to young adult daughters. It will become your personal PARENTING BIBLE.

I am sure that most of you know that Nonnie Jules is the founder and creator of the RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB, an international community of readers and writers. There is no other community like it on the planet!

She also created the RAVE WRITERS INT’L SOCIETY OF AUTHORS, where you’ll find the cream of the crop of #RRBC authors!

I’d love it if you’d follow along with the rest of the amazing BLOG HOP!

#RRBC 2018 WRITERS’ CONFERENCE & BOOK EXPO SPONSORS BLOG HOP – Wendy Scott

Allow me to introduce you to this fabulous #RRBC and #RWISA author, Wendy Scott, who also writes under the pen names of W.J. Scott and Wendy Jayne.

She is an incredibly supportive member of the RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB and RAVE WRITER’S INT’L SOCIETY OF AUTHORS. She resides in New Zealand with her partner, her son and a menagerie of animals including a goat.

Lodestone – (Witch Hunt) was the first book I read by this author and I enjoyed it SO much that I became an instant fan.

So, let me tell you about Lodestone!

BOOK BLURB:

There’s a cauldron of trouble brewing in Valloaria…

Two tales entwine:
Sabrina and Lauren’s tales entwine – linked by blood and magic. Sabrina, a newly fledged healer, is thrust out of her sheltered life at Mistress Florisah’s healing school after the destruction of the witch-ancestor portraits. An anti-witchcraft militia is poised on Karthalon’s borders threatening full scale genocide, unless Sabrina, the last of Lauren’s bloodline, can destroy the Lodestone, and restore magic to Valloaria, but the Lodestone is buried deep within the heart of the Order’s headquarters. Sabrina struggles to accept this suicide mission, and is distracted by her inappropriate affection for Micah, a prospect monk. Lauren’s ghost haunts Sabrina’s dreams as her diary reveals the tragic events behind Lauren’s actions. With invasion imminent, Sabrina embarks on her quest armed only with a sliver of the Lodestone, and Lauren’s diary but how can a lone girl prevail against an army?

Download Lodestone today and strap on your broomstick –you’re in for a hell of a ride:

And now you know that, here’s my 5 STAR review!

I won this book in a book trailer blog party through the Rave Reviews Book Club and although I love paranormal books, I didn’t know what to expect. However, by the third chapter, I was hooked and couldn’t put it down. What a story!!
Sabrina has been at the ‘Healing School’ since she was a very small child. Florsiah, the matron of the school, is the only mother figure she knows. Sabrina finds herself thrown into chaos at her graduation from the ‘Healing School’ when she learns she is the direct descendent of Lauren, a woman who is considered evil. Florsiah gives her a diary, written in Lauren’s own hand, and a sliver of stone, and is told she must leave the school.
Lauren’s Order has been established to stamp out any and all witchcraft. They are known as witch hunters and scour the countryside killing innocent people, destroying villages and taking slaves.
As the story unfolds, Sabrina travels in the company of a monk and three young monk apprentices to Sha’ La’ Shang, an idyllic city high in the mountains inhabited by monks. However, in the course of the journey, she falls in love with Micah, a young monk apprentice who has a unique talent of communicating with animals.
So much happens during the journey to Sha’ La’ Shang and I don’t want to give it all away, but there are grave troubles, fired up passions and danger lurking around every corner from the soldiers of Lauren’s Order to mythical birds who struggle to survive.
Once they reach Sha’ La’ Shang, she is given the task of finding and either destroying or changing the Lodestone to save Vallaoria. Being the direct descendant of Lauren, she is the only one who can undo the evil that has evoked terror across the land for many years. With the help of Lauren’s diary, the sliver of stone that burns brighter as she gets closer to the Lodestone, and many people from The Hidden, who strive to overthrow the evil that prevails, she takes on the task. At the cost of many lost lives, she finally makes it to her destination. What happens next is breathtaking and left me wanting to pick up the next book of this series to see!
If you like paranormal, fantasy and witchcraft, you’ll truly enjoy this book!

I hope you enjoyed this post about Wendy Scott and this fabulous book! If you’d like to join in on the rest of this Blog Hop, follow this link: #RRBC 2018 WRITERS’ CONFERENCE & BOOK EXPO SPONSOR BLOG HOP

Thank you!!

Etchings In Stone

I’ll never forget coming home from work one evening in 2002, to find Rick excited about a new song project.

We were in the planning stages for his new CD, “Etchings In Stone,” and he wanted someone to collaborate with him in writing the title track. He’d reached out to several of his songwriter friends, but so far no one had been inspired. That was until that day.

He told me to go to the phone in the bedroom and he placed a call, then yelled for me to pick up.

I did and found our good friend, John Beam, on the other end.

“John’s written the song I need to put on the album,” Rick said.

Then he proceeded to ask John to play and sing it. Tears ran down my cheeks while I listened and I had chill bumps all over. The song was the profound emotion-filled song that we’d been searching for.

So, with a little work and tweaking, we had the title track, “Etchings In Stone.”

I’d love it, if you’d listen! “There once lived a man, who did etchings in stone. He told others’ stories, but could not tell his own…”

It was with great sadness that I learned of John Beam’s passing three days ago. He was only 61 and his story intertwined with our lives from way back in the sixties.

Rick and his band, The Rhythm Rebels, played the historic London Dance Hall near Junction, Texas, on a regular basis throughout the fifties and sixties. John Beam was just a little boy, and his family came to every dance Rick played. Even at that young age, John had the passion and desire to play music. He would stand in front of the stage, play air guitar and mouth every word to the songs that Rick sang.

In my book, “Flowers and Stone,” I wrote a scene where Luke Stone (aka Rick) was playing at the London Dance hall one New Year’s Eve. During the course of the evening, he got the John up on stage, strapped his guitar around the boy’s neck and lowered the microphone. John sang and played for the first time in public.

After that, he never stopped. Once Rick returned home from prison, John quickly came back into our lives and never left. At Rick’s funeral, John sat with our family. Why? Because he was family.

He and his wife and children lived in Mason, Texas. He was the first to raise his hand whenever anyone needed help and the last to back down when someone needed defending. He had a passion for classic cars, Harleys and country music. He loved his family fiercely and was loyal to his friends. He will be missed.

So, this post is a tribute of sorts to John Beam, the man and the music. You can find several of John’s songs on Reverbnation. But I am sharing one of the most personal songs he ever wrote, “Three Old Cans of Beer,” about the Vietnam Wall. John was a veteran.

I don’t know how to properly say goodbye or to give this man the credit he deserves other than to write about it. I hope you’ve enjoyed meeting John Beam.

Life is short, folks. Friends are a precious gift. Don’t waste any of your gifts!

Rick Sikes and John Beam

A Story of Love and Time

It’s been a while since I’ve shared a Rick Sikes original story and this one always touched me. Of course he writes in parables, but I see the comparisons clearly. Enjoy!

A STORY OF LOVE AND TIME BY RICK SIKES

     I can’t tell you why men write and I have been thinking pretty hard on it these past few hours. It could be a man finds something inside of him so damn beautiful that he wants to get it down on paper before it slips away. I guess it could be that a man stumbles onto a thought so damned earth-shaking he figures just about everybody should get a chance to hear it. Who knows? Not me. I ain’t no writer. I’m a cowboy…

     But, here I am writing!

     It all started last night. You see, when the whistling West Texas wind drives chariots of tumbleweed across this God-forsaken plain, a man finds his body creeping closer to the fire as surely as he finds his mind seeking the warmer memories of his past… and last night was black ice, raw and bitter… and as surely as my fire drew me to its warmth, one of my memories drew my soul… until… like a Roman Candle exploding in huge darkness, I saw that memory in a new light… and I was wanting to write it down… so I could share it… earth-shaking or not…

     So, here I am, sitting on my saddle, with a pencil in my ol’ paw and an empty stomach, doing two things I ain’t never done before…

     Missing breakfast and writing a story!

     But, sometimes a thought can feed what a meal can’t. Depends on a man’s hunger I reckon.

     I know the thoughts in the Good Book used to feed my mama, and I can remember a teacher I had once, years ago. They fed me so much poetry that my heart was filled to bursting because I couldn’t let it out for fear that my pals would laugh me to shame.

     Funny, ain’t it… how one thought leads on to another? And that brings me to the memory I discovered last night.

     I grew into manhood on a rocky Texas ranch. Pa died early. Ma still lives on the place. The soil ain’t good for nothing but cactus and windstorms on that place and it weren’t no different when I was growing up. But, we had some times on the old place worth remembering, and I find it’s true the older I get, a few things happened there a boy had to grow into understanding. My story’s about one of those things.

     There was an old billy goat on our place. He was wild and wicked, crafty and cantankerous and smelly and scrawny. He was also lonely. His smell would gag a buzzard and he was so scraggly looking that the horned-toads paraded their ugliness past him like it was finery. Pa used to say, when we’d catch a glimpse of that ol’ goat, he was so poorly looking that he’d force a train to take a dirt road. I always smiled and nodded.

     Pa died in the winter of my fourteenth year. Later the same year, April I think it was, I came up on a sight which I didn’t give much thought to ‘til last night. I was with our hired hand and his boy, Junior Bascomb.

     Junior was my best and only friend growing up. He was two years older than me and I always thought of him as a kind of god. I guess he must’ve known the answer to every growing-up question I ever wanted to ask.

     Anyway, we rode up on one of the prettiest roses a man could ever want to see. Right next to that rose, laid out and dry, was the bones of that ol’ billy goat. I can remember Junior Bascomb saying, “Well, now, ain’t that the purdy’est rose you ever seen?” And his Pa answering, “It surely is.” I can remember how we all noticed the skeleton of that ol’ goat and sort of laughed when Junior’s Pa said the old billy would’ve eaten it sure.

     Junior wanted to pick the rose for a little gal he was seeing in town, but his Pa told him to leave it where it grew. When Junior asked why, his Pa said, “Well, son, I think it’s kinda nice for old Billy, onery cuss he was, to have such a purdy flower growing there by his grave…”

     And we rode on…

     And I’ve been riding on ever since.

      I’ll be fifty come June.

    But, somewhere between then and now, I’ve come to look on that long ago day with a different view… and I guess my story is a little more than the story of an old billy goat and his rose. Just as a man sees things a tad different than a boy… because in my man’s soul I can almost see that old, lonely billy goat wandering through his empty days. That lonely little rose was solitary but splendid; nourished by a tiny stream and hemmed in by a few weeds.

    I can see the old billy goat coming up to that little rose, and I can see him wanting to eat it, but he didn’t because he felt something just in looking at it that he hadn’t felt in years.

     He felt younger, richer and less lonely.

     So, he grazed all around the area and he fell in love with the awesome intensity only an old creature can feel. The sight of the rose made him spry and the scent of the rose put him in a romantic mood. One day, he became so jealous of the weeds growing around his rose that he tore them from the ground and gobbled them down in a frenzy that he hadn’t felt in years. They tasted terrible in his mouth, but seeing them gone made him feel pure in his soul. He had never been so happy. At night, the warm breeze blew the fragrance of his rose softly into his nostrils and he slept well.

     The summer passed well. Every day began with the sight of his lovely, dew-kissed rose, and every day ended with perfume and dreams.

     But as summer ended and the rose began to fade, the old goat began to eat less and less and worry more and more. When the frost came, chilling and killing his love, it killed something in the old goat too. One by one, the petals dropped from the rose into the dust and the old goat followed soon after.

    Every year, around spring the rose returned to bloom beautifully, beside the bleached bones of the old billy goat. Eventually, the sands shifted, covering both Billy and his rose…

     But what is covered is not always forgotten,

     And what truly matters finds a way to bloom again.

     Even in the heart of an old cowboy.

For more about the life, times and music of Rick Sikes:

http://www/ricksikes.com

http://www.jansikes.com