My love and I like to pop into small bookstores when we travel. Last spring, on our trip to Ashland, we swore we would forgo such tomfoolery as we had amassed quite the collection (yet to be read) on our honeymoon.
Alas, we simply cannot help ourselves.
Mrs. Sherlock Holmes by Brad Ricca was my book of choice.
It’s the story of Mary Grace Quackenbos Humiston. Admitted to the bar in the state of New York in 1904, well before women even had the right to vote, she founded the People’s Law Firm to provide fair representation to immigrants.
In the course of investigating a missing persons case, she discovered a labor camp that basically enslaved immigrants. She went on to expose peonage at great risk to herself; because of that work, she was appointed the first female Special Assistant United States Attorney.
As for the title, it comes from one of her more celebrated cases: the disappearance of 18-year-old Ruth Cruger, who went missing in broad daylight. The police basically waved the disappearance off as a young flirtatious girl, running away with a lover. But Mrs. Humiston’s dogged quest to solve the mystery led her to be dubbed Mrs. Sherlock Holmes (though she, herself, was not a fan of the moniker, admitting she did not rely on deduction alone to solve her cases).
As you might imagine, she made many a powerful enemy.
So, what did I think of the book? Well . . . it’s a bit of a mixed bag.
Unfortunately, I found it something of a slog to read. Ricca jumps back and forth between decades and cases in a writing style that is, at times, more akin to a report than a story of intrigue.
On the flip side, it’s evident he’s done his research. The facts introduce us to the amazing character that was Mrs. Humiston. They also shed light on a history of political corruption, law enforcement incompetency, slavery (of people of all colors), and human trafficking.
If we pay attention, the facts also shed light on how much work we have yet to do. And how desperately we need men and women to stand up for what’s right, to pursue truth, to help those who cannot help themselves, and give voice to those who have none.
For that, I say this book is worthy of a read.
A few weeks ago we hopped a plane to San Diego for a long weekend.
My honey attended a quick business trip Friday morning; I read. Then we proceeded to folic. We made memories with a few of our favorites; enjoyed dinner at a most delightful Italian restaurant; meandered The Midway; perused the San Diego Zoo; looked for the Top Gun house (recently torn down); made an In-N-Out pilgrimage; and buried our toes in the sand.
We also visited the La Jolla Cove to take in a few sea lions.
You know, it would behoove us to take a page from their playbook every now and again. Be you large or small, simply find a good spot and soak it all in. All those to-dos? They can wait.
Chances are good it will be worth it. I mean really, just look at those faces! Pure bliss . . .
On Instagram, I waxed poetic on how, the older I get, Valentine’s Day tends to look a lot more like Thanksgiving. As a matter of fact, it seems so much so, that when I dropped my mom’s Valentines off at her work, I exclaimed, “Happy Thanksgiving!”
Let’s be honest, if you’re going to get muddled, that’s a mighty fine way to go about it.
Love just makes life better. It doesn’t matter the type; as C.S. Lewis once penned, “the highest does not stand without the lowest.” It may be romance one day, the kindness of a stranger the next, still it lightens our load.
Seems an awful lot for which to be thankful.
Needless to say, in the days ahead I hope your heart overflows with love (for family, friends, pets, and strangers); may it overflow with gratitude, too.
P.S. I stumbled upon this illustration awhile back. It makes smile, for it reminds me of my own knight in shining armor (only 10,000 times cuter and not at all surprised his lady is using his chest plate as a mirror). God gave me a true help mate in that man. It’s one of the things for which I am so very thankful.
P.P.S. And here are the details of the image (if you’re curious): La Belle Dame sans Merci – Punch cartoon – Project Gutenberg eText 19105; From The Project Gutenberg EBook of Punch, or the London Charivari, Volume 159, December 1, 1920, by Various.
The week held a plethora of diversions, and yet there’s nothing much to report . . .
I was randomly selected for drug testing. In the words of my honey, they are barking up the wrong tree. All the same, I nearly blew my eyeballs out trying to get the breathalyzer to beep; and it was somewhat appalling to know a stranger stood guard right outside the restroom, and I couldn’t flush the toilet or wash my hands immediately following. Eew.
On a brighter note, I was able to “collect a sample” on demand (something of a miracle, that); and the elevator didn’t fail me on the way down to the basement (equally impressive).
Of course, to recover, I had to make tacos for dinner–Double Decker tacos, no less, with all the fixings . . . including green onions.
I’ve not had a raw green onion for quite some time. It took me right back to my childhood.
You see, my dad had two great aunts: spinster sisters, they had carved out a comfortable life for themselves–laughing, reading, doing as they pleased. Every so often we’d go over for dinner. Mom and dad would sit with them around the table and talk for hours; I’d lounge about on the sofa, playing with my dolls, perusing books and magazines, watching television.
And the food! If food truly is the way to a man’s heart, I’m amazed there wasn’t a line a hundred miles long. No matter the menu, it was always delectable; and there was always enough to feed an army. Platters and bowls covered every inch of the table. And without fail, there were green onions.
Those ladies loved their onions. And it tickled them pink that a little girl with strawberry blond hair loved them too. Here’s our onions, Amy, they’d cheerfully announce. They’d hand me the bowl and I’d dutifully place them on the table. Then they’d chortle with glee as I spooned a helping onto my plate. You like onions; that’s a good sign, they’d say. You’re obviously destined for greatness. Then they’d throw their heads back in a fit of hilarity.
Funny how a taste (or scent or sound) can take you right back . . .
With that, I wish you a happy weekend. May your days be full of small blessings and the simplest of pleasures . . . plenty to make you smile.