Monday, January 1, 2018

To Be Where You Are ~ by Jan Karon

To Be Where You Are: A Mitford Novel ~ by Jan Karon, 2017, fiction (North Carolina), 8/10
This is the 14th book in the Mitford series, set in the very small fictional town of Mitford and centered around Father Timothy Kavanagh, an Episcopal priest who has retired since I met him in the first Mitford novel, published in 1994.  I always use the endpaper maps to figure out where we are in the story, but I'm still not sure which way we go from town to get to Meadowgate, home of Dooley and Lace, Father Tim's adopted son and his new bride.

What can I say about this book?  I saved a few quotes that mean something to me, and I see they are about four different residents of the town.
Character #1:  Esther Cunningham, former mayor (p. 94).
'If you were still mayorin', we might get those people to clean up th' trash in their parkin' lot!'  Though the old mayor was beyond her prime, Lois liked flattering her just the same.  Esther gave her a look.  'Now that th' Muse has pronounced me dead, I don't have to think about such as that'.
Character #2:  Henry 'Pooh' Barlowe Leeper, who is considering a call to ministry (p. 231).
'What is your hope,' said Paul, 'for any ministry you may undertake?'
'To help people love God so they can learn to love themselves and each other.'
'Is that it?'
'Yessir.  Essentially.'
Father Brad looked pleased, even paternal.
Character #3:  Lace, married to Dooley, the vet (p. 288).
How could people let go of their old things, when each told a part of their story?  Old things were a literature, a narrative.
Character #4:  Lew Boyd, owner of Lew Boyd Exxon (p. 320).
Until he married Earlene, he had no idea where Missouri was.  And then he learned that even the people who live there couldn't pronounce it  some sayin' Missourah an' some sayin' Missouree.
Why did these quotes stand out for me?  I thought the first was funny.  The second says a lot about my idea of ministry being compassion and caring.  The third reflects the thorn in my side:  the clutter I need to get rid of now, this year, this month, this week, this day.  (Yes, I plan to declutter more often, starting today.)

The fourth relates to my move to Missouri in 2014; since then, I've learned the difference between those who say Missourah and those who say Missouree.  I live in St. Louis, where the natives say Missouree.  Those who are originally from Kansas City and the western side of the statesay Missourah.  In case you wonder, I'm from Tennessee and have always called the state Missouree.  I guess that means I settled in the right part of Missouri.

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