18
Apr

How Spirit Woman of Lockleer Mountain Evolved

I’ve published four cozy cat mysteries, starring Black Cat, who, with the aid of his ancestors’ memories, helps his ‘person’ solve mysteries and murder.

 

That was followed by three humorous historical fiction novels set during WWII. An elderly retired government undercover agent, Mrs. Odboddy, believes Nazi spies and conspiracies abound. She is determined to expose and bring the miscreants to justice.

 

Thinking it was time to move on to something new, I remembered a somewhat humorous short story I wrote several years ago about a sewer truck owner. While pumping out a septic tank in a rural community one day, he stumbles upon a drug lab, and uses his truck to facilitate his escape.

 

Sewer truck driver? Cozy mystery? Humor? Sounded like s story that begged to be done in a full length novel, something right up my alley.

 

The Spirit Woman of Lockleer Mountain takes place in the CA Sierra foothills where folks still have wells and septic tanks. Despite my intentions that the story follow a typical humorous cozy mystery concept, as so often in the past, when I started to write, the characters took over and sent me in a completely different direction. Where did a Native American legendary spirit come from?

 

So the story concept” Lou Shoemaker owns a sewer truck, the Pooper Scooper. Her business takes her into the mountainous region pumping out rural septic tanks. There ensues a budding romance with Lou and Deputy Sheriff, Nate Darling. Nate’s sister, Suzanna, has mysteriously disappeared three months previously following a minor motor vehicle accident and has not been seen since. The government is up to some shenanigans, pursuing plans to build a mysterious facility near the town without the knowledge of the city fathers, and the local businessmen aren’t happy. When a drug dealer starts selling drugs to the teens on the Native American reservation nearby, it seems their legendary Spirit Woman, said to protect the community, needs to take a hand. Sightings of a woman and her pet mountain lion are frequently seen at moments of crisis. Nate is even convinced that the elusive woman is his missing sister, suffering from amnesia.

 

It remains to be seen if the Spirit Woman, real or imagination, can bring about a resolution to the town’s troubles and help find Suzanna.

 

Check out the book on Amazon at http://tinyurl.com/y7rp7f3x  (ebook $3.99) or contact me directly at Elaine.Faber@mindcandymysteries.com  for an autographed paperback. $14.00 and free shipping.

 

 

 

4
Apr

Washington D.C. Cherry Blossoms

Folks often schedule visits to Washington DC in the spring time to coincide with the blooming of the famous Cherry trees. Here is the history of the Washington Cherry Trees and their good will mission.

 

In January, 1910, Japan sent 3000 Cherry trees to Washington as a good will gesture. Sadly, when the trees arrived, they were found to be diseased and infested with insects.

 

To protect American growers, President William H. Taft ordered the trees to be burned. Letters from the Secretary of State to the Japanese Ambassador expressed deep regret to all concerned. Good will was maintained and in 1912, Japan again sent Washington, D.C., more than 3000 additional Cherry trees from 12 different varieties. Two thousand of the trees were planted on the White House grounds, and the remainder planted around the city and along the Potomac River from the site of the Lincoln Memorial south toward Potomac Park. They grew and blossomed each spring to the delight of thousands of Washington residents and visitors.

 

Shortly after the Pearl Harbor attack in December, 1941, four cherry trees were cut down by vandals. Letters poured into the National Parks Commission, calling for “cutting all the Japanese trees down and replacing them with an American variety.” Throughout the rest of the war, in hopes of preventing future damage and ill will, the trees were no long called Japanese Cherry trees, but referred to as those ‘oriental flowering Cherry trees.’

 

The National Cherry Blossom Festival, an annual springtime event since 1935, was suspended and did not return until 1947 where a Cherry Blossom princesses and a queen are crowned. In 1957, a wealthy Japanese business woman donated a crown for the festival queen, containing more than two pounds of gold and 1,585 pearls. The queen wears the famous crown for just a few moments when she is crowned. It is then replaced with a miniature crown of gold with a pearl topping each point. The queen wears this crown for the remainder of the evening and she keeps it as a momentum of the event.

 

In 1965, the Japanese government generously donated another 3,800 trees to Lady Bird Johnson. Mrs. Johnson and Mrs. Ryuji Takeuchi, wife of Japan’s ambassador, reenacted the original planting ceremony of 1912.

 

In 1982 and an several occasions since, cuttings from the original 1912 cherry trees were returned to Japan to replace trees destroyed during WWII, and when the course of a river destroyed  a number of their trees.

 

Private funds were donated between 1986 and 1988 to replant another 676 trees to restore the number of Washington trees to the original 3000. Between 1997 and 2011, cuttings from the surviving 1912 cherry trees were propagated to ensure preservation of the 1912 trees’ genetic lineage and will be used in subsequent replacement plantings both in Washington and in Japan. Thus, the original 1912 gift have come full circle and will ensure a cycle of giving between Japan and the United States.

 

Back to Top