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Wisdom Speaks, by Dr. Tim Riordan, A Review

Wisdom Speaks has wonderful insights into the book of Proverbs. Instead of doing a verse by verse commentary, like similar books do, he’s organized his book according to the various subjects Proverbs addresses. Each chapter deals with a specific topic: marriage, friendship, diligence, generosity, and so forth.

 His book is not a theological treatise. Rather, he expounds upon the verses and subjects in a way that laymen such as myself can understand. Interesting anecdotes illustrate his key points well. Some of them are humorous, such as a story about his fear of rats. These stories spice up his clear, smooth writing style and immerse readers in the Bible’s message.

I enjoyed how he explained important words and concepts with clarity and insight. For example, regarding success, he writes: “we must be careful to define this term from God’s perspective. From a biblical view, success has more to do with who you are becoming than with what you have accomplished.” I couldn’t agree more!

  This book is perfect for use in a small group Bible study. The final section of each chapter is entitled “Further Thought.” In this section, he offers a list of thought-provoking questions which lead to further discussion. They challenge readers to look more deeply into their own lives.

I highly recommend this book. It is available at amazon.com: https://www.amazon.com/Wisdom-Speaks-Life-Lessons-Proverbs-ebook/dp/B07D9W7PNX

This book was provided to me as a complimetary copy for review through BookCrash.

Abe Hawkins, The Antebellum South’s Greatest Jockey

When one thinks about the antebellum South, what images come to mind? Pillared mansions, cotton fields, and slaves are usually the top three (in no particular order).

Regarding slaves, most people put them in two categories: domestic servants and field hands. But a third category also dominated the antebellum social landscape: horse men. Most of the South’s horse men who participated in thoroughbred racing were slaves.

Thoroughbred racing was the sport in the old South. Men and women from practically every economic strata attended the contests. One slave jockey stood head and shoulders above all others in his generation, though. His name? Abe Hawkins. Head and shoulders metaphorically, because in reality Abe, like most jockeys, was a small man. It was reported that he could fit into a boy-size coat.

Not a photograph of Abe. I could not find one, so it may not exist.

Not much is known about his boyhood, nor do we know his exact day of birth. We do know he once belonged to Adam Bingaman, a Louisiana planter. His reputation as a fierce competitor on the track won the respect of racing enthusiasts, white and black.

In 1853, Duncan F. Kenner purchased him from Bingaman for over $2,000 and brought him to his Louisiana plantation, Ashland.

In 1854, Abe raced to fame during the Lecomte-Lexington contest held at the Metairie Race Track in New Orleans, an event I’ll discuss in a later post.

During the Civil War, as the Union army bore down on Ashland in 1862, Duncan Kenner escaped capture and Abe fled North. Here he continued racing, winning fame and fortune.

Finally, afflicted by tuberculosis, he returned to Ashland and Kenner’s nursing and care. He died in 1867, but his name and reputation on the turf lived on.

Sources:

Katherine C. Mooney, Race Horse Men: How Slavery and Freedom Were Made at the Racetrack (Cambridge, MA and London, England: Harvard University Press, 2014).

Nick Weldon, “From slavery to sports stardom: Abe Hawkins’ rise from a Louisiana plantation to horse-racing fame,” The Historic New Orleans Collection, January 11, 2019, https://www.hnoc.org/publications/first-draft/slavery-sports-stardom-abe-hawkins%E2%80%99s-rise-louisiana-plantation-horse-racing.

19th Century Equine Health Tips

For a horse who suffered from fits, where he jerked his head and fell down but then got up again and seemed fine, the following remedy was offered in 1855:

“Give the animal two ounces of the tincture of asafoetida every morning for ten days. Tie the gum on his bit and wear it for six or eight days. He will never have a fit after the first dose.”

Photo by Tobi on Pexels.com

For a horse who suffered a chronic cough, it was recommended that the animal’s owner take:

“…powdered squills one ounce, ginger two ounces, cream of tartar one ounce, mix well, and give a spoonful every morning and evening in wet bran. This is good after hard riding or driving. It cures all coughs and colds, and will prevent the lungs from swelling.”

Source

The Horse. G.W. M’Coy’s catalogue of practical receipts, for curing the different diseases of the horse. Enered according to the Library of Congress, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and fifty-five by George W. McCoy…Indianapolis. Printed by Cameron & McNeely (1855). https://www.loc.gov/item/rbpe.019005ba/

Romance Novels: Why I’m Reading Them

“All females are complicated, worse’n a riddle wrapped in a puzzle.”Alexander Dunwoody Jessup, Master, Confederate States Navy. Quoted in River Ruckus, Bloody Bay.

These words by one of my naval saga’s main characters explains, I think, why romance novels are difficult for us men to write. Of course, in a lady’s eyes, we men are probably riddles too.

After a quick perusal of my bookshelves, one won’t find romance novels. No, that person will find history books, historical novels, literary classics, Westerns (Louis L’Amour and Elmer Kelton, primarily), and numerous works of Christian non-fiction. But a romance novel in my house? I may have one or two, but not many.

Ah, things are changing now. I’m starting to branch out of my “literary comfort zone” by reading more of them. Not just reading, though. I’m studying them—how the stories are put together, character motivations (especially the female characters), plot twists, and so on.

Sure, I could purchase a book on how to write them, and I probably will at some point, but it’s also helpful to read outside of our genres every now and then. It gives us a “flavor” of the genre and the prose. My least favorite genre is fantasy and science fiction, yet I confess, I’ve read a few of those kinds of books, too.

Why branch out in our reading? It helps our writing. As for my current diet of romance novels, I’m counting on it to help me improve my development of female characters in my historical novels. Who knows? Maybe, one day, I can help Alexander solve those beautiful “riddles wrapped in a puzzle.”

Are you reading outside your preferred genre? What books are you reading this year?

Breaking News

One of the hard lessons I’ve had to come to terms with is this truth: I am a human. Wow! Breaking news, huh?

To be more precise, it used to bother me when I’d discover an editing error either I or someone else missed after my books were published. Not too many errors, fortunately, but errors, such as typos, nonetheless. I am human. We are human. No matter how many times we proofread our manuscript, no matter how many good beta readers we have, such minor errors still get past us. Hey, I’ve even found them in bestsellers: typos, wrong prepositions, an awkward sentence here and there. It happens to all of us.

For some reason, the things we missed jump off our published pages. We needn’t get bent out of shape when this happens (like I used to do). As I said earlier, I’ve found things editors of bestsellers missed. The main thing we need to be concerned about, though, is that we don’t have too many. However, if we miss a couple of things always remember the breaking news: We’re all human, including our editors.

Horse Trivia, Thoroughbreds

While researching my current work-in-progress, a novel about Thoroughbred racing in the antebellum South, I learned a few interesting bits of trivia about these magnificient animals. Although I’m sure most horse people know these things, they were new to me. So, I thought I’d share them.

Thoroughbreds can run between 35 and 40 miles per hour.

The Thoroughbred’s average stride is twenty feet long.

Thorougbreds can reach up to 150 strides per minute.

Fascinating stuff, at least for me.

Source: “Racing Explained: What Makes a Good Racehorse?” Horse Racing Ireland, 12 March 2012, www.youtube.com/watch?v=XOV2Ip69-3E