Questions of the Week - WIN A $15 Amazon.Com Gift Certificate
In Sharon Poppen's latest release, Mama Played for the King, when Phillip is forced into the French orphanage system, he is farmed out to work in what industry?
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In Poppen's best seller, Hannah, what is the name of the man Hannah spends her every waking moment trying to bring to justice.
The first correct answer to either question wins a $15 gift certificate at Amazon.com.' Send your answer as a comment to the most recent post for this blog.
Reader Lena Casper knew the name of Michael's home planet was Maurac in Poppen's novel, Regardless. Ms. Casper received a $15 Amazon gift certificate for posting that answer.
Story of the Week
The Band By Sharon Poppen
When Buddy rounded the corner, he saw two of his band members pacing and stamping their feet to stay warm.
“Hey,” he announced his arrival. “Sorry, I’m so late. My mom was baking cookies until after eleven. Couldn’t sneak out until I was sure she was asleep.”
“Dang, we’re freezing. You know old Jack won’t let us in until we’re all here,” said Glen.
Buddy hurried past them and rapped loudly on the service entrance to their local high school building. Almost immediately, Jack, the black janitor, opened the door and hurried the young white boys inside.
“You’re late,” he reprimanded.
“Sorry,” said Buddy as he followed Jack through the hall and down into the boiler room in the cellar.
Jack’s son, Dwayne, was already set up and tuning his guitar. Greetings were exchanged as the boys got their instruments ready. Buddy sang lead and played lead guitar. Dwayne played rhythm, Glen played bass, Ronnie was their drummer and all three did back-up singing.
Buddy glanced at his watch.
“Shoot! It’s already past midnight.” He looked over at Jack. “We still have to be out of here by two?”
“Pa,” begged Dwayne, “another half hour. Please?”
“Two-thirty, then you boys gotta get outta here.”
The boys gave Jack a thumbs-up as he closed the door to the almost soundproof boiler room. Jack listened for a bit as the boys began playing their version of “That’s All Right, Mama.” He smiled. Big Boy Crudup would be proud, but Elvis had nothing to worry about. Still, the boys were in tune and their voices rang with enthusiasm.
Jack went about his janitorial duties. He needed this job desperately and despite all the preaching and marching by Dr. King, even a janitor’s job was hard to come by for a black man in Georgia in the late fifties. \His wife was against him allowing the boys these secret practices. She just knew they’d be found out and Jack would be fired.
But Jack saw the want in his boy’s eyes and unlike most of the town, he didn’t think the new rock and roll was Satan’s music. In fact, he liked the way gospel, blues and country music were being inter-woven to create this new fad that all the kids were excited about. So, he let the boys sneak in every Sunday night for a couple hours of jamming. And who knows, new singers were being discovered every day. Jack felt the boys deserved their chance.
At two-thirty, Jack ushered the boys out and told them to be careful going home. And so it went for a couple of years.
When the boys graduated, they loaded up Buddy’s old station wagon, said good-bye to their disappointed folks who hadn’t given up hope that their boys would get serious and go on to college, and headed for Philadelphia. It seemed all the ‘discoveries’ were being made there.
Jack hugged his son, then spoke to all four boys. “Just remember, I want you boys to follow your dreams, but make sure that while you’re chasing them down, you don’t lose the real you along the way. Every morning, look in the mirror and be proud of the face staring back at you. You hear me?”
“I hear ya, Pa. I’ll do like you said,” said Dwayne while the others nodded.
Jack wished them well and waved good-bye. For a few years, he listened to all the news about rock and roll on their small black and white TV in the parlor and on the big red plastic radio in the kitchen. He listened, but his boy and his mates were never mentioned.
Thirty years later, the boys, now men, gathered for a final ‘thank you’ session with Jack. Dwayne greeted them at the side door to Rayne’s Funeral Home. He ushered them into the visiting room containing his father’s coffin.
Each man paid private respects to Jack, then Dwayne directed them to the musical instruments he had set up next to the coffin.
“Thanks for coming,” said Dwayne. “Pa was always our best and biggest supporter. Somehow, I know he’ll hear our efforts to say good-bye with the music he, and only he, allowed us to play all those years ago.”
Buddy, now Dr. Bud Phillips, spoke for the others. “It’s our honor to get together for this special gig. Jack believed in us from the beginning. Always said we’d all do well, only we thought he meant with the band. What he really saw in us was a determination that would serve us in any field we chose.”
And so it was that Jack’s memorial service was highlighted by a band consisting of a doctor on lead guitar, high school teachers on rhythm and bass and a U.S. army major on drums.
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