Our spring-green grass is brightened this week by the lovely lemon bloom of the Missouri evening primrose (Oenthera macrocarpa) that grows wild in our meadows. Isn't she gorgeous? And so is her other folkname: Ozark sundrop. She's also said to be edible. I've used the leaves and blossoms in salads, but never cooked the root (also edible). If you're into foraging and want to try this plant, check out this site for information. Members of the Oenthera clan have also been used by Native Americans to treat asthma, eczema, heart disease, and circulatory problems; and by modern herbalists to treat premenstrual stress. In our meadows, it's everywhere this year, and--like everything else--about two weeks early. I'm hearing from gardeners across the southern tier of states: we're all experiencing an unusually early spring, another piece of evidence (as if we needed it) that our climate is changing.
Book report. The General's Women (the Eisenhower/Kay Summersby story) is out there at last, and doing very well. If your library doesn't have it yet, please ask your librarian to order it (available via Ingram). Here's a review I especially appreciated, written by Brenda Viglienzoni for Goodreads. If you're a NetGalley reviewer, you can download a review copy here.
Also on Goodreads right now, a giveaway for The Last Chance Olive Ranch, the new China Bayles/Pecan Springs mystery. The publisher is giving away 10 copies--but you can't win unless you enter. Go here to take care of that little business.
I'm working on the next (#7) Dahlias. As you know, this historical series is set in the 1930s--the book I'm working on is set in October, 1934. This is a fairly light-hearted series, but I can't help but be struck by the parallels between that era and our own times. After the Wall Street crash of 1929, global economies plummeted, with banks failing here and across Europe. Then came austerity measures; tariffs were imposed (here and abroad); isolationism grew; race hatred and bigotry flared, especially against Jews; and governments moved toward militarization. Hitler celebrated his first electoral breakthrough in 1930. In 1934, Paris saw a million people demonstrating for the far-right. In America, in 1934-35, Huey P. Long campaigned for the presidency, preaching his "every man's a king" sermon and promising that if he were elected, he would cap high incomes and give the money to the poor. He gained millions of supporter and would have been a serious challenge to FDR in 1936 if he hadn't been assassinated. (Roosevelt saw him as one of the two most dangerous men in America; the other, he said, was General Douglas MacArthur.) Only three years later, in 1939, Hitler invaded Poland.
The more I read, the harder it is to ignore the parallels. I keep reminding myself that if we don't learn from history, we are doomed to repeat it--and the cost, this time, will be unimaginable.
Not a comfortable thought on a pretty Friday morning, but there it is.
Reading note: “The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history.” --George Orwell