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The Ghost of Alice Riley and the Ledgend of Spanish Moss

Growing up in Florida, I have always found Spanish Moss beautiful and mysterious. There are many stories or myths that explain where the moss came from. This is one of my favorites. This writing is credited to a man named Leo S.

If you go to any coastal town in the South, you’ll see huge, centuries-old live oaks with limbs covered in Spanish moss. From Myrtle Beach down through Charleston and Savannah, and on into Florida, the huge trees are the last living elements of the Antebellum South. These old sentinels even predate most of the haint that roam through the southern countryside, or rattle chains in the attics of local homes.

Beyond this area, few probably know the story of Alice Riley and her connection to so called Spanish moss. She was the first woman hanged in Georgia for committing the first murder in the colony.
Historically, Alice and her husband, Richard White, arrived on the shores of Georgia in the fall of 1733. They had endured the turbulent voyage from Ireland with 38 other compatriots. Many of them were nearly dead from starvation when the boat docked, but their faith in something better carried them through the misery and deplorable conditions.
Alice and her husband Richard worked as servants for a wealthy Savannah businessman named William Wise. Mr. Wise was tyrant, abusive to both Alice and her husband until one day he was found strangled to death in his home on Hutchinson Island. His head was in a large pail of water with his neckerchief tied around his neckm and his alleged murder was the first reported in the new colony.

It was January 19, 1735 (or March 1, 1734? This story has different versions…and does not depend on me, I’m sorry.)
Of course, Alice and her husband were the prime suspects. They fled Savannah but were caught hiding out on a nearby island and promptly hauled back to the courthouse where they received a speedy trial and an even speedier sentence: both were sentenced to be hanged by the neck until dead.
Richard was the first to go to the gallows in Wright Square in downtown Savannah. Alice, being pregnant at the time, was allowed to give birth before taking her fateful trip to the gallows, the logic being that only she had received the death sentence, not her child. Despite she used her last breath to proclaim her innocence, it was to no avail and the hangman carried out the sentence. Alice’s body hung in Wright Square for three days before it was taken down and buried.

It is said that the ghost of Alice Riley haunt Wright Square. She sometimes appears on the evening of January 19 and roams the square for three days searching for her lost child. Depending on the story you heard, her ghost follows pregnant women and mothers with infants, trying desperately to take their babies from them. Or that she was a witch who cursed all of Savannah’s citizens, while some stories say her body was left hanging as it took 3 days for her to die, then one night she mysteriously disappeared from the noose.
In any case, to this day no one knows if she was really innocent or not, but one thing that is known is that trees of Wright Square, unlike all the other trees in Savannah, bear no Spanish

And, according to the legend, Spanish moss will not grow where innocent blood has been spilled….

Life is a Stage

WDYS #126 https://lifeafter50forwomen.com/2022/03/21/what-do-you-see-126-march-21st-2022/

This poem is one of many from my book, “Kisses from the Mind to the Soul” available now from Amazon

Society cheers for us to come out of closets and be ourselves, but with their double edge swords, cuts us down for doing so

We have become accustomed to becoming actors and our character is based on who we are performing for at that moment in time

Only with someone that truly loves us, can we be our true selves and be accepted

It is a sheer blessing to shed all our false garments and stand in our nakedness, if only for a short time

Your Worth

Being a writer, I love metaphors and analogies. I found this piece and had to pass it along. The point it gets across is even better ❤️
A bottle of water at Costco is $0.25.
The same bottle in the supermarket is worth about $0.50.
The same bottle in a bar costs $2.
In a good restaurant or hotel it can be worth up to $3.
At an airport or on the plane, you may be charged $5.
The bottle and the brand is the same, the only thing that changes is the place. Each place gives a different value to the same product.
When you feel like you are not worth much and everyone around you belittles you, change places. Do not stay there.
Have the courage to change places and go to a place where you are given the value you deserve. Surround yourself with people who really appreciate your worth. Don’t settle for less.
You are worthy!

Shame on Disney

Lloyd Jones with Son Ollie Jones

Disney is called the “most powerful brand in the world.” They are called this for good reason, they guard its intellectual property by any means necessary, which includes denying a four-year-old boy, a headstone with Spider-Man on it.

This took place almost four years ago. I recently found out about this when I asked my son to proofread a short story of mine. I wrote in my story about a little boy wearing a Batman mask. His advice to me was to remove the word Batman for my story. He went on to tell me how Disney had denied a father to place a headstone featuring Spider-Man, on his headstone.

I immediately searched the internet, and what I read broke my heart. I ALWAYS associated the name Disney with Family, I believed they went hand in hand. What I read made me rethink this.

Ollie Jones lived outside London, in a county called Kent. He died sometime in December of 2018 of Leukodystrophy. He was a four-year-old little boy that loved Spider-Man. The last family trip Ollie took was to Disneyland, so he could personally meet his hero Spider-Man.

Ollie suffered two long years before he passed away. His family gave him a Spider-Man send-off. A Spider-Man look-alike, lead the way for a horse-drawn carriage, decorated with red and blue balloons. They planned to have Spider-Man engraved on Ollie’s headstone, so he would watch over their little boy. They were told they would have to get permission from Disney, due to copyrights.

The temporary plastic placard

While the family waited for the headstone to be approved, they had a plastic placard made to use while they waited for approval. Within days they were ordered to remove it, and their request for the Spider-Man headstone was refused. Disney claimed that approving the headstone would ruin the “innocence” and “magic” of the company’s famed characters.

Jason Jones, (uncle to Ollie) wrote Disney pleading to reconsider their denial. A company representative wrote: We follow a policy that began with Walt Disney himself, that does not permit the use of characters on headstones, cemetery or memorial markers or funeral urns. Although we cannot grant the family’s request, we would be pleased to commemorate your nephew with a hand-inked, hand-painted personalized (action frame from the movie) that recognizes his love for spider-Man. Which will read: For your (nephew’s name) Thank you for letting us share in the magic of your life. Your friends at the Walt Disney Company.

This caused such public outrage that it prompted an online petition to try and force Disney to reconsider and allow the headstone. I personally have signed this petition, if you would like to sign, please follow the link below. Disney has not responded to the Petition. https://secure.avaaz.org/community_petitions/en/Walt_Disney_Marvels_Disney_refuse_SpiderMan_headstone_for_Ollie_Jones_sign_petition_ma_help_change_their_mind/

A US copyright attorney has since agreed to take on Disney, pro-bono to attempt to get Ollie’s headstone approved. I pray for a victory!

I searched the internet for recent updates but found none. I found that sad. It leads me to believe that there has been no progress on this story in almost four years. I pray this changes soon.

I credit my information to The New York Post and Mirror UK

Set Me Free

I know you can hear my cries,

I know you are always by my side

My Jesus has set me free

I know what I can’t bare, you take from me

I know your heavenly face, I shall see

My Jesus has set me free

I know I am a sinner and you have forgiven me

I know your love is as wide and deep as the sea

My Jesus has set me free

Praise God, my Jesus has set me free

Weekend Writing Prompt #242 – Goodnight

Photo by Gelatin on Pexels.com

This poem is a revised copy of my original poem, “Come Dream with Me,” published in my book, Kisses from the Mind to the Soul.

Let’s lay under the midnight sky

Let’s wish on the shooting stars as they go by

Let’s say goodnight to the moon above

Let’s hold tight in arms of love

The sandman with come and close our eyes

Dream with me until the next sunrise

Trumann, Arkansas Tornado 2021

This was posted on Facebook by The Weather Channel.

We were aware of the tornado warnings on December 10, 2021. I sat in my living room recliner clutching my Maltese, Dogit. Our German Shepard, Buddy was close at my feet. When the sirens sounded, we took cover in the safest part of our house. Buddy will not go into the storm cellar, or we would have taken refuge there.

In a matter of seconds, it was over. We were without power, but our house was intact and we were safe. Emergency vehicle sirens could be heard throughout the town. We exited our homes, clinging to flashlights. We checked on the safety of those near us and checked for damage.

It was not until the next morning, that I realized how much damage had occurred, and how close the tornado was to me. I cried and prayed for those that were affected by this natural disaster. I gave thanks to God for being safe.

And let us consider how to stir up another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. Hebrews 10: 24-25 (English Standard Version)

This verse came to light as I saw the town of Trumann, Arkansas come together as one. Trumann has somewhat of a bruised reputation, but as others witness the rebuilding, I pray this will change. This happening so close to Christmas, is horrific, not that there is a good time for something like this to happen. The Christmas spirit and the praising of God for his blessings can be seen amongst the rubble.

The Lord is my shepard; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads in paths of rightousness, for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shodow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me, in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup over flows. Surly goodness and mercy shall follow me, all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever. Psalms 23 (English Standard Version)

Having faith in Christ gives you a spirit of strength, discipline and love. When you have all this, there should not be fear. I believe that the town of Trumann, Arkansas will hold on to his promises, and know that he will see us through, even in these darkest days.

The Story behind Silent Night

Father Joseph Mohr sat at the old organ. His fingers stretched over the keys, forming the notes of a chord. He took a deep breath and pressed down. Nothing. He lifted his fingers and tried again. Silence echoed through the church.

Father Joseph shook his head. It was no use. The pipes were rusted, the bellows mildewed. The organ had been wheezing and growing quieter for months, and Father Joseph had been hoping it would hold together until the organ builder arrived to repair it in the spring. But now, on December 23, 1818, the organ had finally given out. St. Nicholas Church would have no music for Christmas.

Father Joseph sighed. Maybe a brisk walk would make him feel better. He pulled on his overcoat and stepped out into the night. His white breath puffed out before him. Moonlight sparkled off the snow-crusted trees and houses in the village of Oberndorf. Father Joseph crunched through the snowy streets to the village of the little Austrian town and climbed the path leading up the mountain.

From high above Oberndorf, Father Joseph watched the Salzach River ripple past St. Nicholas Church. In the spring, when melting snow flowed down the mountains and the river swelled in its banks, water lapped at the foundation of the church. It was moisture from the flooding river that had caused the organ to mildew and rust.

Father Joseph looked out over the Austrian Alps. Stars shone above in the still and silent night.

Silent night? Father Joseph stopped. Of course! “Silent Night!” He had written a poem a few years before, when he had first become a priest, and he had given it that very title. “Silent Night.”

Father Joseph scrambled down the mountain. Suddenly he knew how to bring music to the church.

The next morning, Father Joseph set out on another walk. This time he carried his poem. And this time, he knew exactly where he was going – to see his friend Franz Gruber, the organist for St. Nicholas, who lived in the next village.

Franz Gruber was surprised to see the priest so far from home on Christmas Eve, and even more surprised when Father Joseph handed him the poem.

That night Father Joseph and Franz Gruber stood at the altar of St. Nicholas Church. Father Joseph held his guitar. He could see members of the congregation giving each other puzzled looks. They had never heard a guitar played in church before, and certainly not during midnight mass on Christmas Eve, the holiest night of the year.

Father Joseph picked out a few notes on the guitar, and he and Franz Gruber began to sing. Their two voices rang out, joined by the church choir on the chorus. Franz Gruber’s melody matched the simplicity and honesty of Father Joseph’s words.

When the last notes faded into the night, the congregation remained still for a moment, then began to clap their hands. Applause filled the church. The villagers of Oberndorf loved the song! Father Joseph’s plan to bring music to St. Nicholas Church had worked.

A few months later, the organ builder arrived in Oberndorf and found the words and music to “Silent Night” lying on the organ. The song enchanted him, and when he left, he took a copy of it with him.

The organ builder gave the song to two families of traveling singers who lived near his home. The traveling singers performed “Silent Night” in concerts all over Europe, and soon the song spread throughout the world.

Today, cathedral choirs and carolers from New York to New Zealand sing the simple song that was first :in a mountain church in Austria on Christmas Eve over 200 years ago.

Attention: I am not the author of this story. The author is Dick Smolinski. I came across it when I was looking for a new Christmas story to read my grandchildren this year. This song is one of my favorites, and knowing the back story makes it even more special. Thank you Dick Smolinski for sharing this story.

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