A beautifully told story with colorful characters out of epic tradition, a tight and complex plot, and solid pacing. -- Booklist, starred review of On the Razor's Edge

Great writing, vivid scenarios, and thoughtful commentary ... the stories will linger after the last page is turned. -- Publisher's Weekly, on Captive Dreams

Friday, March 4, 2016

Happy Birthday to Her

The Incomparable Marge at her most incomparable
Yesterday was the birthday of the Incomparable Marge.

The Marge was born an undisclosed number of years ago in Tulsa OK, the descendant of ancestors older than the country. If TOF's family tree reflects the industrial immigrants on the railroads and in factories, Margie's tree bears the pioneer farmers with their covered wagons and muskets.

On her mother's side, the Hammontrees were in colonial Virginia, served in Washington's army (one died at Valley Forge), moved to the East Tennessee frontier with the Overmountain Men. An ancestor fought with Andy Jackson at Horseshoe Bend, another joined the Union Army and fought at Cumberland Gap, Chattanooga, Stone's River, Chickamauga, Nashville, and Resaca and after the war emigrated to Arkansas. His son lit out for the Territories. The Harrises, meanwhile, had started in Harlan Co KY the next farm over from Thomas Lincoln and his son Abraham. Greenberry Harris emigrated with them to Spencer Co IN, then proceeded to Polk Co MO when the Lincolns moved to Illinois. The Harrises later moved to Choctaw Nation, then moved up to Quinton in Cherokee Nation where they encountered the Hammontrees. Then the government built Oklahoma around them while they weren't looking. 
Still incomparable after all these years

On her father's side, Ransom White had also come out of Tennessee and George Washington White wound up in Bonham TX on the Red River across from Choctaw Nation. He and his family lived and farmed among the Choctaws on both sides of the river. When they sued for enrollment in the tribe, the tribal courts allowed it, but the white courts overturned the ruling. GW's son Jasper Moses White married Maggie Jam, who was half-Choctaw, and lived around Ft. Towson. The Incomparable Marge was named after her. 

So while TOF's ancestors were here before Ellis Island was built, Margie's were here before the country was built and in this case before the glaciers had fully melted.Be careful talking about immigrants around her.

When she was a child, the Incomparable Marge was literally rolling in money. The way this happened was this. Her father drove an armored car and the woman who owned the company allowed him to bring Little Margie with him. (Margie's mother had died and he was raising her alone.) She would sit in the back of the truck on the money bags, literally rolling in money. Try doing that today. 

Later, her dad taught her how to gut a fish and fire a rifle and they would go hunting and fishing together. On one occasion, she had a narrow escape from a rattlesnake that had taken up residence in the fishing boat. 

Forget the fine-tuning constants. Every single one of us is the result of a string of improbable coincidences. If a bullet at Resaca had been an inch the other way, or if Joel Harris had decided to go to Illinois instead of Mizzou, or if the snake had struck more quickly, the universe would have been deprived of something incomparable. We are all very lucky to have one another.


  1. Well, at the very least, if the snake had struck more quickly, she'd have to waste several weeks of her life that she would've wanted for other purposes on recovering.

    Rattlesnake bites are very rarely fatal, they just hurt like hell and make you swell up and turn purple. There's a reason that of the c. 8,000 people bitten every year in the US, most of them by rattlers or other pit-vipers, only about 8-10 die.

  2. Happy birthday to your Incomparable One.

  3. Happy Birthday, Your good looks party
    are living proof that Mother Nature sometimes wins the battle with Father Time.


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