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Mittie - Novel Sample

 

Word from the author Jimmie Ray Cantrell

At  the age of eleven I began the journey to find out more about my 'real  father'.  It was not until the age of forty-four, when I found him AND  seven, that's right, seven, more brothers and sisters; and a inspiration  to write "Mittie's Song". 

My Mom, Mittie Claire Belle Cantrell,  passed away on March 29, 2011. Boy I miss her so, loved hearing her  Southern Belle stories, or even singing a song with her.  The last song  we sang together was, "In The Pines". 

She had several God given gifts; music, art, the gift of gab.  One thing she had, that became an enemy of sorts, was beauty.

At  forty-four I began to write music, make notes of stories, and set to  find my lost brothers and sisters (that is a story all of its own).  The  night I found my 'father' I came home a wrote the song, "Daddy, Where  Are You" - you can hear a sample on Mittie's Song Music Samples in The  Store. 

Well, many years later we have a novel (sample  below), a  screenplay (being revised, again), 20 plus songs and now, The Play.    This is NOT the story of my Mom BUT she DID in fact inspire the story.   MANY of the stories within, and characters, were from her life.  So, I  guess one might say, I took artistic license and created these  productions.  ONE of the main messages within is, to quote Mittie, "No  matter what you are going through, with the Good Lord's help, you WILL  make it through.

God Bless and enjoy "Mittie's Song",

Jimmie Ray Cantrell

Mitti's Song - The Novel Sample Pages


EXCERPTS:   SELECTED Chapter Openings & Closings

Dedicated to abused women around the world.  

YOU CAN MAKE IT!

Opening and closing of Chapter One

BEYOND THE GREEN DOOR


Mittie  Cooper sat in this dimly-lit room, all alone with nothing other than  her seasoned image in the mirror, reflecting, waiting, heart racing,  anticipating. She was oblivious to the sounds beyond the dark green  door.            

Suddenly,  as if God had reached down with His hand and reversed the sands of  time, the room became a mental and emotional time-machine. Mittie saw  herself as a child in North Carolina. For what seemed like several  moments, but was really only a split second, Mittie Cooper revisited  precious moments of her childhood, especially times with her older  sister Dolly. Suddenly, the image in the mirror began to change. Mittie  Cooper was now traveling back to the most frightening evening of her  life. Tears began to flow as she fought the journey. She had done all  she could to avoid talking or even thinking about that ghastly night of  February 11, 1956, a time when she and her son Ray could have been  killed. For the moment, it was impossible to direct her thoughts to any  other time.           

It  was as though she were there once again, on that very night. A short  distance away, high atop Mount Washington, the high- pitched shrill of a  family of coyotes could be heard as they seemed to celebrate their  latest kill. A large white owl was perched in one of the giant  eucalyptus trees that overshadowed the duplex, searching for his next  meal. The sparse population of the area made it hard to believe  that downtown Los Angeles was only eight miles away.            

Suddenly,  from the pre-World War II duplex, Mittie's voice pleaded, "Please don't  hit me again."       Mittie had both talent and beauty. Her  fifty-five-year-old husband, John Silvers, both loved and hated the way  she looked...................   


Close chapter one:


This  really all began when Mittie Cooper was only sixteen, in the shadows of  the Blue Ridge and Great Smoky Mountains, near Hendersonville, North  Carolina, in 1944.


Opening and closing of Chapter Two


BIG WILLOW

There  had been a gentle spring rain the night before. The air smelled clean  and pure. There wasn’t much dust around the old Cooper place today. The  sound of Frank Cooper chopping firewood echoed sharply off the  surrounding hills. A horse drawn wagon, loaded with small logs destined  to be transformed into firewood, could be heard as it approached. A  gentle cool breeze rustled the new leaves of the giant oak which  shadowed the old farmhouse. The song of the south was being performed by  the cicadas. Several chickens could be seen and heard as they hunted  for scratch. On a scale of one to ten, this day had to be at least a  nine. What a beautiful day for such a change in young Mittie's  life.            
The  Cooper farm was on twelve acres, nestled in a small canyon called Big  Willow, about fifteen miles from Hendersonville. Only three of the  twelve acres were cleared, the balance was a mix of red and white oaks,  Carolina pines, sycamores, a few sweet gum trees and a variety of other  trees common to the area. There was a dense undergrowth on most of the  undeveloped acreage; arrowwood shrubs, honeysuckle, muscadine  grapevines, lots of snakelike vines hung from the trees; and let’s not  forget the snakes, lots of snakes. Not to mention a host of other  critters, even an occasional cougar that’d come down from Pisgah  Mountain. Insects? Big Willow had every variety. And, oh, poison ivy and  poison oak. Makes one itchy just thinkin bout it. And of course, the  Brier brambles and the blackberries; snakes loved to hide under the  blackberry vines...................... 


Close of Chapter Two:

On  her final night at the old farm Mittie was so excited she could hardly  eat supper. After her and Dolly had finished with the evening chores,  the two girls took Mittie's guitar out on the front porch. Mittie wrote a  song of joy, unlike most of her previous songs that always seemed to  have a touch of the blues.


Opening and closing of Chapter Three


MIRRORS

Particles  of dust slowly drifted across the morning sunbeams as they pierced  through the sisters attic bedroom window. The morning reveille was being  sounded by the Cooper's Rhode Island Red rooster. A Red Tailed Hawk  soared high above the small valley, soon to demonstrate the Survival of  the Fittest. It was a comfortably cool Saturday morning. A perfect day  lay ahead for Mittie – a day of change, a day of destiny.            

Mittie  and Dolly had slept as usual on their old, overstuffed, lumpy, musty  smelling, barely full-sized bed. The girls didn’t know no better– they  felt they had plenty of room, particularly since Selma had left four  years ago. Back then all three girls slept together.             

Only  moments after the sun pierced through the girls dingy upstairs bedroom  window, Mittie was awake, she knew that this was her day.              "Dolly, Dolly you awake?"            

Dolly slowly rolled over...................... 


Close of Chapter Three:


Soon,  Mittie's thoughts shifted to her new things, her new room, her new  lease on life, how comfortable she felt, her new songs, what would their  uppity church be like tomorrow, on Easter Sunday, what was it going to  be like at the Court House on Monday...


 

 

Opening and closing of Chapter Four
RESURRECTED


There  Mittie was, standing in front of the big white First Church of the  Uppity. Every time the Cooper's came to town they had to pass this house  of worship. Often Mittie wondered what it was like inside. Were the  services like the hellfire and brimstone she had become accustomed to at  their little Baptist Church? Mittie never imagined she would be  attending here, and with a family of such prominence to  boot.                  

It was a beautiful Easter morning.........................     


Close of Chapter Four:


I'll  think 'bout the trial if I can. Ain't ever even been in the Court  House. I better get out of this tub. My, look how wrinkled my hands and  feet are. Oh, this has been wonderful.                   Mittie even  found pleasure in drying herself, the thick soft towel against her  body.                   ​ Within minutes, Mittie was within the comfort  and security of her new bed. As she began to doze off, somehow she knew  she was going to have sweet dreams. Dreams of all the wonderful events  of the past few days, her new inner feelings and thoughts, her faith;  the evidence of things hoped for. She had been resurrected, had new  life, new hope, new feelings. A new Mittie Cooper.  Resurrected.


Opening and closing of Chapter Five

THE TRIAL of Leroy Francis 

Easter  had been a warm beautiful day. Today was stacking up to be one with  record breaking heat. Large fans had been placed in the front corners of  the courtroom to make it more bearable for those in attendance. Two  other factors contributing to the anticipated temperature were the  ninety percent humidity, and the knowledge that the courtroom was going  to be jam-packed with people. People create heat. Lots of people equals  lots of heat.                   ​
A  constant murmur was heard as spectators entered the courtroom and  scrambled for the few remaining seats. Several of those seated were  already fanning themselves with makeshift fans, some were using folded  copies of today's Hendersonville newspaper, the headline of which boldly  read "GUILTY or NOT? THAT IS THE QUESTION". At the rear of the  courtroom there was a "special" section reserved for Colored Only. This  special section was filled to capacity with the family and friends of  Leroy Francis, the defendant...........                 

Close of Chapter Five:

Within  thirty minutes Mittie was safely home. She took her bath, which was  nothing like the one she took the night before. Her memories of the past  few days were now bittersweet, mostly bitter for the moment. It was as  if Mittie subconsciously thought that the bath was going to wash away  the stains that had been placed in her mind over the past few hours.  This had been another day of doors opened, never to be closed again.                   ​

The trial was over, but Mittie Cooper's journey had just begun.

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