Geronimo’s Son, Chappo

First, I want to report on my Longview, Texas signing at the Books-A-Million there. It was another sell-out! Every book in the store signed and sold. I left Longview and went on to my parents’ house, to their Hendrix, Oklahoma Opry, and then helped them with their 60th Anniversary Celebration today. A great number of friends and neighbors came to wish them well and give congratulations. I just returned home a few minutes ago. My mother so needed this day to be great. I’m so glad it turned out well for her.

On the historic note, as I have mentioned in earlier posts, I’ve always been a student of Native American history. One book I enjoyed especially was Once They Moved Like the Wind, a fine read about the Apache wars. Imagine my surprise when at the Magnolia Cemetery in Mobile, Alabama, (which I must return to for more research) I came upon the grave of Chappo, the teenage son of Geronimo. This site, says this about him:

“Chappo was Geronimo’s only son at the time, and a proven warrior. When the Chiricahua prisoners arrived in Florida in late 1886, he was immediately sent to the Carylse School in Pennsylvania with other young men and boys. About a year later, gravely sick with TB, he was sent back to his family, now at Mt. Vernon, Alabama, where he died three days later. Chappo is buried near Mobile, Alabama.” Below, I’ve posted a photo of Chappo taken from the same Website. He is the one on the left, and his father Geronimo, the one on the far right with the Springfield rifle and ramrod. Below that photo is the photo I took of Chappo’s grave in Mobile.

Chappo & Geronimo

chappo's grave

Parents’ 60th Wedding Anniversary Tomorrow

I did my research on my play I’m working on today, but I also composed this little diddy to honor my parents who will be celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary tomorrow. I’m going to surprise them by singing this song at the country show they go to every month in Hendrix, Oklahoma (they call them opries in the small towns). The song is to the tune of “The Beverly Hillbillies.”

Ballad of Jessie & Gene

Let me tell you a story about Jessie and Gene
Cutest little couple, the world has ever seen,
Gene took one look at the girl of 14,
And said I think she’s the woman for me.

Marry’em young and you can train them right.
Child bride, a country girl.

The 1st time she saw Gene he wore a uniform,
Just back from Alaska and taking time to roam,
Traveled to Bonham to visit an old friend,
Had no idea what lay in store for him.

I’ll leave this one to your imagination.

They moved to West Texas, Gene tried the farming life,
He was really proud of his young and pretty wife,
They lived in a barn that was cold and rather rough,
Finally he said, of this farming I’ve had enough.

Moved to Dallas
Lots of cars there, real jobs.

Gene drove busses and Jessie cut some hair,
Had two little boys they started raising there,
Then Gene looked up at the planes in the sky,
Decided to give American Airlines a try.

Good benefits,
Fleet service,

When Gene retired, he got a nice pension,
Moved out of Dallas to escape the city tension,
Went to Hawaii and saw some hula girls,
Jessie didn’t like them, she said they had no curls.
Hair as straight as those grass skirts,
Lots of curls in the Pittman family.

Now they live in a little town called Kemp,
After 60 years of marriage, today’s a great event,
They still love each other just like they always done,
And they still put up with their crazy long-haired son,

Always a hippie sort that boy,
Gene would sure like to cut off that shaggy hair,

You folks come and see them tomorrow afternoon,
At their house on Peanut Trail, They’ve got lots of room,
Wish them love, health and happiness,
The house will be clean if their son don’t make a mess.

Always had to watch that boy,
Lots of treats and snacks waitin’ for you

Ya’ll come back now, you hear?

Weekend Signing in Longview, Texas

Today will be spent in chores and general rat killing–work on university classes, catching up on business emails, setting up more signings. Tomorrow, I plan on driving to the Minden library for research on a play I’m writing, and depending on that goes, may try to contact some libraries. Rather than drive back to Monroe, I’m going to find a hotel at or near Longview, Texas. I have a signing at the Books-A-Million there Saturday morning. As soon as all the books are sold (yes, selling-out the books at my signings has become a pride issue), I must drive from there to my parents’ house in Kemp, Oklahoma to celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary. I’ll drive back to Louisiana late Sunday night. As there’s a chance I won’t be able to post anything or much on Saturday or Sunday until I return, I thought I’d post my favorite poem by John Keats. I have it memorized and I quote it to each 102 class when I begin the poetry unit. It’s a sonnet and was written in January 1818. As a writer, it touches something inside me.

WHEN I have fears that I may cease to be
Before my pen has glean’d my teeming brain,
Before high piled books, in charact’ry,
Hold like rich garners the full-ripen’d grain;
When I behold, upon the night’s starr’d face,
Huge cloudy symbols of a high romance,
And think that I may never live to trace
Their shadows, with the magic hand of chance;
And when I feel, fair creature of an hour!
That I shall never look upon thee more,
Never have relish in the faery power
Of unreflecting love!—then on the shore
Of the wide world I stand alone, and think
Till Love and Fame to nothingness do sink.

Barnes & Noble Educators Night, Mobile, Alabama

I just returned home from teaching my university classes. Well, I had another successful signing, another sell-out. I was at the Barnes and Noble in Mobile, Alabama last night. The manager, Ken Turner, is a fireball of energy and excited about my new children’s book. In him I’ve found a partner to work with in many future projects. We sold all of my books in the store and he had to send a worker to borrow more copies from the B & N at Spanish Fort, across the bay. At his request, I wore my Confederate uniform and did 4 short sets of songs for the many teachers who had come. After the event, I drove back to Monroe and arrived home about 1:00 a.m. Once again, I made many new friends and booked some schools to present my program at in the future. God, I love this gypsy writer’s life!

Before the event, my good SCV Confederate friend, Art Green, drove me around Mobile. We spent a good bit of time in Magnolia Cemetery. I saw the graves of Kate Cumming, Confederate nurse and of Augusta Jane Evans, a great novelist of the Confederacy. I’ll have some photos from that part of my journey to post soon on this blog. My journey to Mobile ended too soon. I love that city. Below is a photo of me and of Dusty, one of the store workers who wanted to take a photo with me. Art and the store manager took some more of my signing and of my performance, which I’ll post later also.  They have better cameras than I do. (I must get a better one soon myself)

Barnes & Noble Mobile

The Jim Limber Story: A Program for Schools

Today will be spent mostly at ULM and Delta colleges and by 4:00 I’ll on my way to Mobile! Today, I decided to post a little description of my programs that I do for schools. This is a one-page version of a tri-folded brochure I’m working on.

Rickey E. Pittman


Author of Jim Limber Davis: A Black Orphan in the Confederate White House and Stories of the Confederate South, both by Pelican Publishing.

Go to for more information.

Offering Interactive School & Library Programs for All Grades and Ages

“The Jim Limber Story”
A study and program of the Civil War. I tell the Jim Limber Story in period dress, have a Civil War show and tell table, and play period music. It’s been a hit everywhere.

“The Scots and Irish in America”
Students experience Scottish and Irish culture through activities and Celtic music.

“Creative Writing Workshops”
Students create their own children’s book. The author can also teach special sessions on writing poetry and short stories for upper level students.

I charge a flat fee only, directly related to the distance from my location in Monroe, Louisiana, and my schedule. You will find me very affordable in comparison with other programs.

Teachers’ and Librarians’ Comments

“It was that special program librarians want their students to experience!”—Beverly Harriage, Librarian, Honey Grove ISD, Texas.

“Thank you again for your contribution to our kids, our world.”—Darlene Welch Brown, Monroe City Schools.

“What a great story with depth and historical details. What a way to inculcate a bit of history into the lives of this pop generation of kids!”—Judy Bennet, Freshman English Director, University of Louisiana at Monroe.

“Mr. Pittman’s enthusiasm for his subject was contagious! The students at both the middle school and the high school levels found his presentation entertaining and informational. I have had students from both age groups ask when he will be back again.”—Michele Aucoin, Gifted English Instructor, Assumption Parish ISD.

“Rickey Pittman is an informative, entertaining, delight for young, old, and everyone in-between! His blend of Civil War era stories, music, poems and books will keep audiences’ toes tapping while at the same time shedding new light on seldom-heard facts and trivia surrounding the war between the states. Pittman’s knowledgeable Southern perspective and talent are sure crowd pleasers!”—Pamela Tackett, Delta Kappa Gamma member and Gifted instructor, Union Parish ISD, Louisiana.

Sunday Before Mobile

My signing at the Books-A-Million in Jackson, MS was another sell-out. Once again, I signed and sold every book of mine in the store. The manager extended an invitation for me to return for signings in the future. While Vicksburg was a tough crowd (probably because they have the store in a dying mall), the Jackson residents who came through the BAM in Jackson seemed more open and sharp. I arrived at 10:30 am and buzzing from caffeine, I left at 4:00 pm. Today is a day of chores, planning, and preparation for my university classes Monday and for my very important Mobile, Alabama trip.  I’ll spend the night in the Mobile area Monday, and then Tuesday sign books, perhaps sight-see, maybe visit some schools to encourage teachers to come to my presentation at Barnes and Noble that night from 4-7:00 p.m. I know this is a brief entry, but perhaps I’ll put something else up later. On to my chores.

Saturday Signing

Thursday night, I was at the public library in Greenville, Texas to present my Jim Limber/Civil War program. It was sponsored by the Friends of the Library there. What a wonderful and friendly group of people. A large group of children were also in attendance. Interest in the Civil War and the Jim Limber story was high. After the program, I drove to my parents’ house in Kemp, Oklahoma, visited with them a few minutes, then retired. The next morning, I was on my way to Vicksburg, Mississippi, for my signing at the Bookland there. It was another sell-out. This morning, I’m on my way to the Books-A-Million in Jackson. I love this fast-paced schedule and enjoy the people I’m meeting. However, I find myself craving alone time, to write more and think. I’ll post a more reflective blog entry tonight when I have more time to do that. Below is a photo of my performance at the Greenville Library.


Thursday: Gone to Texas!

This morning, I’m packing to go to the W. Walworth Harrison Public Library in Greenville, Texas to present my Jim Limber story and my Civil War program.

So many of my Texas contacts are a result of the Region VIII Librarian Conference I attended. Below are a couple of photos from that event. In the first, you’ll see Bonnie Barnes, a high-powered achiever who works with Educational Technology
Library and Instructional Media Services. The 2nd photo is of Dan Gibson, storyteller and a firstclass banjoplayer. As you can see, we serenaded the librarians a little bit.



The Garden Song

I’m indebted to the very talented Michael Harrison for his encouragement with my writing and my music. Michael is a regular on the Celtic circuit. You can’t miss him: His guitar case looks like a cow skin and his capo (or cheater bar as my father calls them) like  a little pig. Though adults enjoy his music, Michael has a talent for teaching music to children, and at the festivals, Michael is often if not usually given the children’s stage. I really respect his work for I know from doing my own programs that kids can be a tough audience! You can read more about Michael Harrison and look at some of his CD’s here:
One of the songs I’ve learned from Michael and use in my own program now is the “Garden Song.” (On his For Kids of All Ages CD) I decided to post the lyrics here. There’s several different versions out, but I generally followed Michael’s.

The Garden Song

Inch by inch, row by row
Gonna make this garden grow
All it takes is a rake and a hoe
And a piece of fertile ground

Inch by inch, row by row
Someone bless these seeds I sow
Someone warm them from below
‘Till the rain comes tumbling down.

Pulling weeds and pickin’ stones;
Man is made of dreams and bones
Feel the need to grow my own,
‘Cause the time is close at hand.

Grain for grain, sun and rain,
Find my way in nature’s chain
Tune my body and my brain,
To the music from the land.

Plant your rows straight and long,
Temper them with a prayer and song.
Mother Earth will make you strong
If you give her love and care.

An old crow watching hungrily
From his perch in yonder tree.
And in my garden I’m as free
As that feathered thief up there.

Too Much to Do Tuesday

I really do try to keep my blog from becoming a to-do list. I want to focus on my new career (writing and promoting my writing). However, on days like today, when I have an impossible list and very small windows of time to climb through, the pressure of getting it all done is almost overwhelming.

Our Northeast Louisiana Celtic Festival was a success, with an attendance of easily over 5,000. The performers were fantastic. Here is a photo of Beth Patterson, one of my favorites. I’ve included her song lyrics on my blog a few times. I’ve also interviewed her for an article in a Celtic magazine. I’ll post that once it’s printed.