The old saying, “You can’t get blood from a turnip,” characterizes something that is extremely difficult. Maple is a woman who has lived an interesting, though challenging life. I met her one evening while she was babysitting for a family member. Her inner strength and spiritual countenance were evident in her quiet demeanor and in the wisdom of her eyes.
Life was not easy for her. As I read the draft of No Blood in the Turnip, I was reminded of one of my favorite poems by author, Langston Hughes – “Mother to Son” in which a mother tells her boy that “Life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.” Maple’s life was like that. She tried to control the situations and people around her, but it was not an easy task – actually it was impossible. As she struggled through life, she looked for any crevice or hand-hold to hang on or climb up, and she never gave up.
Maple began to keep a journal of her actions and her thoughts. This book, No Blood in the Turnip, is comprises of her life events, her trials and her tribulations. The book reads like snapshots taken in random sequence. Each snapshot gives a bit of history, a lot of emotion, and the story of a woman who just keeps on trying to make things better.
Not to say that Maple was always perfect; it is just not possible to survive the streets of Mooretown without a bit of anger, fear and manipulation. When her whole world seemed to be slipping away, she tried to control, to “patch,” and to hold on too tightly. She had a picture in her mind of the life she wanted for her family, but the men in Maple’s life were not always easy to deal with and not always helpful as fathers, husband and sons. She fought so hard to save her marriage and to keep her sons from the dangers of drugs and life on the streets. She tried to lead and control their paths, but it was not meant to be.
The book is also a testimony to faith; a reminder that God is always with us. Sometimes the only light in the darkness is the one that comes from faith. God always gave Maple “just enough light for the steps she was on.” His voice was heard in the darkest moments. Her relationship with Jesus, her church community and her family kept her going when many other people would have given up on themselves and others.
The book is filled with hope that her sons still have the opportunity for better lives that are productive and blessed. With this book, Maple, shares her story and her healing. She hopes that others faced with similar trials will learn from her mistakes and make wise choices. She wants other women to find their faith, develop their talents, and learn to live without destructive relationships.
I hope you enjoy reading No Blood in the Turnip as much as I did.
Sharon P. Burford
Professional School Counselor