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Christmas, 2023

          I haven't sent Christmas cards in a while, though I love receiving yours, and your newsletters and pictures. I hold memories close and this is a time for being in touch.   


          Until recently I lived in Mill Valley, California in a cottage surrounded by redwoods and fog. I loved every minute of it. Daughter, Cathleen and the grand, Caedan Ray lived in Woodland Hills. We commuted to visit, Northern to Southern California, reverse and repeat. Things change. I'm older. My immediate family is tiny. We decided to merge. Less time on I-5 and more time together. Sacramento is home base now. We lived here decades ago when Cath was little. In our neighborhood, it seems every time a home sells, the new occupants are San Franisco commuters.


          An actor friend, mentioning a TV show or movie he's in, prefaces it with "SSP" (Shameless Self Promotion) which is the only way we'll know the what and the where, and I still don't know a better way to update what I'm doing except with a bit of SSP. It's been a while, so in case I haven't mentioned it, I finally finished the book I was writing. It's "The Glory Road: A Gospel Gypsy Life" published by University of Alabama Press. Sold everywhere. More details and other stuff at www.anitagarner.com.


          Libraries have always been the goal. I hope these stories about Southern musical pioneers, my parents among them, will always be available. Once in a while I need to drop in at a library to make sure it's really happened. Friends sent this picture from Boston Public Library, one of the most beautiful libraries I've ever seen. Daddy and Mother are walking in some high cotton in this music section with Marvin Gaye and Judy Garland. 





          Many scenes in the book were previewed in theatre performances in Los Angeles years ago, when we put The Joneses, their family and other music makers onstage. Talented directors, actors, singers, musicians and audiences added the magic, bringing the stories to life. 


          The Joneses' 1950s recording sessions have since been restored as "Fern Jones The Glory Road" released by music label, Numero Group. They re-mastered the album Mother recorded in Nashville for Dot Records and also preserved vintage tracks with both Daddy and Mother, for downloading, from an earlier album. Songs mother wrote are featured today in movies and TV shows all over the world and their music is sold everywhere.   


          Director, Greg North Zerkle (www.gregorynorthactor.com) and I are headed back to theatres. We're putting together a new play-with-music, this time, based on the book. Full circle. Stories-stage-book-stage. Rewrites are underway. Greg commutes between NYC and L.A and we work on the phone while he travels around, doing what he does, acting, singing, dancing, directing and what-all. When I hand over this version, he'll search for a stage, maybe New York, maybe Los Angeles, and we'll follow "The Glory Road" where it takes us.


        On to the holidays. At Thanksgiving, the girls and I cooked every traditional Southern dish, the way we do every year, exactly the way Gramma K did it. For Christmas we decided on fireplace, lasagna, movie and dessert. I hope you enjoy the season exactly the way you choose.



                                                                                      aka Nita Faye Jones



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