China and Me: An Intimate Review

The review below was written by John “Rusty” Huddleston, a Vietnam vet I first met in Dak Ho, South Vietnam some 52 years ago. John lives in Sydney, Australia today. He became an expat after being spat upon and scorned when he returned home.

China and Me is available on Amazon.

“Animals are a window to your soul and a doorway to your spiritual destiny. If you let them into your life and allow them to teach you, you will be better for it.”

                                                                          Kim Shotola,

The power in your book is your openness and inherent honesty.

Your story of your odyssey with China is both simple and complex at the same time. It is also subtle.

You do not use the word ‘love’, but it is on almost every page in your book. That’s what makes it so moving.

I know I have read a good book when I get to the end and I am sad. I write ‘I am sad’ because I wanted more. I didn’t want it to end.

Your tenderness is on every page. It is evident when you were going to return China to Parrot Mountain and when you got there you couldn’t do it. It was present when you saw China after he had flown away. It was there when you gave him a mate. 

Each page had both tenderness and love.

The story of you and China was not about a glamorous movie star, but about a woman who formed a loving relationship with a wild animal. That’s what made it so moving.

Your epilogue was honest and moving. You referred to Joanie Olander and Mamie Van Doren was there, but it was written by the wise Raindrop that is here today.

Through your book the reader gets to know you better. I got to know you better.

The epilogue was written by your true self, but your true self also stands out on every page.

The story begins with Joanie Olander loving farm animals. Mamie Van Doren loved animals too and Raindrop provided the wisdom that age, and a life well lived, endows.

And so this is my last email of the year. It is appropriate that it is for you.

I have learned so much this year and the profound benefit of knowing you intimately.

I know if Raindrop writes Secrets of the Goddess, it will be a east seller.

Please tell China Happy New Year for me.








Proud Texans

Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas picked Christmas Eve to bus more than a hundred immigrants to Vice President Harris’s home in Washington. It was 23 degrees when these men, women & children got off the bus. The white Christian state of TX did this. Gov. Abbott, you among all the pistol-toting population of white supremacists down there should ask yourself, what would Jesus do? There’s no limit to the Lone Star hypocrisy. And don’t they seem proud of it? mvd

December 7, 1941

Eighty-one years ago today my life changed. On December 7, 1941, the Empire of Japan attacked Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. It was the beginning of World War II. SHOCKINGLY THERE HAS BEEN NO MENTION ON TV OF THIS PIVOTAL EVENT IN WORLD HISTORY. It changed the world and my life. My dad immediately left for California to find work in a defense plant. By spring my mother and I joined him, I fell in love with movies, and the rest is history. Remember Pearl Harbor today and the many lives lost there and in WWII.



By Billy Collins

The name of the author is the first to go followed obediently by the title, the plot, the heartbreaking conclusion, the entire novel which suddenly becomes one you have never read, never even heard of, as if, one by one, the memories you used to harbor decided to retire to the southern hemisphere of the brain, to a little fishing village where there are no phones.

Long ago you kissed the names of the nine Muses goodbye and watched the quadratic equation pack its bag, and even now as you memorize the order of the planets, something else is slipping away, a state flower perhaps, the address of an uncle, the capital of Paraguay.

Whatever it is you are struggling to remember, it is not poised on the tip of your tongue, not even lurking in some obscure corner of your spleen. It has floated away down a dark mythological river whose name begins with an L as far as you can recall, well on your own way to oblivion where you will join those who have even forgotten how to swim and how to ride a bicycle.

No wonder you rise in the middle of the night to look up the date of a famous battle in a book on war.
No wonder the moon in the window seems to have drifted out of a love poem that you used to know by heart.