Effingham Daily News, Effingham, IL

November 26, 2012

Writer hopes book will help people find peace

Bill Grimes
Effingham Daily News

MASON — A rural man who started writing after a bad back forced him to stop working for a railroad has published a second book.

    Jerry Eident, who lives five miles east of Mason, said about 80 percent of “Once More a Mindful Gatherin’” is poetry, with the rest prose.

    The book includes musings on the annual Memorial Day tribute in Mason, as well as items on Christmas, nature and even coconut cream pie.

    In a tribute to his former railroad career, Eident has penned several verses related to trains. The devout Christian said there’s also a spiritual element to many of his verses.

    Eident described the book as a mixture of “homespun rhyming verse and prose born of personal contemplation.”

    The book’s title is a reference to the “mindful gatherins” that family and friends routinely engage in, particularly at holiday time.

    “I just played off what we are involved in all the time,” he said.

    Eident said he doesn’t go in for any fancy stuff in his writing.

    “What I write, I like to be understood,” he said. “It’s not the ‘in’ stuff for today’s poets, just simple stuff.

    “If it causes people to smile or gain a little peace, I’m fine with that.”

    Eident lived in Mason until third grade when his family moved to rural Watson. He has lived east of Mason with wife Jeannie for more than 25 years. The couple has three grown children.

    Eident spent 24 years, mostly with Conrail, in signal maintenance, before a chronic back condition disabled him in 1998. It was in those first few months after leaving the railroad that he began writing.

    “I had gotten letters from people, so I started writing return letters in verse,” he said.

    But Eident he never dreamed he’d write enough for one book, much less two.

    “Echoes From Union Township” was published several years ago.

    “I never imagined I’d do something like this, but you never know where life is going to take you,” he said.

    The “Mindful Gatherin’” cover is a photo of the old public well in Mason. That’s also a lead-in to Eident’s current project, a history of Mason with a projected completion of Memorial Day.

    “Mindful Gatherin” is available on Lulu.com and from Eident directly. Readers can buy the the 6-by-9, hardback 240-page book for $20 if they are willing to pick it up at Eident’s home. The book costs $24 if mailed.

    Those wishing to order the book can call Eident at 618-238-4853.

    Bill Grimes can be reached at 217-347-7151, ext. 132, or at bill.grimes@effinghamdailynews.com.