Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Under Magnolia

Frances Mayes was the keynote speaker last weekend and though I'd cherished hopes of of getting to tell her how much I love her books on Tuscany (Under the Tuscan Sun on audiobook has enlivened many an ironing session,) it was not to be. She was not staying at our bed and breakfast and though she was was at the Saturday night dinner for the authors, she was at a different table.

I have long felt a kinship with Mayes, just from reading the books about Tuscany -- we are almost the same age; we both grew up in the South with somewhat volatile family situations; we both moved to someplace where we were 'strangers in a strange land.'   We both learned to love and appreciate our new neighbors. (She got the better deal, as far as local food goes, alas...)

Mayes has a new book out, a memoir about her youth. I purchased it and began reading it right away. As I read I kept nodding my  head -- yes, I remember the frozen fruit salad, the linen dresses, reading The Girl of the Limberlost, listening to angry voices somewhere else in the house at night, Capezios and crin0lines, green beans cooked with salt pork till they fall apart,  wedding presents spread out on tables all over the house for my mother's friends to come look at,  a little too much alcohol and not quite enough money . . .

Mayes  spent two years at Randoph- Macon where the dorm curfews and  rules were even stricter than those I experienced during my one year at Emory. Then it got really weird. 

She transferred to University of Florida.  As did I.  I'm pretty sure that we were there at the same time. She mentions a class in Chaucer where she memorizes the opening to the Canterbury Tales. I took that class. (Whan that Aprille with its showeres sote/ The droughte of Marche hath perced to the roote . . .)  Were we in the same class?

She got a job at Donigan's -- the popular clothing store near campus and not far from the upstairs-over-the-real estate-office where I lived.  I spent far too much of my allowance there on madras blouses and Villager shirtwaists -- did we bump elbows, do you suppose?

Obviously this book resonated with me in a very big way. But even without all these points of convergence, I'd have loved it for Mayes's crystalline prose, her evocative descriptions, and her deep appreciation for the mysteries of families, love, and life.

Oh, Frances -- how I wish we'd been trapped in an elevator long enough for a good session of did you know and do you remember.

Probably just as well it didn't happen.
                                       There's more about Frances Mayes and her books HERE

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Dahlonega At Random

The authors stayed at Lily Creek Lodge . . .

Where we were treated to wine and very nice food on Friday night.

When I wasn't on a panel, I took pictures , , ,

 Lots of pretty houses . . .

  And a sky so blue it almost hurt your eyes

Things were jumping in Dahlonegah -- there was a Trailfest going on too -- Dahlonegah is near the southern starting point of the Appalachian Trail.

Trail folk were having programs in the park . . .


And booths selling trail gear as well as assorted crafts lined several streets

The old courthouse -- now a museum of the gold rush in Dahlonega...

Lots of fans and writers were there . . .

 Some of them had lunch with  Susan Boyer, author of the Liz Talbot  Lowcountry series.
Others were kind enough to pose for pictures.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Friday, March 27, 2015

Off to Dahlonega!

I'm heading south this morning on my way to the Dahlonega Literary Festival (more info HERE.) I'll be on some panels on Saturday and Sunday and will be at Don Pollo's restaurant at 12:30 on Saturday, hoping to have lunch with whoever shows up . . .

I'm so glad my tulips bloomed -- we are likely to be hit with temps in the twenties and maybe even snow while I'm gone -- at least I got to enjoy them for a bit.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

I Was Toad to Wait Here

When I came home last night from my class, it was dark and our little solar outdoor lights were all aglow.  And one clever toad had found a warm spot to sit and wait for bugs that would be drawn to the light.

Just look at that gorgeous golden eye!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

A Random Act of Kindness Remembered . . . .

Facebook occasionally really strikes a nerve. You may have seen the photo below of a physician crying in the hospital parking lot after the death of a patient.  It quickly went viral -- perhaps because we'd all like to believe our own doctors are similarly empathetic.

I saw the photo several times -- and then my own physician posted it -- with a little story of her own which had me tearing up. 

She told how, back when our local clinic was in a small building with little privacy, she had gone outside to the side of the building to cry about a patient. (Yeah, she's one of the good, empathetic ones.) When she went back inside, she found that the man who owned the service station across the street had left her a Diet Coke and an oatmeal pie -- along with a note that said "I left you a smile too."

That sweet fella was Bob Frisby, whom I wrote about HERE. He's been gone almost seven years now but this little story brought his memory back as strongly as if I'd just seen him.

We never know what small deeds of ours will live on and, in some ways, define us in someone's mind.