It's the time of year where we gather flowers in the form of baskets, plant seedlings, or seeds. What garden is complete without flowers? Here are my favorites, in order.
Hands down, no competition, game over. Number one to me is the humble zinnia. The annual requires work to get it in the ground each year, but after that, it will do the rest without fuss and offer abundant blooms throughout the growing season.
Above all flowers, this one reminds me of my mother as we planted zinnias together. I love the multi-colored packets of these seeds and seeing the brilliant hues unfold as they bloom.
In short, zinnas make me happy. Other flowers may be pretty or even beautiful but I can walk away with no emotional response other than to acknowledge the beauty. Oh, but the zinnia requires a reaction, either inwardly or outwardly.
Several years ago, and I do believe it was the summer after my mother died in May, I stopped by a summer farmer's market in the town where I live. It was mid or late July because the bounty of zinnias in jars for sale was enormous.
Maybe it was the raw emotion of losing (or thinking about) my mom, or that it was a particularly difficult summer due to Sam having surgery and then my father-in-law passed, but I recall nearly bursting into tears at the sight. I raved to crazy-lady status to the vendor about the zinnias. She gave me a free jar, saying, "It's worth it to see someone that happy about a zinnia."
Not only are peonies soft and full and hearty, and they return each year like clockwork to bloom in May, but they speak of my childhood.
We had two white peony bushes on the farm and I associate their perennial blooms with the end of the school year, the promise of summer, and all the joy that came with it.
Now I associate the peony with the cover of my second book, That Sweet Place: At Home in the Heartland, and that they are my beloved state's official flower.
We have one peony bush, with blooms in a hot pink.
In another nod to the days of old, sweet peas bloomed in a couple of places and I bet they still do out there on the farm. They too speak to the start of summer, of beginnings, and swimming in the pond, riding ponies with my friends and family, of the carefree days of youth.
They seem an old-fashioned flower. I rarely if ever see them when I'm out and about. An heirloom flower? Something that is out of favor or considered invasive? I don't know but I find them, well, sweet.
This. The sweet-faced pansy. I admire how they bloom and endure in surprisingly early conditions when snow even falls on their darling faces. And this, yes, is my color. Not only is it my favorite pansy color, but my favorite color period.
Oh, and the sunflower. Don't they shine on their own? So sturdy and strong? They hold up so well when brought indoors but how I love to happen across a field of them. Of course I don't love them half as much as the bees do.
On this rainy May day, I look forward to a summer of seeing and enjoying flowers. Of stopping to smell the peonies or sweet peas.
What about you? What are your favorite flowers?
Brian and I were honored to be asked by our longtime friends, Big John and Debby Williams, to walk in the Greenfield Great Strides fundraiser this morning to help take "steps to cure" Cystic Fibrosis.
The family has reason to raise money and awareness toward that worthy goal. Two of them, in fact:
They walk for their adorable grandsons, Jackson and Lincoln Williams, sons of Nick and Erin Williams of Denver, Colorado. Both children have CF. The courageous faith, hope, and love shown by Nick and Erin as they move forward and provide loving homes for their children, including son Brock, is nothing short of admirable and amazing.
John and Debby's daughter (and the boys' aunt) Sarah, will host her own Fort Wayne team in June for another walk. Yes, the family is all-in when it comes to love and help. Let me count the ways. Well, there are so many I can't count. But here are three:
And so were plenty of other peeps who love the family.
This fella wanted to help, too ...
A poignant reminder of what this is all about ...
During opening ceremonies before the walk, we learned a few things. Among them, that in the 18 years that Greenfield has hosted the stride, an astounding $750,000 has been raised. In Greenfield. Alone.
We heard encouraging news from one dad whose twins have Cystic Fibrosis, and how well they are doing, and the hope they have in a new drug they have been in a test study for. We heard from another dad whose college-age daughter with CF is in Ireland this summer! He detailed all the CF meds and equipment that filled two suitcases so she could go. But go, she did.
And, we remembered those whose memories we honored with a moment of silence.
And then, we walked. For all of them. For a cure. For Jackson and Lincoln.
As we drove home, I read Nick and Erin's card, looked at the beautiful photos of Jackson and Lincoln, and read this poem, by Nick and Erin. Aren't those boys blessed to have such gracious parents? Read on:
God has blessed us beyond compare
He shows us each day the power of prayer
Lincoln and Jack were trusted to our care
They show us each day the power of prayer
If you walked for us in Denver or anywhere
You have shown us each day the power of prayer
When life gets you down and doesn't seem fair
I hope that you learn the power of prayer
Thank you for all of your love and support
Much Love and Many Blessings --
Nick, Erin, Jackson, Brock & Lincoln
I finally finished my winter's project of covering everything in sight, well, on our back porch anyway, with new outdoor fabric, including the wicker chair and sofa pads. There's lots of yard work, and of course always housework needing done, but I want to celebrate the beautify of my own back yard and all that May greenery out there.
It's been something of a surprise, I suppose, but of the three years I've been on this book journey, this spring has been the busiest period of all. I enjoy it all so much, and look forward to every stop on the calendar.
For today, however, I'm jumping for joy at the prospect of a day with nothing on my calendar! Yes, I've found myself a free day! I'm almost giddy with the idea of nothing planned, no obligations, and no pressure to put together a program or scurry off to an appointment of any kind.
I have some organizing to do, but I want to get out into the sunshine and soft breeze and relish May at its finest. May and June are my two favorite months. I savor the lengthy, light-filled evenings, the sometimes-perfect temperatures, and the carpet of green grass in my own back yard.
I took this photo on the way into church Sunday. Pansies are among the cheeriest of flowers, don't you agree?
My sweet daughter-in-law Allison brought two hanging baskets of red geraniums on Sunday (and a pretty Vera Bradley apron). I'm going to put those baskets on the back porch, and move a couple of ferns to hanging positions on the front.
Yes, I'll be working in the yard today, and doing whatever else that strikes my fancy on this day in May. I may even find some time for a little snooze this afternoon, here, in one of my favorite spots in the known universe.
Enjoy your day! Savor May! Yes, that's my foot. I'm practicing.
Yesterday, on Mother's Day, I had the blessing of having both sons and our daughter-in-law come visit and share a meal together on the back porch. I started the day at church, and since I had a gig Saturday, somehow I never got around to a weekend post.
So today, I'm reprinting my Sunday feature that ran in the New Castle Courier-TImes.
I was touched by both nursing home and school in coordinating a pen pal exchange between Tri sixth-graders and Heritage House seniors. What a great project to bring the older and younger generations together through words. And then to meet in person.
Please read on...
The tension mounted Monday afternoon in Dusty Neal’s Tri Elementary
classroom. Sixth-grade students watched the door, anticipating the arrival
of some special guests.
The guests were the pals behind the pens the kids had swapped letters with
since Christmas. As several of the senior writers rolled into the
classroom in their wheelchairs, they waved and sported wide smiles.
Everyone seemed anxious to meet each other.
It was a field trip for the Heritage House seniors. And it was a win-win
for all involved.
Student Grant Cash said his favorite part of the project is, “We get to
find out all their history.” Jade Coffey likes “getting to know a person”
along with “Thinking of the joy someone gets over a letter.”
Evan Craft enjoys writing to his senior friend so much that he hopes to keep it
up this summer – long after school credit is involved.
Heritage House pen pal Katy Walker said, “I thought they would be bored
with me. I’m definitely not bored with them.” She was happy to discover
the project involved sixth graders because “that was my favorite year in
Participating were Neal’s 31 students and Heritage House’s 24 residents.
“It’s been a really unique experience,” said the teacher. “These kids are
learning about someone else.” This is the first year he has implemented
the activity. “I had wanted to do some service learning,” he said.
The project also counted as an English / writing exercise and Neal has
seen the academic payoff. “I’ve definitely seen some improvement in their
Heritage House Activity Director Shari Waltman and Assistant Activity
Director Barbara Gideon escorted their residents to the school. Waltman
wanted the students to know that their letters are important to her residents.
Students got the chance to ask their pen pals questions, such as inquiring
about favorite foods, colors and seasons, if they have kids of their own
and what they did for a living. One resident, Janice “Sarg” Halphin, was
asked how she got the nickname. She explained that she has 30 nieces and
nephews and once when they were extra rowdy at an Easter egg hunt, Halphin
told them to settle down in a stern tone. They gave her the name and it stuck.
After a period of meeting, greeting, questions, answers and even a few
hugs, it was time for the pen pals to go their separate ways.
Said Heritage House’s Norma Sauer during the afternoon, “I love kids.”
Maybe you've known the feeling. Eight days ago came the first sign of a cold: a thick throat. I figured it would take a few days of annoyance but wouldn't slow me down too much.
That Friday I had a full day at Warm Glow Candle’s book signing and got home around 5, wiped out. I rested as much as I could Saturday because Sunday meant 225 miles round-trip to and from a Warren County speaking engagement, home for bedtime.
Thanks to a good sound system where I didn’t have to raise my voice at all, and an even better dose of prayers, I got through the program with only one cough.
Oh, but the coughing kicked up its heels Monday and Tuesday and by Wednesday, I was a mess. I had to travel to Shelbyville to give a luncheon program. This had been on the books for months but I couldn't bail on them.
While speaking, I had multiple coughing fits! It was downright embarrassing. I kept apologizing to my audience, which was kind enough to stay put and see me through.
But wouldn’t you know, of all days to cover a speech of mine, a reporter from The Shelbyville News arrived to take photos and notes, and I presume there will be a story.
When my talk mercifully ended, I thought maybe they would all book it out of there quickly to get away from me and my potential germs that the over-the-counter stuff wasn’t hacking. No, I was the only one doing that.
But they stayed for door prizes and then, several even bought copies of my books. Some told me not to worry a bit about the coughing, and that it happens or they have been there. The wisdom of age. Few things rattle folks who have been around awhile.
I appreciate their sentiment and their slack.
As I loaded my car, their most gracious Shelby County Senior Center Director Kathy Nolting thanked me repeatedly, and asked a question that anyone who knows me could tell you how I would answer.
“Would you like a cup of iced tea to take on the road with you?”
Of course, my answer was yes. In fact, the weather had turned hot, sunny, and after my previous hour, I would love nothing more than the quench of cold tea on my throat and a quiet drive north up Indiana 9.
I put the tea on top of the car roof while I finished loading my props, said my goodbyes, and off I rolled. I made it a block or so when I reached for the tea and found it wasn't there. Oh no, I had left it on top of the car! In the same instant, I tapped the brakes, or maybe sort of slammed them, and then watched as the plastic tumbler, the ice, and the tea splattered all over the busy roadway, and by the time I could turn around in an effort to collect my trashed cup, it had been crunched on the roadway.
Yeah, it was one of those days.
Bad as I felt, I made an appointment to see the doctor for Thursday, called off work sick, canceled not one but three work appointments I had made, and steeped in a bath.
When Brian got home, I was in my jammies and he insisted that I take a dose of the dreaded nighttime cough-cold medicine that I despise. I couldn’t argue.
And then it happened.
Here I am, sporting a terrible frowny face from the nasty medicine, no makeup, my hair a wreck, coughing like a crazy woman. For a moment I contemplate where I’ll go. It’s early evening but my destiny is either the sofa or bed. So I ask Brian where I should go.
“Stay out here and keep me company,” he says, seated in his living room chair.
Really? I think. He wants me around in the state I'm in?
So I hit the couch, and for the next few hours, I alternate between super-snoring, and super-coughing. Part of the time, I pull off both in a kind of sad harmony. But he doesn’t complain once.
Must be love. That’s all I can say.
I went to the doctor and it’s not strep and he didn’t see evidence of infection. He said it’s allergies. Go home, drink fluids, rest, and take the allergy meds he sent me home with. And then he wanted to talk about self-publishing …
I think I’ll make it after all. But this too is one of life's many humbling moments. How many times have I said, no bragged, that I don't get allergies. Ha!
So for your midweek, how about a few Sunday-drive photos from beautiful Warren County, with the Wabash bordering it on the east and Illinois on the west.
The GPS sent me down some gravel roads to get to the Hickman Heights Christian Church for the All Daughters Banquet. I was taken by the views, and as always when I go somewhere from my past (I used to cover Fountain and Warren counties for the now-Fountain County Neighbor, based in Attica) I just wish I could have stayed longer to look around.
But I did take some photos of this county's tranquil, rural landscape.
I would have loved to have stayed and chatted longer with the ladies, including Carol Winegardner, who invited me, but I knew that the beautiful 7:30 p.m. hour would soon give way to dusk, then dark, and my bed would be calling me by the time I got home. As I pulled away, I saw both daylight and the moon taunting me with nightfall. It was lovely.
As I sat at my station at Warm Glow Candle near Centerville Friday hoping to move a few books, I looked up and recognized her immediately.
As I live and breathe, it was Mrs. Joan Kratzer, my eighth-grade history teacher.
“Mrs. Kratzer!” I instinctively bellowed, jumping from my chair to greet her. It had been 44 years since I sat behind Vonda Hoppes in the old Short High School, which in our day, served as Liberty Junior High.
No doubt Joan Kratzer (Mrs. Kitterman now, having married her high school sweetheart after she lost her long-time spouse) had surely heard her name blared out too many times to count from admirers: former students, or patients of her late father, long-time Liberty family doctor, James Lewis.
I fell into both camps. I loved and looked forward to her classes with her always engaging and amusing presentation of American history, and Dr. Lewis was my family’s doctor whom I associate with both shots and sticks of Juicy Fruit--peace offerings for the shots.
About both father and daughter, however, I have nothing but respect. Doctors and teachers were celebrities in my small-town world. You looked up to and trusted both. They were the community leaders, and the good ones (there were many) made you better for knowing them. If they weren't your favorites, well you learned from them anyway, a foretaste of life to come.
Joan Kratzer Kitterman didn’t recognize me, I’m sure, but she did a quick survey of my table and put it together. “I read your first book,” she said, not missing a beat, joined by her sidekick, Vicky Lakoff Snyder, who also devoted her entire career to Union County students as teacher, coach, and principal. The two are pals.
I must have sounded like a crazed fan, but I knew I had Joan Kratzer’s ear for only a few moments so I pulled up the memories, surprising myself even, with what came out. “I’m sorry about the loss of your brother,” I told her, having read her twin's obituary recently in The Liberty Herald. He was a doctor as was his father, and the two generations before them, and she filled me in on how like their father he was.
“Do you still wear the circle pin?” I asked. I recall her signature piece of jewelry and she wore it every single day. I have always thought that would be a classy thing to have, a signature statement like Joan Kratzer had. But she’s the only one I’ve ever known to have such a thing. That’s her, memorable.
“Oh, yes,” she said, explaining that she didn’t wear it on casual clothing such as what she wore in the candle shop Friday but otherwise, yes, and yes, it’s the same pin. In all these decades, she has lost – and found it – twice.
She told of the more than 20 times she had been to Europe, and listed some of her travels. She inquired how Brian was, as did Vicky.
I always thought Joan Kratzer (er, Kitterman) was one of the most beautiful women I ever knew. She still is. As a young teen, I loved how she dressed in her perfect, classic style, with her striking salt-and-pepper (frosted, she called it) hair, and she had the clearest, sharpest blue eyes which never missed a thing.
I asked her about her modeling days, and she confirmed that yes, she modeled in Indianapolis and Cincinnati.
Eighth-grade was a good year for me, the year I spent with Mrs. Kratzer. I didn’t feel angst about life in that particular year the way some do about junior high. All things felt possible.
For one thing, I was selected as an office aide, and it came at the perfect time every day, the lunch hour, when things were laid back. I thought surely there had been a mistake when “office aide” appeared on my class schedule. First, didn’t you need to apply for such a lofty position?
And second, I didn’t think hoodlums were granted the kind of access that comes with a seat behind the principal’s secretary’s desk.
In seventh grade, I had gotten sent to the office for talking. Mr. Cummins, the principal himself, had sent me, and a stern lecture came with the trip, as heard through my own excessive tears and contrite humiliation.
Somehow, I had been redeemed.
The office was next to Mrs. Kratzer’s room and it seemed that she was in there quite a bit at midday. She would send me to the cafeteria to retrieve for her a chef salad with Russian dressing.
Russian dressing? That seemed rather exotic for Liberty. We only had Catalina at home.
It was no chore at all, but rather a privilege to be asked to help a teacher in any way. I liked having insider information. I mean, who knew that the cafeteria ladies created specialties such as fancy salads? Well, I knew. Yes, being an office aide had its insights.
Just like the time Mr. Cummins thought a boy needed a haircut so I watched as he cut the boy’s locks himself. (But I won't reveal said boy's name. That would disgrace my office-aide code of ethics, which far as I know has no statute of limitations.)
Also that year, the energetic school secretary, Mrs. Ruth Miller, turned a spare room on the second floor into an arts-and-crafts studio and we were given an option to study hall, that of spending the hour crafting or stitching. Mrs. Miller taught me to crochet – an aside that I fictionalized in my second book.
We used mostly recycled goods in our crafting such as from wallpaper-sample books. We covered everything with that free paper from paper flowers for our moms to an umbrella stand made of sturdy, leftover tubing. Her ideas and skills were those of a clever Pinterest artist decades before the website or even the personal computer were invented.
Seeing Mrs. Joan Lewis Kratzer Kitterman brought back these fine memories. I’m blessed to have grown up in such a wonderful community as Liberty, Indiana. I’m so happy that this icon, the doctor’s beautiful daughter, and generations of students’ fascinating and insightful teacher, is still beautiful, fascinating, insightful – and exactly as engaging as I remember.
Some things don't change. And sure enough, I wasn't the only one bending my former teacher's ear. A trio of women from the Liberty area recognized her, and another spirited conversation ensued. Guess that's what it's like when you are an icon.
Yes, the title is misleading …
But in the world of miniature or fairy gardens, anything is possible.
For the fourth year, I’ve planted my miniature garden. I use a small galvanized tub I found at Warm Glow Candle in their garden annex and I’ve been pleased with how well the plants hold up all summer long.
This year I was excited to “get out the crop” because my bestie Gay Kirkton gifted me at Christmas with some new goodies to add. Do you see the chickens? And the all-weather work boots? What about the stepping stones and the garden tools?
It’s amazing how much fits into so little a space. I added the small plants, found here in Pendleton, and in no time, the garden is ready for warm weather. Gay and I assembled our miniature gardens a few summers ago when our girlfriend getaway had a clear “Home and Garden” theme. We went on a home and garden tour in Centerville, took a garden “glass lady” class, and assembled our miniature gardens, among other things.
Thanks so much for the additions this year, Gay!
I decided to display the small garden where more people will actually see it, so it is positioned on a bench outside our front door. I added the small decorative chair and an asparagus fern. The plastic base I started out with for the fern didn’t please me and then I had an ah-ha moment! To go along with the galvanized tub miniature garden, why not use an aluminum bucket for the base for the fern? In fact, I’m going to pick up another one for the Boston fern that will go in another spot on the porch. Galvanized steel has become hot in decorating! This is an easy fix.
And how do you like the vintage kitchen towels I told you about from Building 125 in Cambridge City? I love them! And to me, they scream SUMMER.
Speaking of summer and gardening, one of The Courier-Times’ her magazine sponsors, Warm Glow Candle at the Centerville exit off I-70 and Centerville Road in Wayne County, is having the annual spring sale this weekend, Friday-Sunday, May 5-7.
I’ll be there signing books from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday only. If you are in the area, please drop by, look me up and say hi. And if you aren’t in the area, it might be a great weekend to plan a visit to this wonderful gift complex and yes, tourist attraction.
I’m early with the midweek blog as I have today off instead of tomorrow. I’m starting my day tomorrow, Wednesday, May 3, with a 6:30 a.m. breakfast at New Castle Breakfast Optimists. I’ll be giving the program on what it was like to cover the presidential inauguration.
It’s an early start, but sometimes it’s fun to shake up the routine a bit. That’s not what I’ll be saying when Amy Grant starts singing Better Than a Hallelujah as my alarm at 5 tomorrow. But that’s OK!
Click on my CONTACT box at the top of the page to check out my upcoming schedule and this busy but wonderful time of year. Shoot me an inquiry if you need a speaker or program, firstname.lastname@example.org.
I decided to make a full day of it on Saturday. New Castle English teacher, author, and friend Annette Goggin had an early-morning reading and book signing at the Spiceland, Indiana library, and invited me to attend.
I wanted to hear her speak and enjoy the company of those attending at this sweet little library so capably managed by Kathy Painter. The only problem was I had an early-evening banquet in Ohio, and the structure of the day would leave me with an odd amount of extra time, yet it didn't make sense to drive back home only to head in the opposite direction again so quickly.
So I decided to make a day of it, and meander my way to Ohio. And isn't extra time a beautiful and rare commodity, no matter the amount?
After Annette's enjoyable program, she and I enjoyed a nice catch-up lunch here, in Cambridge City.
As I looked around the cafe, moments before Annette arrived, I spotted her collection of life stories, Home: Three Houses, beautifully displayed (and for sale). And of course when she arrived, a photo was in order.
After a nice lunch and even nicer chat, Annette headed home to get some things done, and of course, grade papers. An AP high school English teacher's work is never done! But OH! How I love English teachers. Some of my favorite people are English teachers.
If you haven't been to Cambridge City in a while, you should go. The downtown is absolutely charming and thriving with an abundance of quality antiques and gift shops as well as places to eat and visit. The downtown was hopping Saturday.
With the luxury of time on my hands, I slipped next door to one of my favorite stores, Building 125, and browsed around at the lovely displays created by owner and town benefactor Norma Bertsch. Whether buying antiques, accessories, or gathering inspiration, I always find those things here. Saturday, I picked up some of my perennial favorites from this store: beautiful vintage-inspired dish towels.
And outside, at the entryway, are twin urns so beautifully styled...
By the time I left Building 125, we were solidly into the afternoon. I could do more shopping before traveling on to Ohio, but I had other things on my mind. While I didn't have stacks of English papers to grade, I did have a tote bag in the back seat loaded with projects.
So I did what I often do when I have a chunk of alone time. (And here is my little secret.) I found a quiet, sunny spot, preferably in a church parking lot somewhere, rolled down my windows, stretched out in my car's back seat, and (ahhhh!) got to work.
Here's why I like a quiet, remote spot. I prefer to revise my programs by reading them aloud. It's the best way to weed out wordiness. So I read and reworked the evening's program, Bloom Before You're Planted.
I had more work in that bag. There was the final lesson before summer break for Bible Study Fellowship, due Monday, and notes and photos that need condensed and placed in order for Wednesday's (6:30 a.m.!!) program to the New Castle Morning Optimists. This one is a debut of what it was like to cover the presidential inauguration. Unfortunately, time has a way of evaporating and I didn't get to those before I meandered on to ...
People think of Indiana as flat. Being from Union County, where it is suddenly not, I never thought of the Hoosier state that way until I moved farther west.
When you travel from non-flat Union County toward Brookville, and then southwest into Ohio, oh my! It is anything but flat. As per instructions from Judy Leary, who invited me to speak at the Macedonia Christian Church's spring women's banquet, I took the back roads to get to the Macedonia Christian Church.
There was no good place to pull over to capture the beautiful views, the ribbons of road, and the emerging green that filled my windshield, but I sure did enjoy the drive, with Judy's instructions through the back roads landing me perfectly here ...
And inside, the loveliness continued ...
And even a poster announcing my program ...
After a pitch-in meal featuring delicious soups, fresh vegetables, dips, and desserts, I presented my newly revised program to a wonderful group of attentive women with cheerful smiles and encouragement beaming from their faces.
Judy was in the front, and I watched her smiling face as I continued. They were all so kind and welcoming. In fact, a companion poster to the above, welcomed me personally! It was so much fun.
I left the church at 7 with the sun shining brightly as I enjoyed the peaceful evening drive back to Indiana, then northwest toward home. It was solidly dark by the time I rolled into home, dozed off during my evening bath, and was sleeping by 10.
Thank you Annette, Judy, and the Macedonia Church women for this scrapbook-look at the last Saturday in April. And thank you, Lord, for more memories to treasure from this season of life.
During this life season as a regional author, there is no greater treat than for a book club to feature one of mine and then invite me in for the wrap-up discussion.
This honor came last night at the Fishers United Methodist Church when its book club discussed That Sweet Place: At Home in the Heartland as the monthly pick.
It was beyond my pleasure to join the group members. They had read my first book, Sweetland of Liberty Bed & Breakfast, a couple years ago, and I got to attend that discussion too.
It’s interesting how these opportunities present themselves. Since the bulk of Brian’s career was spent at Fishers Junior High, you’d think his connections created my link to this group. Or, maybe it had to do with our daughter-in-law, Allison, being from Fishers, or son Sam and Allison making their home there ...
But no, it all came about through a friend in New Castle, Mary Malone, who gifted my first book to her bestie, Rita. Rita in turn shared the book with her Fishers book club that consists of retired Fall Creek Elementary School teachers. One of the members, Kay, also shared the book with her second book club at church and the connection was made!
As with discussion of the first book, this group had an hour and a half of questions and comments, delving into plot, character, theme, and opinions. They “got” my books. One member shared how she laughed aloud at the chicken-coop-home-tour scene. Another said she thought Oh, don’t do it without consulting Sam! when Stan was offered a special opportunity.
One said his favorite character was Joy, the boarder. Another had a complaint. He said with a minor character, Krista, I switched back and forth from Kris to Krista, and he found it confusing. (I didn’t tell him that while I did that on purpose, and maybe shouldn’t have, I kept forgetting if the character’s name was Krista or Kristin!)
The same gentleman had an idea for a new series whereby I would write short stories about guests who come stay at the inn.
I thanked them for their thoughtful questions, their time caring about the books and the characters and the town as well as for their ideas. One lady gently said, “We care about your characters.”
Thank you to so many – to Mary, Rita, Kay, the facilitator Kim, and to everyone who took the time to read and comment and care about these books. It was a lovely evening.
A book club’s laser-like focus is a reminder of the privilege and the thrill of seeing one’s stories in print and living this dream and this season of wherever this journey takes me.
Last night’s stop was in Fishers, but the ride home was on Cloud Nine.
This is just the time of year that makes me antsy. Every day, the trees and shrubs have filled out significantly more than the day before. The grass looks like a lush, Irish-green shag carpet, and once again, the ash tree survives the nasty ash borer disease that has taken down many a beauty in recent years.
We have plenty of yard work needing done. Our side of the white vinyl fence behind our property needs washed, there is weeding, and pruning, and plenty more to do if we were ambitious about such things.
But what calls my name are the vacancies at the end of the black chains dangling on the back porch as well as on my topiary-styled pole on the front. I want to pick up a bridal veil for its designated spot by the front door (the most ideal spot for this plant that could possibly exist and I take full advantage of it yearly). And I want to fill the back porch with huge Boston ferns.
Those Bostons have been taunting me at a particular grocery store where I can get them cheaper than at several other locations. So I’m playing beat the clock. Will they be sold out by the time I feel sure the weather will cooperate with their outdoor digs?
I wish somebody would just say when, and I would know that the time had come.
“Have you got your ferns yet?” a friend asked a week or more ago. I don’t dare yet. I looked at the weather for the next week and it looks promising. But that takes me only to April 29 and then I remember my mother saying to hold off with outdoor annuals until May 10.
Others say May 1 or Mother’s Day. But my mother seemed to know best. True, the porch is covered. But still. I don’t want to buy them only to see them turn brown and ratty, and then go to the trouble and expense of having to replace them with the second, inferior wave of smaller Bostons.
Today, the neighbors and Brian played beat the clock and mowed and worked their yards, getting a jump on not only the weekend but the rain said to move in tomorrow. I did some landscape weeding.
The plastic bin resembled a salad bowl with green trimmings piled high. A couple weeks ago I bought tiny cone-shaped evergreens for the black urns in front of the garage doors. I like the greens in the urns but they tend not to last beyond a couple of years so I didn’t invest too much. For now they are growing like, well, weeds.
I’d rather have a sunny Saturday tomorrow than rain, as though I got to decide such things. But the rain is needed and will encourage the growth and nourish the soil.
So, I’ll wait patiently for the Bostons to take their places, for the bridal veil to welcome front-door guests, and for May 10 to hit the calendar, assuring me, as did my mother all those years, that the time has come.
That is, unless of course, I cave.