Peevish Pen

Ruminations on reading, writing, rural living, retirement, aging—and sometimes cats. And maybe a border collie or other critters.

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Location: Rural Virginia, United States

I'm an elderly retired teacher who writes. Among my books are Ferradiddledumday (Appalachian version of the Rumpelstiltskin story), Stuck (middle grade paranormal novel), Patches on the Same Quilt (novel set in Franklin County, VA), Them That Go (an Appalachian novel), and several Kindle ebooks.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Lake Writers Visit Phoebe Needles

Yesterday, three fellow Lake Writers and I spent a pleasant morning at Phoebe Needles, a conference center in the mountains of Western Franklin County. Sally Roseveare (Secrets at Spawning Run), Marion Higgins (When Men Move to the Basement), Jim Morrison (Bedford Goes to War), and I spoke to the Center for Lifelong Learning group about our self-published books. The Center for Lifelong Learning is a series of monthly seminars for Senior Adults. Consequently, we were among our peers.

We rallied in the Wal-Mart parking lot, where Jim—fearless leader of Lake Writers and our designated driver—packed our books into the van. Getting to Phoebe Needles entailed a drive through the twisty rural roads. Sally had brought along “Ethel,” her GPS, in case we lost our way. Luckily, we didn’t need Ethel’s services. I forgot to bring my camera, which I could have used because the conference center provided lots of photo ops.

One of the poems I read was “Cat-Napping,” published in the Cats, Critters, and Canines anthology a decade or so ago. Several poeple (cat lovers!) asked me what book it was in. As that book is no longer available, I said I’d post the poem on my blog. Here goes:

When I lay me down to sleep,
My cats pile on me in a heap
And snuggle in my face and purr
While I nearly smother in their fur.

Despite this problem, they’re just right
To warm me on a winter’s night,
But when the weather’s warm, I swear
I cannot stand their stifling hair.

I sweat profusely with the heat
And try to flip them from the sheet,
But this attempt’s in vain because
They cling on tightly with their claws.

No matter how tough I am a fighter,
They only hang on that much tighter.
Every tussle ends in a tie,
And I resolve to let sleeping cats lie.

I’ve learned a lesson from sleeping with cats
Through all four seasons, and that’s
To take the bitter with the sweet
And keep my cool while I take the heat.

After we spoke, read from our books, and answered questions from the audience, we enjoyed a fantastic lunch—chicken cordon bleu, corn and cheese casserole, Sally Lunn bread, a marinated salad to die for, and some luscious desserts.

Most of us sold some books; the group gave each of us a Phoebe Needles tote bag and mug.

After we returned to Rocky Mount, I headed for Krogers for Senior Citizens’ Day. Without John, I figured I’d save a pile of money and be out of the store faster than usual. Indeed, I was three-fourths through shopping when I heard over the intercom, “Buzz-buzz-buzz Becky buzz-buzz your husband is waiting at Customer Service.”

Wow, I thought, some other shopper is named Becky. What a coincidence! Then Teresa (she works at the FC Library, but her husband works at Krogers) came up to me and said it was my husband who was waiting for me at Customer Service. I wheeled my cart in that direction, and —sure enough—John was there. Consequently, I didn’t save any money after all.

John had spent the morning in court (court-watching is his favorite hobby, plus the weather was too bad for him to do any farm work) where he’d just seen a case involving a tractor-trailer operator whose rig had gone over the side of Shooting Creek Road in the western section of Franklin County. It seems that the driver, who wasn’t familiar with Franklin County, had been directed by his GPS to take Shooting Creek Road. It is hard enough for a car to navigate the narrow twisty mountain road, and many Franklin County residents—including me—wouldn’t think of going down the mountain that way because the way down involves driving on the side where there is a sheer drop-off of a couple hundred feet in places as well as blind curves. (At least the way up allows the driver to hug the mountain, but it’s still scarey.) Anyhow, at least there wasn’t any traffic at 4:00 a.m. when the truck driver went over the side, and at least he went over near the bottom so he didn’t fall several hundred feet. However, the tow truck he called couldn’t pull him out, nor the back-up tow truck, etc. Finally a special heavy-duty truck was dispatched from out of the area. The final tow bill came to $42,000 and the trucker’s insurance would only pay part of the bill. Hence, the court case.

Anyhow, I’m glad that Sally didn’t use “Ethel” on our trip into the mountains of Western Franklin County. Goodness knows where we might have ended up.

Note: I slept well last night—surrounded by Camilla, Eddie-puss and Dylan.
~

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4 Comments:

Blogger Sweet Virginia Breeze said...

Love the poem about cats and napping! It's so damp, cool, and dreary today, curling up with my cats for a nap sounds wonderful.

Glad you had a good time at the seminar.

12:33 PM  
Blogger CountryDew said...

Wow, what a towing bill. Good story.

1:45 PM  
Blogger Amy Tate said...

Sounds like a great day. I'm glad you sold some book!

4:45 PM  
Blogger Marion said...

$42,000 for a towing bill! Wow...and yesterday's event at Phoebe Needles was excellent. What a nice group of people. I brought home some of their literature; there are some very interesting speakers scheduled.
Retirement can be pretty nice, right?

4:59 PM  

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