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), Miracle of the Concrete Jesus & Other Stories, and several Kindle ebooks.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Country Matters

Today, I went to Salem to Peggy Shifflett's Cottage Curio. For a Saturday, there wasn't much traffic on either route 40 or route 220. There wasn't much traffic at the Cottage Curio either, except for some of the regulars who dropped in to visit and partake of Hilda's wonderful stewed cherry dumplings. The recipe is in Peggy's book, Mom's Family Pie.

Two of the above containers came home with me—one for me and one for John. I love old-timey home cooking (especially when someone else cooks it)!

Also present were a couple of other creative folks: author Jerry Haynes from Pulaski County and herbalist Lovell Najari from Ferrum (and the Franklin County Library). I already knew these folks and enjoyed visiting with them again.

Jerry has self-published two books, A Cotton Mill Town and A Cotton Mill Town Christmas, both set in Fries, Virginia. Proceeds from the latter book paid for Christmas Decorations for the town of Fries. (By the way, Fries is pronounced Freeze.) Jerry is a wealth of information about the town and the area around it. His books are full of warmth and small town charm.

Lovell ("The Lavender Lady") makes herbal preparations (her salve smells wonderful!) and does workshops about herbs and their uses. Years ago, most farm women knew what herbs to use for various aliments; now few do. I learned quite a bit from chatting with Lovell today.

Peggy read from one of her books about getting kicked by her mother's cow in a, er, delicate place and ending up with a big pail of milk on top of her. It was funny to hear the story now, but not funny at the time.

I enjoyed talking about the old-timey ways with everybody at Cottage Curio today. All of us are Appalachian buffs, and some had the good fortune to grow up in a rural environment. Others— OK, me—had to wait over 50 years to get home to the country.

On my way home from Salem, I stopped at Wally-World. Where were the long lines? Usually the place is packed on a Saturday. (Only one person was ahead of me.) Gas prices—the cheapest I saw today was $3.82—are having an impact.

After putting away my groceries, I took nap—and awakened to the sound of much-needed rain.

After I fed the dogs (John had fed the horses earlier), Melody knickered to me to feed her again. Instead, I walked her around in the yard and let her graze on the lush lawn grass for a while. When I turned her back into the pasture, she stood with the setting sun behind her and shone all golden. Melody was so beautiful, I couldn't look at her enough.

And then—more beauty. As I crossed the deck on the way inside, I heard a mockingbird singing. I looked up to see him perched atop the TV antenna. He sang and sang. Across the road—somewhere in the cow pasture—another mockingbird sang a slightly different song. They dueled in song for several minutes—and I was lucky enough to hear their concert.

So many things today reminded me why I'm blessed to live in rural Virginia.

It took me five decades to come home, but I'm so glad I finally got here.

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Blogger Debi Kelly Van Cleave said...

Did we get rain here? It was dry when we got home. We sure do need it now. I heard a rumble earlier but when I got up from my nap, the sun was blazing again.

5:47 PM  
Blogger Becky Mushko said...

Same here! Yesterday's rain was maybe a tenth of an inch.

9:14 PM  
Blogger Amy Hanek said...

I've been just as grateful for the countryside and nature lately. I guess I can be grateful that it only took me 35 years to get here.

7:50 AM  
Blogger CountryDew said...

This was lovely. Sounds like a nice day.

4:32 PM  

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