Lookout Mountain, Chattanooga

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Friends, family, vacations . . . oh, my!

I’ve traveled here, there, and everywhere over the past month. The first part of the month found my husband and me in western NC to build a ladder-backchair (husband) and learn how to draw (myself).

Next was a short visit to my son in Norfolk since we were halfway there—happy to see him in his new place; sad not to hug him. I had a fierce cold that I’d picked up in NC—fortunately, not until Friday evening AFTER our fun week there. (I know the exact time when it happened. I laid my head down on my pillow to go to sleep and glanced at the clock . . . BAM! At exactly 10:30 p.m., the itchy sore throat set in!)

Nathan had a hand in designing the building in the background, the MacArthur Center.

When we returned home, I spent a few days recuperating before I hit the road for Birmingham and WIK12 (Writing and Illustrating for Kids). Spending hours with Donna Jo Napoli inspired me; walking with Leila Sales, associate editor at Viking Children’s Books, delighted me; and chatting with Julie Ham, associate editor at Charlesbridge, and joining her for a written critique left me with a warm, fuzzy feeling. Finally, the workshop with Marietta Zacker, agent for Nancy Galt Literary Agency, left me in stitches. (Many thanks to my delightful host, Joan Broerman, for her hospitality and to Peggie Hulebak for keeping me company throughout the day.)

Leaving the conference before the wrap-up party, I sped home to get ready for a few days at Gulf Shores. When the Pacifica pulled in, loaded to the gills with suitcases and women, I was ecstatic. After hugging Nancy Alexander, Bette Richard, Kay Sidle, and Janie Jarvis, I shepherded then inside, demanding everything that had been said in the previous nine hours. From that point on, we talked incessantly: at my house, in the car, on the porch facing the ocean, on the sand, poolside, at the restaurants, inside the luxurious five-bedroom place. You name it, and we talked about it. One would think we’d tire out, but lively conversation continued on the trip home. Of course, one of our topics included when and where to meet up next. Since they all have family nearby and I’m the odd woman out, I have to take into consideration chunks of time to visit my kids. At any rate and lots of giggles later, we returned home very happy to have gotten this chance to spend time together.

People envied us our youth and our fun, or, at least, that’s what we claimed when people started staring at us at Bahama Bob’s. It surely had nothing to do with a certain someone drinking—okay, I confess, it was I—one Long Island Tea, precipitating lots of giggles on my part, which infected the others. (But was it really necessary for the one truly-old geezer to turn his chair around to watch us? And why didn’t anyone ask about our lookalike tee-shirts? Is this normal behavior for the Gulf?)

At the risk of sounding sappy, we really are five forever friends. Having known each other since elementary school, the fact that we’ve taken the time to become reacquainted has been such a blessing. We all look forward to our next big adventure together. Wanna join us?

Only seriously silly women need apply.

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