Have a Marlis Day!

Archive for April 2011

 I met one of  my favorite authors, Jean Auel, at the reception for authors on Friday night at the So. KY Book Fest in  Bowling Green. I asked her why she waited so long to write another book and she said simply, “Life got in the way.” Then she told me about her five children,  fifteen grandchildren, and life in Portland, Oregon. I loved her first book, Clan of the Cave Bear, which was released in 1980. It was followed by four others in the series, all national best sellers and movies. (over 45 million books sold) Now….The Land of  Painted Caves. I can hardly wait to read it. She was warm, friendly, and most gracious when I told her I was a huge fan.

As usual, thousands streamed through the annual affair on  Saturday.  Nicholas Sparks spoke at a $!00.00 breakfast, then to a packed auditorium. Although I’m not a big fan, I picked up a book for my daughter-in law. He smiled and let me take his picture.

I noticed Judith Viorst, popular children’s author, was signing near me, so I bought two books for my grandsons. She nodded that I could take her picture but was neither friendly nor warm. I think maybe she was having “a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.”

As always, it was an awesome event. The staff served lunch to the authors and drinks all day. I visited with an old MWA (Mystery Writers of America) friend, a chef who grows truffles, and an Amish woman who crossed over and is now shunned by her family. And…I sold lots of books. One young girl crawled under my table so her mother could take a picture of her with me. A girl named Taylor told me she bought The Secret of Bailey’s Chase last year and had come for the sequel.

Kudos to the organizers of this grand fundraiser for the promotion of literacy in Kentucky.

 Grandma was a storyteller. How I loved to sit in the porch swing and listen to her colorful versions of the past. This is one of my favorites: It was the forties and my grandpa (we called him “Pop”) drove a school  bus. They didn’t have a car; when they needed to leave the farm, they used the bus. After working all week on the farm, Pop liked to go into town on Saturday evning and “loaf” with other farmers at “Tick’s Pool Room.”  They ate hamburgers, drank coffee, smoked, played cards, and shot pool. They compared notes about their crops, their machinery, their livestock, and the local basketball team. Of course, no women were allowed at the pool room; it was something of a men’s club.

It was before television, and I imagine Grandma got bored. The kids were raised, the chores were done, and the house was quiet. Grandma decided to organize a “girls night out.” She got on her party-line and rang up some of her friends. That next Saturday night Grandma rode along with Pop to town. He always parked in the vacant lot across the street from the pool room, where the curfew whistle and fire bell were located. It was also where the “Medicine Shows” were held.

When Pop went to meet his friends, Grandma stayed in the bus. Soon, other wives, whose husbands frequented the pool room, began to join her in the bus. Before long, the school bus was filled with the sound of happy, chattering women, anxious for a night out too. The men delivered hamburgers, candy bars, and cold bottles of orange soda to their wives, then returned to their buddies. I smile when I think of Grandma holding court with her girlfriends every Saturday night in the school bus. Women of that time always wore dresses, head scarves, and sturdy shoes. I’m sure they swapped recipes, told stories about their grandchildren, their chickens, their gardens, and their neighbors. I imagine the dark, weedy area behind the bus became their ladies’ room. Those women looked forward to their Saturday nights out too, with Grandma in the school bus.

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