Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Monday Monday...OMG it's Tuesday!

Monday a week ago I had the the fantastic opportunity of addressing a group of lovely ladies and gentlemen at the Hampton B. Allen Public Library in Wadesboro, North Carolina. I know, I know, doesn't it just sound like I traveled hours and hours for this delectable event? (Delectable because they served lunch!) Actually, it only took me about 45 minutes to get there, if that. The director, Phoebe Medlin (another new friend for me, woohoo!) had invited me to speak at their Lunch in the Stacks Author Talk. Now, since I can hardly refuse an opportunity to speak while others are having lunch (talk about a captive audience!) I accepted with great appreciation. Nothing builds an author's confidence more than knowing that others are actually interested in your work.

I parked with little trouble and admired the well kept campus and entered through the front door. There I introduced myself as the guest lecturer and two young men came forward and took the box containing my books from me and directed me to follow them. Phoebe came forward to introduce herself, took me to the back and there explained that I would give my talk while the guests ate their lunch. Wonderful! I took my place behind the podium and watched as Sheriff Tommy Allen entered the room. Phoebe had told me that the Sheriff, as a Friend of the Library, wanted to introduce me. I had of course met him when I worked for the Chesterfield County Sheriff, Kenny Welch, but we had become friends just in the past few months. He opened with the info he had collected about cats...cats do what they want, cats love attention but only on their terms, cats expect what they want to be served up as soon as possible...if they don't eat it then, just put it away, like Arnold Schwarzenegger r, they'll be back. In other words, the Sheriff concluded that he had discovered that cats were just tiny women in fur coats.

I couldn't be insulted, I had to agree with his assessment, although I did make a weak effort with, "oh no you didn't!" But by then he had turned to me and was introducing me warmly to the dozen or so ladies in the audience. I began my talk with how my family had a long history with Sheriff's both in this county and state and others. Most of the history is good...but a former Sheriff of Anson County wanted to arrest my Great Great Grandmother, Nancy Johnson, with ever so much fervor. According to my mother, the story went like this. Granny Johnson had lost her husband during the civil war. I believe (I could be wrong) that it was something innocuous like pneumonia or measles that carried him out, but in the mean time the young widow had mouths to feed. So she began to make and sell liquor. She would load the wagon and drive across the state line into Anson County to ply her trade. She had heard that on her next trip the Sheriff would be waiting on her, so she packed the wagon carefully. She loaded on sacks of corn and dried beans, a bit of this and that, even a crate of chickens...the kegs of liquor were placed directly beneath the wagon seat and as she perched herself upon it, she was careful to spread her skirts over the seat and onto the floor. As she approached the State line leading into Anson County, sure enough, there were the Sheriff and his men and he announced in no uncertain terms that they would be searching the wagon for contraband. She smiled sweetly, (as I was told) and wagging a cautionary finger at him said, "Sheriff, search the wagon of this poor widow woman and be damned, but don't let one finger of you or your men come within an inch of my skirt tail!" And so she was saved by her intelligent assessment of the situation of the times. And lived to sell another day and tell the tale.

As I said, I was impressed by the library itself, and the ladies who came to the Lunch in the Stacks. I learned that several were actually reading my blog, which warmed me greatly. One, a Doctor of Education, was telling me about her own website and I took down the address. Misty, if you are reading this, I have to have a personal invitation from you, so please could you do that? Just send me an e-mail (digby@shtc.net) so I can visit.


In the hallway leading to the lunching area is a case with dolls of the First Ladies as dressed for the Inaugural Ball. They have every first lady, up to Mamie Eisenhower. They have all been donated by people of the county. Now, not many of the dolls actually look like the person they represent (I don't believe that Mamie was blonde, I could be wrong but I think I'm right). They are simply dolls, some ceremic, others actual dolls, and the dresses have been fashioned as the dress worn by the first ladies. Now, if anyone of you out there can help our Phoebe complete her collection, would you be so kind as to e-mail her at phoebe.medlin@ncmail.net and tell her what you have in mind. Click on the picture to enlarge it.

As I was preparing to leave, the young men who had helped me before, packed up what few books I had left and offered to carry them to my truck. As Tommy and I left, he directed me to a side hall where there was an elevator. Now, this may sound very silly, but I was so impressed to see an actual working elevator in a library...of course our library in Chesterfield County is only on one floor and not nearly as large as the Hampton Library. Phoebe, you do a great job! Keep up the good work.
Publish Post

42 comments:

CatHerder said...

omg thats so awesome! I totally agree about your people in fur coats statement...odd thing is i JUST posted that line on my facebook not 5 minutes before i read your post lol...great minds think alike.....oh and i left a reply at my blog regarding your last post. Have a great day...T

Lee said...

Sounds like you went to a classy place, Sandi. Not only that but they knew how to treat a lady! :-)

Loved the line about people in fur coats. I'd have told the sheriff that I knew men who wanted the same things. LOL

Hugs!
Lee

Terri and Bob said...

Girl, you can tell a story... oh hey, maybe that's why you can write a good one too!

Loved the line about the fur coats.

Have a lovely day!

Vee said...

Oh ho! The sheriff thinks that cats are just little ladies in fur coats? That is hysterical and sooooo politically incorrect. Ha!

(I'm sure he'd agree even more firmly with his position if he could meet the two "little ladies" circling my house in wide arcs. Oh the antics.)

It goes without saying that I wish I could've been a fly on the wall. That story of your great-or more grandmother was wonderful.

Jeni said...

Congrats on the lunch gig and opportunity to get your book out into more readers' hands.
Loved the story about your great-great-grandmother too. Can you imagine someone today trying to stave off the gendarmes by telling them not to dare touch any of her clothing?

Maggie May said...

Congratulations on the luncheon thingummy! Sounded a grand affair.

The little ladies in fur coats, seems about right. Had to chuckle at that.

Jeve (aka John and Steve) said...

Congrats on a delectable luncheon! I love the sheriff's cat talk or at least the awkwardness of it.

Nessa said...

Sounds like a great place. I hope the doll collection grows.

Sally said...

How wonderful for you, my dear Sandi!! I know you kept that audience mesmerized; the story of your gg-grandmother is great!! My goodness gracious, the lengths which women have had to travel (and still do) to take care of their families!! ((hugs))

Penny @ The Comforts of Home/Lavender Hill Studio said...

What a wonderful opportunity! Loved the story about your great great grandmother....

It sounds like it was a wonderful day.
Hugs,
Penny

Candy said...

I love the library. Ones around here, only one floor also. Would be nice to visit a bigger one with a large selection.

Candy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anya said...

Sounds great,
lovely words :)

Donna said...

In those days I guess men Knew the meaning of "gentleman"!!Hahaa...Glad she made it through!
Glad you enjoyed the luncheon sweetie!hughugs

♥ Braja said...

I absolutely love that, "tiny women in fur coats..":::)))

SandyCarlson said...

Sounds like a wonderful library. I enjoyed your story. They were lucky to be your captives!

Hilary said...

How lucky those folks were to listen to your fine tale. I absolutely loved your Great Grandmother's ingenuity. She sounds like she was a gem.. and she passed her genes along in your direction.

Deb said...

I loved that story about your great grandmother - very clever on her part. Congrats on your book's continued success - and to be asked to speak publicly is an honor. I am sure your words would have held your audience captive - with or without lunch! Aren't libraries the most wonderful places! I always feel safe and calm when I go to our town library. Enjoy your day!

RuneE said...

A charming history! That should have kept the whole family away from law-enforcement work - or made them very good at it.

Thank you for the visit and the nice comment!

Carver said...

Great write up. Sounds like a fun event.

Moannie said...

I am soooo impressed I am wearing my broadest smile. Published author and Public speaker...I would have been a puddle of jelly.

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

Sandi, I left a message for you on Craig's blog. :)

Judy ~ My Front Porch said...

I would think they were most fortunate to be your captive audience! What a fun story from the family archives.

Pam said...

Oh, that collection of dolls is just the best! I would have enjoyed looking at all of them in their inaugural finery.

Lawstude said...

Glad u had fun time. Lovely dolls in there too.

Strawberry Jam Anne said...

How marvellous. Pleased you had such a successful lunch. Sounds a friendly, welcoming community. A x

Everything Stops for Tea said...

Sandi,

I run what is possibly one of the smallest Libraries around and we have a lift... I'll have to take a picture of it - it made Mum laugh when she came to visit a few weeks ago!

Shadow said...

it's nice to see chivalry still exists. thanks of visiting!

Shadow said...

it's nice to see chivalry still exists. thanks of visiting!

Mockingbird Hill said...

I had a collection of First Lady dolls when I was younger...of course, they would all be considered antiques now and it would be great if I still had them :)

Your luncheon sounds wonderful...sounds like life is sweet for you right now! :)

Cassie

Moannie said...

Sandi- just had to come back and thank you for that image of Harry being turned on a spit by OLD HARRY himself. Now I can actually let him enter my mind and I smile...well, giggle actually. XXXX

Candy said...

OMGosh! it's Thursday...
Miracle in deed! Thanks for stopping by ;-)

Cheffie-Mom said...

Oh, I enJOYed reading this post! I spoke to a group of women at our local library and it was such a wonderful experience. I can definitely relate to this post!

cheshire wife said...

Aren't there any Tom cats? Or do they just not go to the library.

Strange how so many First Ladies had the same face and hair!

Congratulations on being asked to give a talk in a library of all places.

Dr.John said...

I never thought of being an author as giving one an opportunity for so much fun.

jay said...

I love the story about your Great Great Grandmother! An enterprising and brave lady, for sure!

Sounds like you had a heartwarming time - how lovely that some of the audience read your blog!

Carol said...

Sandi...What a nice invitation! I wish I could have been there....not only to hear you speak, but to 'people-watch' your captive audience. What fun!!

Denise said...

You sure can tell a story...... I had to laugh....... Cannot believe that Sheriff and the cats.....

What a fun time and fun opportunity you had......

Merisi said...

Sandi,
now we know where you are coming from (like wearing skirts??)! :-)

Susie Q said...

NO one tells OR writes a story like our Sandi...no one tickles me more. You are a rare jewel sweet lady.
Fur coats...: )
Love,
Sue

imbeingheldhostage said...

what a great tale! We had moonshiners in our family, sure would like to have a few more detailed stories like that one to treasure. Congrats on your speaking engagement--wow!

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