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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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 email@example.com 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.