Friday, September 9, 2011

A Tribute to Mary Nell

In my writing career, I've met some beautiful people between the rivers, but none more beautiful, inside and out, than Mary Nell Russ English. She loved my books and told me so! She even named her Red Hat chapter after my first book, Between the Rivers. She didn't just suggest to the members that they call it the "Between the Rivers Chapter", she called to ask my permission as if I had some prior claim to that place she belonged to more than me! One of the most fun things I've done in my life was to ride with her and the "Red Hats" on their float in the Kelly Spring Parade. What a blast! What an honor!

I'm not a very active participant on Facebook, but when Mary Nell "friended" me last year, I was devastated to learn that my beautiful friend had a rare cancer. I followed her on Facebook as she went for various treatements, admiring her positive attitude, her FORTITUDE, and her faith. Recently, when I sent out an announcement that Between the Rivers was now an e-book, she e-mailed me to say that she had a Kindle and was going to download and read it again. This was only a few weeks ago, so I know she must have been very sick at the time; yet, she here she was supporting my efforts to keep my book alive when she was fighting every day to live! Thank you, Mary Nell, for bringing your special love into my life.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

What's a little ice cream?

Last weekend, I dreaded opening the door to our little log cabin at Lake Gaston. What was I expecting? Surely not total destruction, but with no electricity for four days, there would be signs of SOMETHING amiss. The news had been dire up and down the east coast. Hurricane Irene had sashayed through our state and the entire northeast and what the wind didn't destroy, flood waters had wiped out. Driving in, I found the gravel driveway off our culdesaque covered in leaves and downed limbs, as was the wooden deck that surrounds the cabin. Pushing all of that aside, I unlocked the door and made my way into the house, turning on the light switch, expecting to see the refrigerator door standing open--forced open, that is by huge globs of rapidly growing black mold that had fed itself on the cheese, bacon and jars of condiments I'd left in the refrigerator the last time we were there. Yes, I'd fully expected to find the beautiful heart pine floors drenched in brackish water from the ice maker, and the black mold climbing up the walls. Instead, all I found was a sticky puddle of melted ice cream that somehow had found it's way out along the refrigerator door hinge. Standing aside, I opened the refrigerator door and felt the cold air that now filled the space once again, and not nary a sign of mold. What a relief! The sticky mess that once had been homemade banana ice cream left over from our July 4th picnic was a welcome sight. I'm sure that another week without electricity might have produced the mold that I dreaded, but we were lucky. What's a little sticky ice cream on the floor compared to the horrendous loss of entire homes? Once again, I count my blessings and pray for those who were victims of nature's cruel storm. Another lesson learned: don't store ice cream in your vacation cabin refrigerator!