Sadness has prevented me from posting much news lately. This is a photo snapped by my friend Rhonda’s family at my book signing at Barnes and Noble at the Summit in Birmingham. After this day, I wanted to tell you all about how it went, but suddenly, the world seemed to cave in.
The tragic death of an 18 year old friend of my son knocked our entire community off our feet. Days and days of sadness and disbelief were thrust upon us, then, came the news that a much beloved community member, and the founder of our awesome independent bookstore, Page and Palette, had passed away. The last time I saw Betty Joe Wolff, she was in the store to get a copy of my book. Such an encourager of mine, and a great lady, it was a dark cloud over my head to know she was gone. Then, like all of you, I watched as the shooting of 17 children in a Florida school unfolded, the death of the great Billy Graham, and I thought sadness was taking over the world. And of course, when it rains, it pours, so I also encountered more than my share of thoughtless snippy people as well. So disappointing!
Then, came the unexpected death of the husband of one of my college friends. She’s young and has three teens to raise, and although she’s a strong faithful woman, my heart was yet again, broken for her.
So . . . that’s why posting here has been sparse lately. I haven’t felt like doing much of anything. Oh — and on top of that, I’ll soon need more heart surgery. Dang. I’l fill you in later, but it should be scheduled for sometime this month. If I go silent again for a while, you’ll know I’m being held captive with no salt and no caffeine on the cardiac floor of the hospital. (It sounds gloomy, but actually, I’m looking forward to feeling better. Bob and I have plans for our soon-to-be empty nest, and I need to feel good. (HERE is my first hospital stay).
It’s like I told my son, no matter how our hearts are broken, there are always people who are just as sad or even worse, and have no hope. At least we have hope. That’s HUGE.
But — on to the happy book signing. I had so many great blog friends stop by and see me in Birmingham. Above, is Ellen, who used to blog, but has taken a break (I hope she’ll return soon), and Ricki Jill from The Sketchy Reader, who is a new blog friend of mine and bubbled over with joy. I hope I get to spend more time with her soon.
And these lovely ladies are Emily from The French Hutch, who has the most fascinating tales of traveling the world and a knack for decorating, and Nancy, who doesn’t blog anymore, but has become a friend and is kind to ring me up when she’s visiting Fairhope so we can grab a cup of coffee. And I finally . . . finally got to meet the adorable Arlene Grimm from Nanaland. I could immediately tell she and I could spend hours together talking. I hope to see her again someday when we have more time. Doesn’t she look snazzy? I love snazzy ladies!
Here’s my sweet Birmingham family who came out to support me. Cousin Ruth, and her beautiful daughter Addison, and my Aunt Beth and Uncle Phil (and my Bob in the background who travels with me and takes good care of me). It’s good to have cheerleaders in your own clan. Uncle Phil is my Dad’s youngest brother and was in high school when I was born, so he was always fun to play with when I was little.
And here she is . . . the star of the show. I looked up, and this beautiful woman was standing in front of my table. After looking at her for about three seconds, I said, “Are you my majorette?” and she said, “Yes!” This is Vivian, or “Vicki”who is the majorette on the cover of my book — second from the right. The photo is of the Decatur High School (in Decatur, Alabama) majorettes in 1961, but Vicki now lives in Birmingham and came to meet me. She is as sparkly and Southern and charming and FABULOUS as I could have ever dreamed! Just like the girls I wrote about in my book. I was thrilled to meet her and she filled me in on all the other young ladies on the cover photo, which we licensed from The Decatur Daily News, but never dreamed we’d actually meet!
I had many new people stop by to meet me, but my favorite visitor of the day showed up early and said his name was David. He reads my column every week to his wife, who suffers from Alzheimer’s Disease, and he handed me an envelope with a clipping of a recent newspaper article of mine, and a note with a crisp $1 bill. The note explained the dollar was to pay the debt of Mrs. Adams who failed to pay me when she was distracted by my hamster who popped out to see her when she was putting money for the missionaries in my bank (read about it HERE). David said he loves my column and it brings back happy memories for him. What a kind man, to take the time to come see me and let me know these things. I got big hot tears in my eyes as I hugged him and let him know how special his visit was.
And to balance the demographics of my readers, I was thrilled at First Friday Art Walk to meet several younger fans of my book. One even said, “Mrs. Tarabella?” I thought at first it was one of my son’s friends, but he was a young husband and dad there with his wife and baby who told me how much he loves reading my articles and book. Isn’t that nice? I love nice people. They make us all feel better when life seems to be kicking us in the head.
The good news is – since I had a good turn-out of people at my signing, Barnes and Noble will now be carrying my book. Yippee!!! All you have to do is request for it to be added to the shelves . . . so — ASK! Ask and it shall be given. Thank you in advance for bugging the crud out of your local B and N store for The Majorettes are Back in Town! And by the way, this store, at The Summit, was the most beautiful, huge bookstore I’ve ever seen and the staff was awesome!
Yes, it’s been a rough few weeks, but with the sadness, there has been joy. With tears, there has been laughter. And with pain, there has been bubbling, enthusiastic joy. So goes life. So goes the learning experience of writing and marketing a book. So go the days of raising a teenager in a fallen and hurt world. Thank you Birmingham readers, and thank you to all of you who are sweet, good people. I appreciate your support, whether it is in Birmingham, or beyond.
(Now, go call your Barnes and Noble!) heheheheeee! thanks.