Rain drops trickled from the sky last Friday midday.
Sitting outside on the porch with a tomato sandwich and book, a voice called to my right. Or it might have been a voice, I wasn’t sure. In the middle of two of my favorite pastimes, I figured if someone wanted my attention, they’d make it clear.
Hearing the voice again, I looked up to see a woman on a bike.
The rider stood stride a mountain-type bike outfitted with two large red all-weather storage satchels off her seat on either side of her rear tire.
Standing face-to-face in the light rain, I thought she wanted to know where Dixie Highway was. That was an easy fix.
But the more we talked, she had just come from Dixie Highway and needed help getting to . . .
Suddenly, this became quite interesting.
She was the sweeper for a cycling group headed to the South Carolina coast. They started their journey on the west side of Atlanta. After spending last night at Hard Labor Creek (a park 10 miles from me), this leg of their journey took them to Hamburg Park in Mitchell, Georgia.
Taking out a sheet with her directions, the paper so damp it disintegrated in her hands. The extended downpour had separated her from the group but she had communicated with them by text.
Oh. And her phone was now dead.
I offered a portable charger from some conference SWAG bag. She laughed that it wouldn’t help, saying that she calls herself analog her phone is so old.
With no GPS, a disintegrating directional sheet, no phone, no idea where to go, I offered to get my bike and show her another way to Bethany Road through town.
* * *
I dashed back home through the raindrops filled with a since of urgency. I had a mission! A purpose!
Grabbing my bike, shoes, helmet, I trotted back up to the corner relieved to see my friend still waiting.
“Oh wow, you got a bike,” she said after seeing my road bike.
“Yes. She’s 10 years old. My midlife crisis.”
She laughed saying that she will be 40 in a few months, “Maybe that’s what this is?”
How was this woman going to get to Mitchell, Georgia in the rain by herself?
Riding along in the rain, I started a little small talk.
“What do you do?” I ventured.
“I’m in the energy conservation field. I work in San Fransisco with the . . ”
“YOU LIVE IN SAN FRANCISCO?”
My new friend riding a bike in the rain through the Georgia country side, lagging far behind a group heading to Mitchell, Georgia was not from Atlanta but from California. She worked installing energy effiencent lighting. She had gone to graduate school to study carpentry. Bad timing on that, she laughed with a little sigh.?
I learned that she was born in Memphis and lived all over the south and had been in San Francisco 10 years. And her 40th birthday in a few months would be spent climbing Machu Picchu.
When we got up to the highway she was to cross to get on Bethany, we dismounted.
Remembering she had no phone and disintegrating directions I said, “You need my phone number. Please call if you need anything.”
She began sorting through her packs for a paper and pen.
And pulled out a turtle.
“A turtle, NO WAY. I love turtles!” I told about me being the turtle wrangler and pulled up my twitter background.
“This is magical!” Rashida exclaimed.
Yes. Somewhere in the searching for paper, the writing of my number, squealing over shared love of turtles, we exchanged names.
So after I googled Mitchell, Georgia and found out it was an hour by car (three or four by bike she thought), Rashida packed up her turtle and road away.
* * *
Saturday I received a text from Rashida that she had met up with her group and was headed to their next stop Magnolia Springs State Park.
I hope Rashida uses that email address I gave her.
I want to find out how the journey ended. I want to ask her thoughts about the whole adventure. I want to follow her to Machu Picchu.
No phone. No twitter. No blog. I asked because she could have a killer blog.
My new hero Rashida living life. Unplugged but so very plugged in.
If I was the jealous type, I might be. Just a little.
I’ve got my bunting on. Have you?
This is a photo from my porch.
Yesterday, I was riding my bike through nearby Rutledge and took note of all the bunting displayed.
This would make the perfect blog post. Timely, local and easy.
If you want to know the unvarnished truth coating the mind of a busy person who blogs. That’s it.
So I rode down there today to capture patriotism for you this Memorial Day weekend. After perusing the vegetable transplants at the hardware store, I headed onward deep into the heart of downtown Rutledge.
The stop can.
Yes, fiddling with my filters, hopping in and out of my car.
I witnessed a quiet town’s patriotism.
Birds chirping and cars passing by on the way to other places. Other spaces.
I’m afraid that my first thought on Memorial Day is yay the motorcycles will pass the house and it will be summer!
But with the passage of time, the more I reflect on the young soldiers who never had another hot dog or waved a flag as floats ferried past on a parade route.
Those who never again watched the joy of a child playing in a sprinkler’s spray.
Never got another chance for ice cream at The Caboose.
Never again played hide-and-peek with a ballon.
Or had a chance to draft an easy peasy Memorial Day blog post.
If you live in Morgan County, if you live anywhere remotely near Morgan County —
You don’t want to miss this.
Tuesday night, April 28 at 7 p.m. the MCHS gym will be transformed into a theatrical venue for a Patriotic Fine Arts Extravaganza featuring over 600 Morgan County students grades PreK – 12.
Karisa Seymour, Morgan County Middle School Band Director, came up with the ambitious idea after seeing a event by an Avon, Indiana student fine arts program. “This performance has been in the works for over a year,” said Seymour. “It’s designed to showcase the outstanding work being taught every day in the four Morgan County schools.”
The patriotic Extravaganza will feature Pre-K through 12th grade performances including: Middle and High School Bands, Chorus, Dance, Drama, Art, R.O.T.C. and Color Guard. Special lighting and sound will transform the gym into a theatrical venue. A prism performance allows for seamless transitions without waiting for performer or set changes. One act flows into the next with entertainment positioned around the venue. A dramatic monologue might follow a swinging jazz quartet, which leads into lyrical dance. Student art banners will serve as backdrops enhancing the red, white and blue theme.
The high caliber of the system wide fine art instruction and programming not only enriches student life, it brings recognition to the schools and profits the community as a whole. MCMS Art Teacher Marjean Meadow pointed out that many Morgan County students go on to fine arts studies at the collegiate level earning degrees in all areas of: theater, dance, music, graphic and studio arts, voice, art education and architecture — just to name a few. As for long-reaching effects of the Extravaganza, Seymour hopes a dreamed-for performing art center would come a little closer to reality. “Having a state-of-the-art performing arts center would not only benefit the student population, it would allow us to bring in other quality performing and visual arts for the entire community.”
See you there!
Okay, maybe I won’t actually see you there because there are gonna be a TON of folks.
Get there early. Not like 6 a.m. early, but you can figure it out.
I cannot write of the pain of those who loved Eric Garner.
I cannot write of the anger and injustice those of African American heritage feel.
I can write of my appreciation for the civil servants dressed in blue who put their lives at risk every. single. day.
I can write that there is no doubt certain people should not be in law enforcement.
I cannot write of life or work in a high crime, impoverished environment.
I am a 51-year-old white woman. One who has received the earthly benefits of a loving home of origin and higher education.
I am what I am. I cannot change my upbringing and genetic make up more than I can change my 38 inch hips. And believe me, I’ve noodled the latter a bunch.
One blessing of age is that I know I can change the inside. My thoughts. My will.
If my thoughts change, my will changes. My heart changes.
My actions change.
I’ve never been overtly racist. I can’t imagine cruelty. I freaked out when a praying mantis somehow got stuck to a fly stick in my house. I agonized how to gingerly extract his limbs from the silver glue without dismembering his buggy frame.
Can’t be done.
We all have to fight the tidal wave of what we’ve been taught and caught over a lifetime.
Our flesh demands MINE. Our spirit knows there is a higher way.
The non-indictments of the last two weeks have once again opened the American populace and shown a malignancy deep in our tissue.
Division. Anger. Powerlessness.
Examining all sides of the issues — poverty, wealth, hopelessness, education, lack of education and so on and on.
It’s as if a huge whale beached. As much as it tore at my heart, there would be nothing in my strength, might and will that could fix things for that whale.
The only thing that would make life right is for its lumbering-on-land self to be back graceful and beautiful in the water.
That’s when it came to me.
It’s easy for me to write a check from my little account to help organizations and people. It’s an another thing to stop what I’m doing, greet someone face-to-face and meet a need.
A few weeks ago on a Monday, my son and I stopped to get gas. It was about 7 p.m., dark, cold and I still needed to figure out something for dinner. I started the pump and was getting back in the car — it was cold people — when I noticed a few lanes over a SUV with the hood up, and a guy asking the woman at the adjoining pump a question.
I bet he needs a jump crossed my mind then I sat in my car, played on my phone and got back out when the pump clicked.
Quickly I screwed the cap on the tank. Quickly because I was cold, but also because I knew that guy probably needed jump and if I saw him again — I would really feel bad if I didn’t help.
It’s not like I’m a bad person. I help lots. But it was cold. Dark. And dinner was rapidly becoming take out.
Sure enough our eyes met.
“You need a jump?” slipped from my mouth.
Relief flooded his face.
Of course he needed a jump you idiot. I quickly hopped in my car, drove it around. We talked. Got the car jumped. Said sincere good-byes. And I was only delayed about three minutes. Five minutes tops.
I say I follow Jesus. If you have read anything about him — even if you don’t believe in his deity, even if you don’t believe he was a great man or teacher — one thing you have to acknowledge about the guy is he stopped for hurting, needing people.
Lepers, mentally ill, the legalistic moralists and the hedonists. White collar criminals. Thieves. Governmental oppressors of his people. The sick. The oppressed, worn out and worn down by The Haves.
He stopped and talked to everyone.
Okay, he didn’t have email to check or a Facebook status to update but I bet there was a backlog of kitchen cabinet orders at the shop.
Surely, he would have taken the time to give a ride, pay a bill and give a jump.
* * *
A few days after helping the guy get the car started, I’m running around Ingles (our local grocery). Heading from the pasta over to the chicken broth, I looked up. There was a mountain of an African American man with a little gray shopping basket on his arm.
It’s you. We smiled.
And we embraced.
Without thinking, before words.
I asked if he’d gotten a new battery. He explained the root of troubles with the battery. Someone sold the car’s owner a battery too small for that engine so sometimes it just refuses to crank.
Working together, we can get that darned whale back in the salt water for pity’s sake.
Buy a pair of jumper cables and keep them in your car.
Once I came out with this great idea, I sent out a FB status announcing such. People signed up.
* * *
I baked for two night into the wee hours of the morning.
My recycling bucket after pie-palooza or the aftermath of a diabetic coma.
And then the fun started.
I got to deliver the pies.
* * *
I did a very, very bad thing.
Impromptu on the way to delivering first pie, I thought how cool to take a pic of everyone with their pies.
Bloggers are selfish like this. We think only of 163-views-a-month-important-selves and not about the people hanging out, relaxing on a day-before-holiday-holiday.
WARNING: The next few photos might restore your faith in humankind.
Angelina and husband, Mark: Two wonderfully, creative souls. Giving people and goat lovers. Who had come to town and looked perfect. Not surprised by crazed pie, photo lady.
Kaye and Stan: Stan looks like he stepped off the cover of GQ. Always. Hate that for him. But Kaye — one of the most beautiful women in town — had just stepped out of shower. I said throw my $5 Aeropostle sunglasses on and you’ll look fab. Okay. She doesn’t look fab as much as sexy. Meow.
Kathryn: At her chiropractor’s office. But really look at the her placement of the pie in photo. Carol Merrill is green right now, my friend.
Trevor: Just want to let Trevor know that L.L.Bean called. You and Tebow made the cover of the next catalog. Can you see Tebow eying that pie?
Kim: Most fun, gracious friend. She also has a FABULOUS new magazine Design & Build. Everyone in the building industry needs to get to know this creative visionary. Don’t make me say “I told you so.”
Elise: Chiropractic yogi. I would add she is all that is healing, generous and light. But that would be redundant. Well, what the heck? Elise is giving, loving and makes my neck much, much better.
Karisa: Giving, giving, giving with our musical youth. She is the band director for middle school. The studentz and parents adore her. Nuff said.
Lucy: As a teacher and her personal life, she looks at your child and sees the most unique, masterpiece created. Nuff said.
Terri and Roy: Two of the biggest Georgia Bulldogs you’ll ever meet. But that’s okay because they have two of the biggest hearts. Terri survived five days a week with my daughter as her 3-year-old Preschool Teacher. And she still bought two pies. Nuff said.
Dana: When she heard I was saving pop tops for the Ronald McDonald House, hundreds if not thousands appeared at my door. She and Aubie parent a blended family of four girls. Effortlessly. Or at least it looks that way. Thanks for always thinking of RMH.
Sarge: When I put the call out about the pecan pies, Sarge suggested a swap. One of my pies for a pumpkin roll. And so we did. Okay, I’ll admit it. I’m glad we did.
Katie: No. I don’t have a picture of Katie with her pie because Tebow ate her pie. Well, half of her pie. Even I knew enough not to give Katie a half-eaten pie with doggie spit on it. She donated anyway. She’ll get two pies for Christmas.
Debbie: She bought two pies and I delivered them Tuesday. Before I thought of taking pics. Thanks so much xoxo
How much did this Pie-palooza raise?
Are you sitting down?
If you are standing in some Black Friday checkout line, lock your thigh muscles to steady yourself.
Grand total RMHC Pie-paloosa . . .
So all you pie-eating-people raised 37 nights (over a month of nights) for families who can’t afford the $15 per night RMH fee.
Giving those pies out felt like I was in the middle of a Frank Capra movie.
For those of you who don’t know who Frank Capra is think Quentin Tarantinolight.
That’s a joke. Just google him. (Frank Capra not Quentin Tarantino)
Watching the checkout girl ring up my lunch and salad ingredients, the old me would have pulled a nail to my mouth but the new go-with-the-flow entertainer me loved this. No pressure at all. Just enjoy my friends.
Got home. Opened door and warmly greeted said friends, then buzzed into the kitchen to start my salad.
Stopped to put sunflowers in vase. Unloaded my groceries. Refereed children fighting in front of company.
Then remembered I must start the broccoli salad so it could chill by lunch.
That’s when I looked for the ingredients.
No bacon. No Miracle Whip, no potato salad. The potato salad was for people who didn’t like spur-of-the-second broccoli salad.
Leaving a bag at the store. Major Martha Stewart fail.
Trying to do more than my God-given allotment of hosting-people-with-food genetics. This last minute broccoli salad was a risk but thought I could pull it together — calmly — like my sister who entertains hundreds while darting away in five minute intervals to complete her clients’ tax returns.
I could use mayo instead of Miracle Whip. Ditch the bacon. But I needed the potato salad for those who didn’t like broccoli (but not for my husband who won’t come with in 10 feet of either).
Back to the store.
I figured best approach was to go the cashier.
“Did I leave a bag of things when I was here?” No recognition whatsoever.
We talked about the beautiful day. I thought we had bonded.
“There’s no bag here. Try the service desk.”
I made my way to the counter and peered up at the assistant manager. ‘I got home without my potato salad.” And then I pulled the desperation card. “I’ve got people at my home waiting for lunch.”
He looked all around and found nothing but a bag containing a box of frozen corn.
“Just go get what you need.”
I smiled my best forlorn grin in thanks and grabbed the items and headed home.
Entering the kitchen — that’s when I saw them. The lost Miracle Whip and bacon sitting on my counter. Then I opened my refrigerator to find the potato salad.
People. I’m crazy.
I calmly made my salad all the while thinking that I really shouldn’t attempt walking and talking at the same time. Way too much cognitive function needed.
With the salad done, I walked into the room with my company and said, “The good news is that the salad is made. The bad news is that I found the lost items and have to take them back to the store.”
To which my husband broke into Bon Jovi’s “It’s My Life.” A reference to my superior organization habits over the course of 25 years of marriage.
Back at the store, I walked up to the assistant manager. “I know everyday you have a crazy person to deal with and today it’s me.”
He replied, “Oh no. We deal with lots of crazy people everyday.” Smiling, he offered to re-shelve my items.
Ever had a day when you’re the crazy person at the grocery store?