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Saturday, October 29, 2011


I have to tell you about Thursday.  It was such a memorable day and one filled
with smiles.  I was excited and nervous.  A friend of mine had suggested I speak
at the Marked Tree Library and they were kind enough to invite me to come and
read my Children’s book, The Pumpkin Field.  If I thought about it too long, the
idea that it takes only minutes to read the whole story would cause me to worry. 
What I have always loved is how the children open up and we talk.  I love the way
it seems to open many conversations and ideas from so many of them.  What if this
time they sat silently?  They do not know me.  What if….and I began to get a bit
That thought came long before Thursday.  My husband just smiled and reassured
me that it has always been a lot of fun.  The children always have talked with me
and always will.  He said that was part of why he loved the book so much.

I laughed and told him, “If that is part, then you might want to tell me another part. 
I have always been able to connect with the children.  I could feel their excitement,
apprehension, questions and so many things.  When people say to see through the
eyes of a child, I can feel with them in the little story.  I wrote it on purpose to try
to be able to reach out with it and do more than just tell a story.  I want it to be able
to reach out and let them to see more than they could before I read it and we talked.  
 What if all it is turns out to be, is a story about some Pumpkins?”

He started to laugh.  I did not think it was funny at all.  “You can worry all you want,
but in twenty years it has never failed.  You have always had as much fun as they do
and get into the story.  You can worry about it now, but afterwards you will be saying
what a good time you had.  I would bet on it.”

“It’s not that I want to worry…it’s just that I want this to be special for the kids.  I don’t
know if there will be
many that even show up.  If there are even a couple, we could have a good time.  This
little book has helped so many little ones and even bigger ones with some problems in life
as well as have fun.  When I talk about it it seems a lot to expect from a little story but I
do.  I want it to be special.  So many people have worked to make it happen and publicized
it.  I want it to be the best that I can do.  That brings me to my other worry.  I have
been feeling so bad.  It is scary how tired I am.  What if…..?????”

His response was immediate and no longer laughing.  “No one..NO ONE would blame
you if you can not do this.  They will understand.  If you feel like you can’t do it all you
have to do is say.”

As he was speaking he was looking closely assessing color, circles and how I looked. 
I mentioned that the children were all going to wear their costumes.  I had thought
about going as a witch but had nothing to wear.  I used to have a great outfit but
after so many steroids through the years the weight gain has been subhuman. 

He smiled and takes things in stride.  “We can go to town and get a witches hat.  
 You put on a little makeup and just have a good time.”

We went to town and the manager of the store we stopped at is a friend and
neighbor.  She mentioned that she had a hat at the house I could use.  It has
some grey hair on it but should work out all right.  I got some makeup but did
not like it as much as what I used to have.

When we got home I got started getting ready.  The make up did not look as I
wanted it to.  I used to have some that had a consistency allowing me to use the
chalk pastels and I could make a human face look just like the one in the book.  I
just thought of it as another art project but nothing seemed to work.  Albert laughed
and said I looked witchy enough to scare him so it was time to go.  We had to go to
the elementary school and pick up our grandson.  He was going to go with us.

When he and his Papaw got to the truck he did not get in.  He stood by the open
door staring at me.  “Come on and get in.  We have a long way to go.  What are
you waiting for?”

He looked so serious.  “Papaw, is that really Mamaw?  What happened to her?”

The frown and look on his face was priceless.  Albert leaned down closer to him
and they both stared at me.  “She sure is a sight isn’t she?  Kind of looks like a witch. 
She has makeup on.  That is all it is ….. a little makeup.”  Albert and I both had to
laugh but Zander was still checking me out before he climbed in.

I was nervous but we had left in plenty of time.  I did not know how long it would take
to check him out or drive and did not want to be late.  We arrived very early.  We made
it to Marked Tree and decided to go by the store and try to get some BC powders. 
They help me a lot.  I waited in the truck.  I do have portable oxygen but it still is
heavy for me to carry around and I tired easily.  I noticed many people who came
and went into the store staring at me with such odd expressions on their faces. 
None of them smiled and if I nodded or smiled they looked away and hurried on. 
I forgot about the make up.  I did not have the hat on and had completely forgotten
what my face must look like sitting there.  Now it makes me laugh.  Think of the
things they might tell about some strange old lady they saw at the store.
We stopped by and got Zander some chicken nuggets to munch on.  He loves those. 
I received the same odd looks there and it was Albert that clued me in.  “You worried
about if your make up was good enough and it sure seems to be turning some heads
so far.”

When we got to the library it was the same way.  I did attract some looks.  When I
went in I thought I would try to make a few copies of the coloring pages for the children.  
The people there at the library were so warm and welcoming.  The smile and greetings
meant so much to me.  I still did not know what I would say after I read the story.  It
was too late to worry and I did want to do the best that I could.  These people were so
nice.  I mentioned the coloring pages and that I did not know how many to make so I
made a few and then shared the file with the library so they could use it anytime they wanted. 

The friend of mine that had suggested this adventure arrived early too.  Now, I would
like to fully describe Carol Dabney, but there just are not the words to do her justice. 
She is such a sincere person who is a delight to be around.  She not only reaches out
helping others but she has such enthusiasm and excitement that she shared those things
as well as such talent.  She began to talk and sing to the children and they were delighted
and happily joining in.  You could see the bond and affections shared.

I was tired and sat down in a chair by the front surrounded by some fantastic
decorations.  They had done a lot of work and beautifully prepared with Halloween
decorations, posters and many things Pumpkin.  I had on my hat so I thought I
would fit right in.

Something that amazed and delighted me began to happen.  It made me smile then
and I am smiling now as I share this with you.  People were asking if they could
have their children’s pictures taken with the author.  They seemed proud when
asked if they would allow their photos to be used by the library and author and
eagerly agreed.  There was soon a line of people waiting to get their pictures taken
with me.  Each and everyone was so precious.  Some looked a little leery of the old
woman who resembles a witch…me.  Other children smiled with delight or glanced
shyly at me but we had fun.

When the time arrived that Carol announced and introduced me I was on…..I sat
down and my grandson was nearby to help.  In no time I was into the story and
sharing it with the children.  One child began to cry and for a moment I felt such
panic.  I had always tried to make the story real and put a lot into reading it.  Had
I made this little one cry?  Had I caused real fear?  That would be terrible and for
the moment I felt speechless.  There is a big difference between a good scary story
that has you wide eyed and listening to every word and one that has instilled real fear.

In the moments that followed the story was on it’s way.  The children were wonderful.  
It was such a special time.  After I finished reading we talked about many things. 
We talked about how we might get scared when we go out in the dark of night and
see shadows.  I asked them if it really was dark at night and all of them were so
serious answering that it was dark…very dark at night.  I smiled and asked if they
had ever noticed how beautiful the moon can be and how the stars sparkle like
diamonds all across the sky.  Things are not always as they seem even in life and
the things that cause us the most fear are….the things we do not understand.  I
went on explaining that the more we learn the less we have to fear.  I even asked
if getting good grades was important in school.  When I asked that I had parents
and children agreeing with me.  I went on to explain that what they learned was
more than a grade today…it is a gift for their whole future and all of their life ahead. 
Every word that they learn to read can open a whole world for them.  We talked
about all of the things we can learn and enjoy from books and that brought us to
spelling words.  Every word they learn to spell could be a word they use to write
their own books.  They will be used in more ways than they can count even if
they are very good a math.  We talked about many things and it was wonderful. 
They had smiling faces, serious looks and it was so special.

 At the end of my part, my grandson was standing beside me and I explained that
the next book I wrote for children was going to be one that was Zander’s idea. 
That would make it our book and we would write it together.  We already have
it started.  I explained what he had told me.  “Mamaw, you know how at the end
of the story it asks if it was a dream?  Well, it was not a dream.  It was real weather
others believe in it or not.  An there is more.  When he got past and through the
Pumpkin Field there was a path that lead into the woods and he finds all kinds of
things.  He even gets lost and the scarecrow helps him find his way out.  And
there is one other thing that is real important.  One of those pumpkins that acts
like it is his friend is not as nice as he thinks.”  I can not wait to do the whole book. 
When I tell about writing a book with a six year old co-author some might think it
is crazy or a lie but this is going to be great.

Each and every person that I met was so special.  I thank them all for giving me
such a wonderful gift as this day shared.  I want to thank the library for all that
they did and the awesome preparations they and Carol had done.  I was feeling
tired, very tired.  The day they had planned was not over.  They had cake, icecream,
punch and more for the children and all who were there.  They had prizes and gifts
and it was a day we will always remember.  I signed some books for some of the
people and talked to so many.  It was a wonderful day.  It is just a little story but
it has a wonderfully big reach.  I hope it reaches out to inspire, enlighten and allow
others to think and share thoughts, emotions, hopes and fears, dreams and joys to come.








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