I wanted to have a pity party for myself today.(Saturday) So many writers I know are in Asheville for the Fall Conference with Lee Smith and Kathryn Stripling Byer plus many other great presenters, but I am home with Lexie, my puppy. She is not the reason I didn’t drive the two hours to get there, but she has made staying home much more pleasant and the main reason I didn’t throw myself a pity party.
The fact is, I had a bit of a trauma the last trip I made alone. I locked myself out of the vacation home where I was staying and locked my car keys and my cell phone inside the house. To make matters worse, it was raining.
There I sat, my car half-packed to go home, trying to think of something I could do to get attention to my plight. But the only house I could see that was near enough to hear my horn blowing was totally empty. Far away, I could see a house with two cars parked in front. To get to that house, I had to walk down a steep, leaf-covered driveway to the main road. Then I would have to walk further downhill and then uphill again to reach the house. When I say hill, I mean steep inclines in the mountains of the high country just off the Blue Ridge Parkway.
I have trouble walking on flat land with my ailing feet and back, but I had to give it a try. I draped a blanket over my head to protect me from the light rainfall, and began my trek on the slippery leaves, praying that I would not fall and break my hip or leg. I would not let myself think about the consequences if that happened.
When I finally reached the asphalt road, I turned left and continued downward hoping that someone would come by in a vehicle and give me a ride. I trudged along until, through the silence, I heard something and turned to look back. Far above me I recognized the sound of a motorized vehicle. Then I saw it. A white pickup truck was winding its way down from the top of the mountain. I turned to face it and began waving my arms up and down, then out in front of me, hoping he would stop. I was afraid I looked loony and perhaps the driver would just go on past not wanting to get involved with someone walking in the rain with a blanket over her head.
But the truck slowed and the window lowered. I saw a clean cut man looking at me with alarm.
“Are you alright?” he asked. “Can I help you?”
“Yes, please,” I said. “I locked myself out of the house where I was staying and I have no car keys and no cell phone.”
“What can I do? Do you want me to try to get in the house?”
“I need to call the rental company and get them to bring me a key.”
“Oh. OK, come and get in the truck and you can use my phone.”
His name was Tom and he was such a gentleman. He turned up the heat afraid I was cold, and he looked up the name of the rental company before calling them and handing me the phone. They said it would cost me twenty-five dollars for them to bring me the key even though I told them I had no car. Tom told the rental company he would take me to get the key.
Tom drove me about twenty miles to the rental company and then returned me to the house. On the way over and back I learned that he was a retired police officer from Dade County, FL. He and his wife had lived in the area full time for about ten years. He looked after a few vacation homes.
I also learned that I was very lucky that morning because Tom had been up on the mountain installing a humidifier in a house for someone who, like all the people who were there for the summer, had gone back to winter in Florida.
“I don’t know if there would have been anyone else coming down today,” he said. “I think everybody is already gone.”
I had not had breakfast and I am diabetic so my blood sugar had fallen quite low and I felt awful. As soon as I retrieved my car keys and my handbag, I headed out to a restaurant a few miles away. I did not start home until nearly 2:00 p.m.
The stress of the morning took a toll on me and the physical stress of packing my car caused a flare-up of fibromyalgia which left me exhausted and in pain. I made it to Asheville where I stayed overnight. A good night’s rest helped me feel better the next day for the drive home.
Since then, I have had second thoughts of traveling alone. Also, I have had other health problems in the past few weeks that caused me to wonder if going for a weekend conference might be a little more stressful and difficult than it was in the past. Maybe I should stay closer to home, take advantage of the many opportunities that are nearby, and be able to sleep in my own bed at night.
Today was a dreary, dark day. That made it easier to enjoy being home where I could cuddle up with Lexie, read and write. But she has no clue about my writing. She thinks she can curl up on my chest and sleep while I sit in front of my computer. I cannot type with one hand, and it takes one hand to hold her so she won’t fall off.
I moved my desktop computer to my dining room table so she and I can be in the same room together. She is into chewing right now and if I don’t watch her every minute, she will chew computer wires, the legs of my table, and anything she finds on a table. Yes, she is like a monkey, up on chairs, walking on tables and running from one room to another unless I keep doors shut.
Tonight she is finally asleep in her crate where she is very happy. And that makes me happy. So this weekend at home was not too bad after all. Now I will look forward to the Blue Ridge Writers’ Conference in BlueRidge, GA in April. That one is close to me and I always enjoy going there.
|Blue Ridge Writers' Conference a few years ago. Seated: Janice Townley Moore, poet, Left to right, Joan Howard, Brenda Kay Ledford, Mary Ricketson, poets and all members of NCWN-West and Diana, also a writer|