Thursday, September 12, 2013


The bride wore red tennis shoes.  And she was running down the street, as genteel as a bride who is running down the street in a long wedding gown and veil, clutching a bouquet and her groom, followed by outfitted groomsmen, can run.  The groom had a ball cap on, backwards.  And they were very young.

Not as young as the crowd gathered on the steps of the tiny Carnegie Library, cheering on the wedding party.  We call them the "Wa-Wa's," the junior high age group new to all the experiences in life, enjoying every activity with noise and abandonment.

 I had just pulled up to the curb on one of the tight roads of this quaint and quirky little village, one of my favorite places in the world.  The town is full of windy roads, some of them hanging on to the edge of the cliff sides in this hilly metropolis.  Parallel parking places are a premium.  The narrow roads are carved out like canyons between the city buildings and the Victorian homes built in another century when carriages and wagons brought folks here for the healing springs.

I jumped out of the car, grabbing my camera and got some shots.  This was my daily sojourn to the public library for internet service.  I was in the right place and the right time, in more ways than one.

This was just a few days into my "writing sabbatical" which almost everyone within shouting distance had heard me talking about for over a month.  A clever idea, I devised on a bleak, cold January day to help me keep my sanity.

The idea of a grown woman getting in a car and driving to a destination of her choosing is no big shocker.  Afterall, I had driven to my homeland and  taken weekend trips with friends.  I love to drive.  But this was the very first time in my life that I had driven off to spend time all by myself, without friends or relatives.  I think of myself as an independent woman but I lived in dorms or at home during college and got married and moved away without ever living in an apartment or supporting myself.  Those are just the facts. Now at fifty-ish I wanted to spend time on my writing.

The perfect location was procured, the lists were checked and doubled checked. Burt was very supportive, one reason being that we both knew my favorite place well - we spent our honeymoon there, subsequent anniversaries (one with a bonus) and other trips throughout the years.  He helped me pack.  I left on Sunday afternoon after church, for two weeks.  (I kept thinking about "a two hour tour.")

My adrenalin always picks up when I drive into these city limits.  I pulled up to the little house where I would be spending my sabbatical.  When I got out of my car, I felt like I was going to bust.  I have driven thousands of miles on other trips to exciting places but this was my trip.  Two weeks for my writing, an affirmation of my renewed belief that I was supposed to be a writer.  I was a writer, whether I was successful or not.  This was a big part of who I was and despite being sidetracked, by the fun things life had thrown my way, this necessity had never gone away.  Time to get with it.

I unloaded the car, set up my printer and found a perfect writing spot for my laptop, an old antique box in front of the sofa.  The one room cottage was as picture perfect as promised and charming in the fashion of this popular bed and breakfast mecca where uniqueness, artistic freedom and spiritual enlightenment mesh together harmoniously.  I met the manager, ordered pizza from a watering hole up the street where I could occasionally hear laughter, and spent my first evening in my little house, gleefully happy.

An unexpected red glow greeted me very early on my first morning.  Even though I had pulled every blind and drawn every curtain, the myriad of wood framed, single-paned glass making up the front wall, burned brighter and brighter once the sunrise fell on the red silk curtains.  This was not a problem because I love windows.  The former carriage house, turned cottage, was one large room, with a bed in one corner and the kitchen area on the opposite corner.  The rest of the room was the living area with a sofa, the antique coffee table, a desk, a television, a fireplace and assorted chairs.  Each side had three large windows (photo in part 2)  A modern bath had been built in a lean-to at the back of the place.

I had not made my journey to stay in bed all day.  One prerequisite of this particular spot was the ability to easily walk up to town and not have to worry with finding a parking place.  This was the week before Easter and the shops that closed during winter were beginning to open up for the tourists season.  My location was perfect except for the four flights of stairs I had to climb up to get to street level.  At that point, I was within easy walking distance.  After spending the bulk of the morning leisurely strolling in and out of artists' galleries looking at jewelry, paintings, glass and metal sculptures, I walked back home with one or two small purchases, a special bar of soap and some peppermint fudge from a favorite candy shop.  I would have two weeks to finish my shopping.

During the coarse of the previous evening, I discovered the lighting was on the dim side, especially for any writing or computer work.  I have a strong relationship with good lighting.  There is a great and extensive local grocery store where we always pick up any groceries we might need.  I had already been on Sunday, after my arrival, and had the supreme necessities of Coca-Cola, coffee, milk, orange juice, bread, apples, eggs, butter and the next level of items required for the hard work of writing and television watching - the week of the Royal Wedding.  M&M's, Wheat Thins, Mint Milano Cookies, Cinnamon Rolls and Peanut Butter.

But I knew I would have to go in search elsewhere for my much needed lighting.  I couldn't take two weeks of dark nights.

The Bride Wore Red Tennis Shoes  (Part 2) A continuation of a "normal" getaway

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