Sunday, February 28, 2016

Not a typical Saturday . . .

My camera died.

It died on our way home from the beach.

My much loved Canon G12 that I bought myself as a retirement gift in January 2011.

That camera has walked out the door with me practically every day since I bought it.

So.  Today we went by Ball Photography in Asheville to drop it off for repair, but ended up not leaving it after all.  The initial repair quote was waaay higher than I anticipated, and that was only an estimate with a possibility of it being even a good bit higher.

This will take a little consideration.

Do you put that much money into a camera, buy a new camera - upgrade to a better camera?  What to do, what to do???

Then as we were leaving, a man pulled up next to us and asked us to stop.

He told us he had noticed the bad scrap on the side of the car that I did in the Lowe's Food parking lot several months ago.

He was traveling around with his auto body repair tools in his car after giving up his shop he'd had for several years.  Now just working out of his car doing body repairs.

I have to tell you.  This was all very odd.

I mean . . .

Think about it.

Long story short (well, as short as I can make one, anyway), we listened.  We ended up talking to this man for a pretty good while.  The longer we talked, the less cynical we found ourselves feeling.

He just didn't "feel" like a con man.


He followed us to where we were headed after giving us a price for the repair.  An excellent price.

Where we were headed was to the Harley-Davidson dealership.  He knew exactly where that was, met us there and did the repair.  Did a fine job too!  But not as good as he had thought he could do and was disappointed in the finished job.  Because of this, he only charged us half of what he had quoted us.

Frankly.  I was stunned by all this.

This whole experience just felt surreal.

But.  It was as real as real is.

This was a very nice man who obviously takes a great deal of pride in his work.

I have no idea what the story is behind why he's now doing what he's doing out of his car rather than out of the shop he once owned.

I suspect it's economy related.

Or,you know, maybe his partner robbed him of his share of the business.  Or maybe his ex-wife got the business in the divorce.  Or maybe he drank and gambled it all away.

Or maybe he was just tired of the hassle of running a business and decided to work out of his car.

Who knows??


He did a good job.  We insisted he take money for the original quote he gave us  rather than the half he now said was all the repair was worth - not as well done as he thought he could do it.

I've worried a little over this man most of the day.

But, you know.  He may be doing just exactly what he wants to be doing.  So I need to quit fretting over every soul I meet.

Next thing that happened is Donald and I looked at Harley Davidson motorcycles.

The salesman was the nicest guy you ever could hope to meet.

No hard sales talk.

Just honest answers to questions we asked.

We both liked him.

Donald and I are both turned off by a hard sales pitch and have walked out on many a sale over the years because of it.

And, we ended up walking out this time too.

Not  because of Danny, our salesperson, but because of the person who had the job of making the final decision on the negotiating.

And this guy was, as I told, Danny - a prick.

So.  We left.

We drove around.  We went for coffee.  We went to an antique mall.

And we talked.

We talked about Harleys.

Donald Barley and I have been together for over 30 years.

When I first met him,one of the first conversations I remember us having was about motorcycles and how much he loved them.

And I told him about the two friends I had lost on motorcycles.

I guess I thought Don's love for bikes would die.  You know - sort of like how most teenage girls go through their horse phases?  But outgrow them?

Like that.


That's not what happened.

Donald has looked at, lusted after, and wanted a motorcycle forever.

And you know what?

Life is short.

I finally came to the realization that I was just wrong.  Who am I to say "NO.  You cannot have a motorcycle??"  I'm his partner.  He's 61 years old.  He doesn't need me acting like I'm his mom.  I'm his wife.

Life is short.

It's very, very short.

Why should he be denied the only thing I've ever heard him really say he wanted.


We went back to the Harley place.

Back to talk to Danny.

I left all this to Donald while Harley and I sat in the car and played on Facebook.

And, now . . .

We're proud owners of a brand new Harley Davidson Switchback Motorcycle.

Now here's the truth.

I will die 100 deaths every time he leaves the house on that bike until he returns.


You know what?

I almost lost him a few years ago to a heart attack.

Didn't have a thing to do with a motorcycle.

Today while he was looking at bikes, I remembered that day.  And I thought to myself how very, very sad it would have been if he had died that day without ever having had the Harley he so dearly wanted.

That's not what our lives should be.

We shouldn't worry about dying on a motorcycle.

We should enjoy the hell out of being on the road feeling free riding the bike we were meant to ride.

And that's what I want him to do.

And I hope he does it until he dies of old age asleep next to me in bed.

In the meantime  - -   Life is short.  Let's live it.  And Lord a Mercy - let me quit suffocating the people I care about with my frettin' and worrying.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Where I'll be . . .

On Sunday, February 28 at 3:00, I'll be joining Nancy Dillingham, Celia Miles (editors and contributors) along with other contributors to the latest anthology from women authors of Western North Carolina.

If you're in the Asheville, NC area, I hope you'll drop by Malaprop's Books to help us celebrate the release of "It's All Relative: Tales from the Tree."

Rob Neufeld writes in the Citizen-Times “there’s a shadowy, down-to-earth and at times magical quality to the telling that makes the collection striking and significant.”

It’s All Relative: Tales from the Tree

Pundits have a penchant for comparing families to food…

Best-selling author, columnist, and Pulitzer Prize winner Anna Quindlen proclaims:

“In the family sandwich the older people and the younger ones can recognize one another as the bread. Those in the middle are, for a time, the meat.”

Journalist and social activist Letty Collin Pogrebin says:

“If the family were a fruit, it would be an orange, a circle of sections, held together but inseparable—each segment distinct.”

An old Chinese proverb cautions: “Govern a family as you would cook a fish—very gently.”

Another puts it more succinctly: “Family are like fudge— mostly sweet with a few nuts.”

In this smorgasbord of family stories, essays, and poems, you can nibble on a nugget, munch on a morsel, or gobble down a whole meal.

Celia H. Miles and Nancy Dillingham have edited three previous anthologies of regional women writers: Christmas Presences from 45 WNC Women Writers, Clothes Lines from 75 WNC Women Writers and Women’s Spaces Women’s Places from 50 WNC Women Writers.

If you're interested in buying "It's All Relative," or any of the earlier anthologies, click here.  

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Winter at the Beach

Donald and Harley and I try to get to Topsail Island every year.

This year we packed our bags and headed east a little earlier than usual.

First time we've been in February, but probably it won't be our last.

It was snowing and blowing in Boone.

Harley is a cold weather dog.  Like his mom, he's not too fond of the heat and humidity.

But even Harley was getting weary of the snow.

The whole Barley crew was happy when it was time to get into that car and head to the beach.

It just so happened, it was Donald's birthday.

And we spent part of the day with Joe and Margaret Maron.

You don't leave the Maron home without feeling as though you've been wined, dined and celebrated - even if it's not your birthday.  The fact that it was Donald's made it even more special.

The second day of vacation was Valentine's Day, so we celebrated it too.

Now, I'm here to tell you.  It may not have been snowing at the beach, but it was damned cold when we got there.  And that little rental house?  Brrrrrrrrr!!!!!  We piled blankets and quilts and comforters till we were finally warm.  We couldn't move under all those blankies, but we were warm, by golly!

Thankfully, the weather warmed up and the heat pump started catching up so the rest of the week,while it was chilly, was gorgeous.


It is, after all, February. 


So, we took February type clothes.

Harley was, I think, in heaven.

He loves the beach, but usually it's a good bit warmer while we're there, so he's ready to go back inside pretty quickly.

Boy, not this trip.

And - there were hardly any other hardy souls there, so we had our part of the beach pretty much to ourselves.

That meant we were able to be a little more lenient than usual with the leash.

So.  Here's some pictures for you to enjoy.

Some of your favorite little Corgi having a ripping good time. 

Some pictures of one of the most beautiful beaches you'll ever hope to see.

The cute little house we rented.

And, a few of me and Donald dressed appropriately for February on the beach.

Well, you know, I never really thought about faux fur being beachwear, but I cannot even begin to tell you how much fun it was wearing fake fur and tennis shoes while searching for shells.  It was something entirely new for this gal.  I liked it.  <insert very big grin>

We had a mix of weather while we were there.

Freezing cold.


Milder still.


Beautiful blue skies.


Gray foggy days.

Calm sea.

Rough and choppy waves.

In other words  -  a typical week.

We were outside most of the time.  If not walking on the beach, then sitting on the deck.

If not on the deck, then in the sunroom.

But when we were sitting in the living room we could still see, and hear, the waves.


Pure Heaven.

If you haven't read Rick Bragg's "My Southern Journey" yet - run pick it up!!

Sometimes we had to come inside to rest and take naps.

Or decide which book to read next

We also had to leave the house once in awhile.

Like to go visit my favorite tree

Or go shop at one of my favorite book stores in the whole world - Quarter Moon Books

I never leave Quarter Moon without one of their mugs - Thank you, Lori!!

Now do you believe me?  I told you it was fun wearing fake fur at the beach while seeking out shells

Look at this very cool Sea Bisquit I found!  A first for me.

Besides beach walking and naps, we also did a little shopping.

together and separately.

Donald's not too big on hitting some of the boutiques so I did that on my own.

He did the Harley-Davidson place on his own.

But he didn't buy anything

And there was food - always food

and coffee!

and more beach walks

and more deck time

and more reading

and more naps

See y'all!

Till next time . . .