“Get out of your head and get into your heart. Think less, feel more.” ~ Osho
This is Ruth’s dad, Bill (left). I had the pleasure of meeting Bill some years ago at one of Stacy’s NYE parties. He’s a kind man of quiet intelligence and gentle smile. At Ruth’s tea yesterday, Bill made friends with this lovely gentleman, whose name I don’t recall (because I can’t remember anyone’s name – ever). They talked for a very long time. For me, there’s something touching about two elders trading stories. We should all be so lucky to age with a friend.
“Beginnings are usually scary and endings are usually sad.
It’s everything in between that makes life worth living ”
~ Bob Marley
Michelle Shute, whom you met back in 2012 and again in 2013, came to town a few days ago. Her friendship has enriched my life repeatedly. Over the past 25 +/- years she has turned me on to more great music and books than anyone I know save for Stacy. Little wonder they’re great friends, then. I happen to be the lucky recipient of their good tastes.
Michelle has been without a car for four years. That changed this week when Stacy gave Michelle her old car, Goose (pictured here). Stacy keeps things for decades, and they always look and work like new because she’s extreme in her care. Looking at Goose you’d never guess she’s nearly 17 years old. It was as if Stacy was handing Michelle a brand new car. When I first met Michelle she drove a red car, so it’s fitting she is once more in the saddle of a red ride. Stacy, meanwhile, wins the good samaritan award of the year, and rightfully so. She changed Michelle’s life, providing her freedom that many of us take for granted. Imagine how hard it would be to live your life if you were dependent on others to get around. That’s been Michelle’s life of late.
I have two great people in my life who love and adore one another and that makes me rich beyond measure.
“The secret to living well and longer is: eat half, walk double, laugh triple and love without measure.”
~ Tibetan Proverb
There’s something about JC that dad is instinctively drawn to. I don’t know if it’s his laugh, his all-boy ways, his sweet smile, or what, but when dad sees JC there’s no one else in the room. Last Saturday, we gathered at Tony and Charlene’s for what I call Thanksgiving Part 2 (Uncle Tony called it Cowboy Chili and Soup). More of the family was there than formal Thanksgiving, and that’s a pretty good achievement. The kids had two acres to run around on in stunningly perfect weather, but JC took time out of his heavy play date to hug his buddy, Shorty. The two of them together warm my heart.
“Never. Ever. Ever. Get rid of the desire to climb a tree or run through the sprinklers.” ~ Unknown
I can’t believe how lucky I am. Rod and Diane Rickey came to Lexington and I got to have dinner with them! I can hardly stop smiling.
Diane is opening a frame shop in Tahlequah. When the idea was bubbling to the surface I told her about master framers Mike and Letha Drury of South Hill Gallery. Last year she and Rod began to build a beautiful space for the frame shop. Then – boom – I got a phone call that they were in town to pick Mike and Letha’s brains. Diane’s dream is coming true, and it couldn’t happen to a nicer person. Meanwhile, Rod beams with pride.
I cannot begin to express how happy I was to see Rod and Diane. It was a big deal for them to be here, and I appreciate so much that they think enough of me to spend a couple of hours over a nice meal. Being in their presence has always brought me joy in abundance. They are two of the most creative and genuinely kind people I know. I’m eternally grateful.
“Though no one can go back & make a brand new start,
anyone can start from now & make a brand new ending.”
~ Carl Bard
You haven’t met Mary Vance for no other reason than she hates to have her picture taken. Hates it. Throws a fit about it sometimes. I don’t know why since she’s a beautiful person inside and out. This picture, however, is so full of joy that you just have to meet Mary because I love her so much and I love this picture. Mary is married to one of dad’s first cousins, Vernon. We moved next door to them at Malone when I was only three, and we stayed there until we moved to Arizona when I was ten. It was the best childhood I could have ever asked for. Mary already had three kids, her youngest is three years older than me, but she fed me more times than I can remember, and treated me like one of her own. You can tell she and my mother are still the best of friends nearly 50 years later. To say Mary Dryman Vance was hugely influential in my life would be an understatement. I will be forever grateful to her for all she did for me and my family. She is one of the brightest stars in my world.
Your present circumstances don’t determine where you can go; they merely determine where you start.
~ Nido Qubein
Today was the much anticipated Kentucky Field Trip with our IFLA guests. We wanted to give them a good overview of how beautiful and awesome The Bluegrass State can be. What better way than Keeneland and Buffalo Trace Distillery? Bright and early we loaded up the UK bus (with our awesome driver, Sarah) and off to Keeneland we went. Becky Ryder, Director of the Keeneland Library and local committee member, met us there (as did Ruth Bryan, Kazuko Hioki, and Michael Lütgen who drove themselves). She treated our guests to a delicious Kentucky style breakfast. Judy Sackett even tried gravy and biscuits for the first time…and she liked it! Our guests were then treated to a tour of the track, the grounds, and the sales pavilion. It was a beautiful thing to see their eyes light up watching the horses train, and the excitement when one of the outriders stopped by for a chat was just so special. My heart swelled with pride. Except for the oppressive humidity, it was as close to perfect weather as we could ever hope for.
We could have spent a lot more time at Keeneland. The tour guides were incredibly engaging and the ladies especially loved the gift shop, but Buffalo Trace was waiting on us, so we loaded up the bus and off we went again. This is where the story gets good. My contacts up to this point were not the people who met me at the visitor center as expected. Instead, the Distillery Archivist (whose name I have sadly forgotten) and a man named Art met me at the door. When I asked for my contacts, Art simply said, “I’ll be doing your tour.” It was a bit odd, but I was okay with it because I could tell right away he was a cool dude. We soon found out how lucky we were that Art was our tour guide. He was the most entertaining tour guide I’ve ever had. We had a ton of laughs – and that was before the samples – but we learned a great deal, too, not just about bourbon but the general history of the area. I might also add that the now-forgotten-named archivist was great as well.
Art really showed off our Kentuckian sense of humor to our guests (a point of personal pride for me). Truly, he was a load of fun, and when it came time for the samples, he shared with us their White Dog brand. It’s essentially alcohol (something ridiculous like 170 proof) before it’s aged to become bourbon. He poured some in their hands mostly to smell, although a few did taste it. Their reactions ranged from “that’s not so bad,” to, “Oh my God, I tasted it!” followed by a contorted face. In any case, a gentle rubbing of the hands produced the smell of bread caused by a chemical reaction of the alcohol on skin and oxygen (I think). Everyone then had a chance to sample a couple of their more popular brands, as well as root beer and bourbon chocolate made by Ruth Hunt Candies, another Kentucky staple. By the time we left Buffalo Trace, everyone was tired but completely happy. We could not have planned a better representation of the Commonwealth. My heart was bursting with pride and joy.
That brings me back to where the story gets good. This is Art with IFLA participant and US Government Docs librarian Cynthia Etkin from Virginia. I had the pleasure of getting to know Cindy yesterday when we lunched with Reinette Jones. She’s a warm hearted, open soul who was so happy to be with us and learn about all the good – and troubling – things going on in the world of news media preservation. She had lived and worked in Kentucky for many years some time ago, both at WKU and EKU. It was at the latter where she met Art. Oh yes, they knew each other before today. On the way back to the hotel we learned that she not only knew him, but she dated him… for thirteen years! They never married (at least not each other), but you could tell they remained close after all this time. Cindy had told Art she was coming to Kentucky and would be on the tour. Art, in turn, insisted he be our tour guide. It all made sense why my contacts did not meet me when we arrived. Theirs was one of the sweetest stories I’ve heard, and learning their history together was the perfect way to wrap up our shared adventures. Every second of this week as been worth the sweat and sleeplessness. I made new friends, connected with old friends, shared time with mentors, and smart men and women from all over the world. We might solve this preservation dilemma yet. I continue to be the luckiest woman alive.
“Spread love everywhere you go. Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier.” ~ Mother Teresa
You first met Robin Dalton back in May 2014. We don’t get to see one another very often, but ours is the kind of friendship that doesn’t suffer because of distance. When Robin found out I was going to be at Market in the Park she made it a point to come see me. She spent hours with me, and she talked with more people looking at my work than I did. She pretty much held court with Frankie Adkins and her daughter, Amanda, below. I just love her. At one point mom (who also braved the heat to come out) turned to me and said, “Right there’s your PR (pointing at Robin). Let her do the talking. You take the pictures.” HA! Robin’s exceptional PR skills cleverly disguise her talent as a writer. Always a voracious reader, it wasn’t until much later in her life that Robin began to explore writing. She doesn’t do nearly enough of it – because she’s a work-a-holic – but she knows what she’s doing. She’s lived a dozen lives already, so I’m looking forward to her retirement when she can really put pen to paper and show the world what she’s made of. I’m going to do her PR.
“Listen to the wind. It talks. Listen to the silence. It speaks.
Listen to your heart. It knows.” ~ Unknown
This afternoon Marie and Robert Dale threw a high school graduation party for their oldest grandchild, Alexis (left). This young woman has endured a lot in her young life, and yet she has graduated with a scholarship to Campbellsville University. She’ll start in the fall. She’s pictured here with Marie, her brother Isaiah, and her first cousin/sister Skyla.
Isaiah smashed cake on Alexis’ face, and someone repaid the favor. The last time I saw Isaiah he was a short, chubby little guy. Now his voice has dropped, he’s grown at least six inches, and he’s on the high school wrestling team. Marie and Robert gained custody of all three kids several years ago. The five of them act as a singular family unit so that you’d never know they weren’t parent and child. And they’re happy – all of them! Becky Ryder, Crystal Heis, and I carpooled to Paris for the party. They were a joy to be with of course. Seeing Marie with her family was a joy, but most of all, I was so proud of Alexis. She’s a beautiful, kind young woman who is going to do great things. Doggone it, I love a happy ending, and today was one. I was honored to be part of it.
I got so lucky the day I met Pam Thurman and Barbara Plested. Lance introduced us, and frankly, as much as he bragged on them, he didn’t come close to just how incredible they are. I got lucky again today when Angie and I managed to hook up with them for dinner as they were passing through Tahlequah on their way to their home in Grove.
Barb and Pam make me laugh. Every time I see them we have big belly laughs. Today was no different, and throw Angie Bliss Fanning into the mix? Lordy! I just ask myself how I ever got so lucky at times like these. Pam is always plotting to get me back out here (to Oklahoma) permanently so I can join a band with the über-talented Scott Eastman. If she only knew how much I want to. In the meantime, I will continue to enjoy Pam, Barb, and Angie at every opportunity. They’re my favorite.