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12 May 2014

Blue Ridge Reading of ABOWS - Wrap Up!

My "Southern Appalachian Book Tour" for A BIRD ON WATER STREET continued Saturday with an event at the Blue Ridge Mountain Arts Association in Blue Ridge, Georgia. The weather was dismal, so I was flattered by the nice-sized crowd that showed up.
    Most of them were locals who had grown up in the area, so they really knew their stuff. And I don't mean just anybody... I mean a former Mayor of Copperhill, a Preacher, and Peggy Kilpatrick (a.k.a. "The Strike Baby" - who was the only baby born during the strike of 1936 because her mother made it to the hospital right before the picket line began). Even the Speaker of the House for the state of Georgia - David Ralston showed up for a photo op! (What a strange sensation to shake his hand and look up to see five cameras pointed at us!) This was trial by fire if there ever was one, and I'm happy to say, I think I passed!
    Actually, it might have been my favorite audience yet, because they did know their stuff. And many of them spoke up and added tidbits to what I shared - stuff I wish I'd known while I was still working on the book. For instance, all the miners wore red shirts when they went on strike! Most of the lamps miners used were carbide/acetylene fueled (the same stuff is used for explosives). And the river water was so polluted scientists said they'd never seen anything like it.
    Truly - research is a fickle dame to chase. You can never know enough!
    Photos were tough with this one, but Stan did his best...
Here's some of the crowd and me with my slide show this time...

Here is the former Mayor (somebody please remind me of his name!), Peggy, Dan Hood, and moi.

Peggy Kilpatrick - widely known as "The Strike Baby" and me.

One of the best things about this event was when I invited Richard Wagner to come up and tell the story of the title "A bird on Water Street." Because, it was his mother who saw that bird back in the 1920's/30's when she was about 9-years-old. He was perfect, and there will be more locals sharing their histories next weekend in Copperhill - I can't wait to hear them!
    (Check out the slide in the background - that's Grace Postelle and Doris Abernathy on her porch swing. The book is dedicated to them both, although sadly, Grace isn't with us anymore.)
I was so flattered Nichole Potzauf, Director of the Blue Ridge Mountain Arts Association, who hosted my event and emailed about it and put up posters all over town about it. Thank you Nichole!! Here she is with Doris who looked lovely in PINK!

Jennifer Danner was also a huge help and actually designed the posters. She's also an historian who has created a series of video interviews with miners, which I'm dying to see.

Carol Crawford made it - she put on the Blue Ridge Writers Conference where I spoke a few weeks ago in the very same spot! Carol is awesome.

So did Kay Kendall, who is an all around amazing person too (the mountains tend to attract amazing people, if you hadn't noticed).
    I wish I had a picture of Ellen Ward of FoxTale Book Shoppe in Woodstock, Georgia (about an hour southwest of the area). You can see her in the background selling copies of ABOWS. She is amazingly handling sales of ABOWS throughout the Southern Appalachian Book Tour, and I am SO grateful!!!

One of the scenes from the book I read this time was about blackberry picking' in Devil's Den. It's based on a true story (mine) as I love to pick just enough to make two pies each year. Well, Hubbie's been getting better with his new camera and caught this lovely shot during a rare ray of sunshine. If this is any indication, the blackberry picking' is going to be fine this year - just fine!

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