So, first the bad news. Remember how I told you that I was going to open a booth at a new mall on Sweeten Creek Rd in Asheville? (After I said I was opening a second store in West Asheville?) Well both of those deals have not materialized. I learned about this last weekend and was mourning the loss. Then on Monday I got a phone call from The Sleepy Poet Antique Mall on South Blvd in Charlotte. Johnsie Evans had advised me to get a booth there, so about a year ago I applied. Well, they called and invited me to join them! So I went to Charlotte yesterday and signed the papers. I’m very excited! I’ll let all you Charlotte folks know where to look once I have moved in.
My daughter Abby is in town this weekend to meet with Robbie Jaeger and the cast of Charlotte’s Web as begin rehearsals for their show at NC Stage later this month. Abby played the original songs written by Gina Stewart tis morning, and I was blown away! I advise everyone who will be in Asheville July 17-27 to contact NC Stage and get tickets for a show. I promise you that you will love it!
Now for those of you following my serialized saga,
44 Cherry Street.
While Chip was pedaling the Greybeard Trail, the mockingbird that had awakened him woke Tom and Summer. Summer had weird dreams every night and the bird woke her in the middle of one. She walked the terrazzo-tiled halls of her old school on the opening day of school, but she couldn’t remember where her classroom was located. The minutes clicked on and she was beginning to panic at the thought of those kindergarteners on their first day of school whimpering while their moms sobbed at the thought of their babies growing up, and she was not there to pacify them all. Finally she located the right room and walked in to find the bedlam she had expected. She raised her voice to settle the wailing moms and sniffling children, but the din just got louder. She flashed the lights and starting singing the Welcome Song: “Hello everybody! Yes indeed! Hello everybody! Yes indeed., Yes indeed my darlin’!” But the crying just increased in volume. One of the mothers ran at her and grabbed her arm, “Take good care of my baby!” she pleaded.
Tom was touching her arm, “Wake up, Summer! You’re having a bad dream.”
Summer opened her eyes and realized she had been muttering in her sleep. She wiped the drool from her face and blinked, relieved to be out of that crazy classroom. The call of the mockingbird outside made her shudder, reminding her of that frantic mother. She stumbled from the bedroom and sleep-walked on auto-pilot to the kitchen where she made a pot of Dynamite coffee, and plugged in the electric kettle to heat water for Tom’s Earl Grey Tea.
Summer started her day with dark coffee and cream, while Tom, who led an active life as a builder required more fuel, which usually took the form of milky, sugary tea and several Krispy Kreme donuts. Summer had tried to wean him off the donuts to steel cut oatmeal and whole wheat toast, but Tom insisted that he ran on sugar and caffeine. She let it be for now, but planned to revisit this issue in the near future.
Since it was a sunny, cool morning, they took their mugs and Tom’s donuts out to the front porch and settled into two rockers. Cherry Street was still quiet and the only sounds they heard were the songbirds and the bees. A slight whirring sound indicated a hummingbird who was hovering over the pink summer phlox, just starting to bloom.
As the coffee kicked in and Summer revived, Tom started to tell her what his day was going to look like. She attempted to look like she was following him, but as the details of house construction and the names of specific tools he needed to gather before he left flew at her, she glazed over. She had no idea what he was talking about, but she definitely understood that he spent his days supervising fifteen men on five different construction projects, and that he ran around like mad all day. Coping saw? Mitre box? Dremmel tool? She nodded vigorously. “Sounds like you have a busy day planned! Hope it doesn’t get too hot. Oh, and try to stay off steep roofs,” she added.
“Got to go build America!” Tom pronounced. He kissed Summer and took his cup back into their kitchen, then left for his truck.
Meanwhile, a small dog started barking in the upstairs right apartment. A groggy, sultry female voice cried, “Suki! Shush! Mommy is trying to sleep.” The dog paused for a beat and started barking again. “Sweetheart! You know mommy loves you, but mommy wants to sleep a bit longer. Please be quiet.” Suki was tired of waiting for her breakfast, though, and went into mommy’s bedroom and pulled the pink and white Shabby Chic comforter off the bed.
“Food, woman!” Suki barked.
“Oh, all right, Precious,” Lorraine Fisher said. “Mommy is wide awake now and will fix her sweetie some yummy scrambled eggs.” Lorraine stretched and ran her fingers through her tousled black hair. She looked like a small tornado: long black Dior silk nightgown twisted around her petite body, topped off by a storm of jet black hair. She slipped on black caribou kitten-heeled bedroom slippers and tapped her way to the kitchen.
The walls of Lorraine’s home were covered with colorful canvasses that she had painted. Some were abstract female figures and others were dream-like impressionistic images of trees and bottles. Several valuable pieces of French antique furniture in subtle neutral colors were stylishly arranged in her sitting room. Old brocade and needlepoint pillows trimmed with thick fringe were tossed artfully on the overstuffed chairs. Antique blue and white ceramics graced the wall over her antique French dining room table.
Lorraine was a social worker, but wore many hats. She had studied cooking at the Cordon Bleu, and was a gifted musician. There was nothing she could not do well. At this moment she was busy creating the perfect combination of ingredients for her precious Suki’s scrambled eggs. Start with free range organic eggs. Add heavy cream and whisk well. Snip some chives and fresh basil from the window box on her sunny south-facing window; add a bit of salt (but not too much; Suki had to watch her sodium intake) and pepper. Melt some european butter in a copper skillet, pour in the egg mixture, and stir constantly while the eggs cooked. The moment the eggs set, she removed them from the burner, and placed them in Suki’s antique Limoges bowl.
“Yum. Grub!” thought Suki. “Finally.” She rushed towards the dish, her sterling silver charm necklace clattering against the side of the Limoges dish.
“Slow down, Suki Darling,” Lorraine cooed. “Mommy doesn’t want her baby choking on her breakfast.”
By then, though, the dish was clean, and Suki looked at Lorraine beseechingly.
“No more, Baby!” Lorraine warned. “you are getting just a bit too plump. Mommy doesn’t want her baby to get fat and outgrow her little outfits.”
Suki thought of those ridiculous costumes that Lorraine sometimes forced her to wear and whined for more grub. She wished she could outgrow the Bo-peep outfit and the Annie Oakley get-up. Ridiculous. She was a dog, damn it! Not a Barbie Doll.
Lorraine looked longingly at the remains of the scrambled eggs, but she reminded herself that was on a diet. She had been dieting since she was in kindergarten, she thought, and was tired of it, but no scrambled eggs for her. She drank some black coffee and scrounged a piece of hard-tack (aka Swedish Wasa crackers) from the bread box and laid a thin thin slice of Gruyere cheese on top. She hoped this would hold her until lunch, but feared she might fall victim again to a cupcake from City Bakery near her office in Asheville. Dieting was so hard, but she was determined to slim her already svelte figure to attract Mr. Right. Time was slipping past, and if she was going to find a companion to sail into the sunset of old age with her, she felt she had better get going. She nibbled a tasteless piece of Wasa and washed it down with the coffee. Ugh. The things she did in the name of beauty!