SO!!! Welcome to my new and improved website!

The wonderful IT Genius Denise Wilson has updated the website so it is more user friendly.

I will continue to send newsletters on Constant Contact, but I will reserve the chapters of the “book???” to the website. So if you choose to read on about 44 Cherry Street, please come here. I will also post new items to sell here, and you can purchase them directly from here. OK?

Just a Reminder: This is the last weekend to see Charlotte’s Web at NC Stage. Read this great review from Mt Xpress.

IMG_6206Asheville Creative Arts gets award!

This week has flown by. We have been doused by instant downpours, but then warmed by great sunny days. I love summer in the NC mountains!

My booth at Sleepy Poet in Charlotte is doing well. Also, I met with business coach Sherri Britton who will be doing an 8 week Business Boot Camp (which sounds so much more appealing than an actual exercise boot camp) and is soliciting members. I met with her for an hour and already feel revitalized. I am now “setting the intention” of being financially solvent, so please play your part!!!

Now, Chapter 7 of

44 Cherry Street

Freshly showered and doused in patchouli oil, Chip rode his bike to work at the meat market on Old 70. He was a big fan of patchouli and had been wearing it since he was sixteen and had borrowed his mom’s station wagon to follow the Dead on his spring break. Oh, those were the days!

He particularly enjoyed having a heavy cloud of patchouli around him when he worked at the meat market to disguise the metallic smell of blood on the freshly (and humanely) slaughtered meat. All grass-fed and locally raised. He had been a vegetarian for a long time and even though he now enjoyed eating meat, he often felt slightly queasy smelling it in its raw state. He grabbed the broom and swept behind the counters and in front, and gave the small patio a thorough sweeping. He could smell the coffee roasting across the street at Dynamite and was considering making a dash over there to grab a cup, when a rough-looking green Subaru wagon plastered with bumper stickers pulled into a parking place in front of the store.

The driver was obviously Progressive: “Patsy Keever”, “Obama-Biden”, and “God Bless the People of All Nations” stickers adorned the front bumper of her car. It was convenient for folks to let the casual observer identify a person’s political leanings with a glance at their cars. Chip smiled at the driver as she exited the car.

The door opened and out stepped the girl he had seen (and admired) on her bike in Montreat. She was even better looking in street clothes than she had been in biking attire.

“Wow! Synchronicity!!” Chip thought.

She was tall and slim with shoulder length curly brown hair. She wore a loose Mexican blouse over her blue jeans, and carried her keys and wallet in a wad in her hand. “Hi,” she said. “You work here?”

“Um, yes,” he stammered.

She smiled showing lots of even teeth, and her wide-set blue eyes crinkled.“Great! I need help deciding what to get for a party I’m throwing. I used to be a vegetarian and I’m out of practice knowing what to do with meat.”

“Wow, me too,” Chip answered. “I mean I was a vegetarian too, but I can surely help you. C’mon in the shop.”

Inside the store, the girl let her eyes run over the meat in the cases. “I don’t even know what these cuts are. I’m going to need lots of help.”

“Well, yeah, these cuts are often different from what they sell in Ingles because the animals are butchered right here and can be carved into more tasty and less common cuts. I can help you with cooking directions if you need them.” He paused, trying to sound casual. “So, do you live in Black Mt.?”

“Yeah. I moved here last year from Greenville, South Carolina. You?” She was still studying the meat case.

“Yes. I live on Cherry Street. Moved here to go to school at Warren Wilson and stayed.”

“Cool…” she replied absently. “I moved here for a job. I teach kindergarten in Asheville. I didn’t want to bump into the kids all over town, so I moved to Black Mt. to have some privacy. It kind of scares little kids when they see their teacher outside the classroom. I think they believe we live in school, so when they see us buying groceries, it unnerves them.”

“Ha-ha,” he laughed nervously. His mind raced for something witty to say. Nothing came to mind. “So how do you like Black Mt.?”

“I like it!” she answered. “I love to mountain bike, and it’s great to ride the trails in Montreat.”

“Me too! I bike at Montreat, too. Love the Greybeard Trail. You ever ride there?”

“Yeah!” She looked at Chip. “Hey, maybe you’d like to come to this party I’m throwing. There should be other mountain bikers there. I think you’d enjoy meeting them.”

“Awesome! Thanks! Just say when and where, and I’ll be there!” Chip tried hard to keep the excitement out of his voice, but was afraid he sounded too eager. She probably thought he was a loser who never got invited anywhere. “I mean, if I am free that night…” he added. She was probably with someone anyway.

“Well, help me pick out the meat to grill and I’ll give you all the details. My roommates and I have invited a bunch of friends and we want it to be sort of grown-up. You know? More than just a kegger with chips and dips.” No mention of a boyfriend! Yay!

Chip suggested a mix of meats and chicken cut into cubes, marinated, and put on skewers with onions and peppers interspersed. “That way,” he explained, “people who don’t eat red meat can pick out what they want.” “Sounds perfect!” she enthused. “By the way, my name is Alison. Alison Fox.”

“Nice to meet you, Alison! I’m Chip Long.” This was turning out to be a great day! “By the way, what can I bring?”

“Just yourself,” added Alison as Chip loaded her purchases into the Subaru.

“I can do that!” thought Chip.



Back at 44 Cherry St., Lorraine sat down at her computer and with trembling hands logged onto Match.com. Her heart raced!

Oh look! There was a response already! “Wiley Bear winked at you!” read the message. Wiley Bear? She clicked on the tiny picture and Wiley Bear enlarged and came into focus.

Oh! Was this really someone who had read her profile and was interested in forging a relationship with her? The man in the photo looked ninety years old. His long grey hair looked straggly and his face was largely hidden behind an unkempt beard. He looked like either Uncle Si on Duck Dynasty or Popcorn, the now deceased moonshiner. Looking closer, she thought she could detect a swelling in his lower lip where he might have concealed a stash of chaw.

“Are you kidding me?” she asked aloud.

Lorraine was about to erase Wiley from her life when she chastised herself. She shouldn’t be so quick to judge! Think about Willie on Duck Dynasty. He was CEO of a big, successful company and didn’t look much different from this Wiley. What if Willie had asked her out and she had judged him without giving him a chance? She would have passed up the chance to marry a very rich guy! She had watched Duck Dynasty a few times, and while she wasn’t a big fan of the show, she had seen how well the Dynasty wives lived. Big houses, nice cars. Maybe she should take a harder look at Wiley Bear. Could that really be his name or was it a sort of email identity? The latter, she hoped.

Lorraine clicked on Wiley’s page to take a better look at the man. First, the photos he had posted. There were several views of Wiley in sagging jeans and a grimy plaid shirt grinning in front of what she imagined must be his home. Behind him she could make out a single-wide trailer with patches of random sheets of metal and painted plywood covering what she guessed were holes. In the yard were an abandoned hot water heater, two old cars on blocks, and assorted discarded objects that were gathering moss. A dog that was either dead or just skinny and mangy lay at his feet. This was certainly not the Duck Dynasty, although she could picture Miss Kay cooking up a big pot of squirrels in the kitchenette.

Just out of curiosity, Lorraine clicked on his profile statement. “Rugged outdoorsman looking for a good country woman. Must know how to cook Southern Surf and Turf: aka catfish and possum (haha), and must like living way out in the sticks. Hunting and other primitive skills a plus. I don’t have much money, but I’m a love machine!” What in the world? Could this man have even glanced at her words and pictures? Lorraine thought that this man, Wiley Bear, couldn’t have been more inappropriate for her. She was to learn, however, in the near future, that there were different categories of inappropriate.