Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Remembering Wilma Dykeman

Isn't it time to set up a realistic accounting system? One to include damage to air or water or land, to the health of a human being?

The above words were penned by author Wilma Dykeman, in her novel Return The Innocent Earth. Today I attended a memorial service honoring Wilma, and it was glorious, and humbling, and thrilling, and educational. I can't remember a time when Wilma Dykeman's name was not known to me; I knew of her first because her name was on the dust jacket of The French Broad, an autographed First Edition of which sat on my parents' bookshelf (as it now has an honored place on mine). In later years I would read some of her works, and I came to know of her as friend to my great aunt, Dexter Dillingham, and my cousin, Norma Dillingham Morgan.

But I don't believe I fully realized, until today, what an exceptional human being she was. She wrote about the environment before Rachel Carson published Silent Spring. She wrote about race relations before Martin Luther King made his famous "I Have A Dream" speech. Her novels featured strong female characters before "Women's Lib" came into full swing. Today's celebration included practically a Who's Who of North Carolina -- including some of my favorite authors, namely Fred Chappell, John Ehle, and Sharyn McCrumb -- and all of them, even her contemporaries, seemed as awed by her as I now am.

In the words of her son, James Stokely III, "I would put her in the 'renaissance' tradition. She had such a broad spectrum of talents, such an impressive series of artistic paths. She turned out to be good at everything she tried. And she turned out to be very good at a few things."  

Someone I should do well to emulate, I believe.

Monday, June 4, 2007

The Launch of My Blog

We've been in Swannanoa for three weeks today.  This is also the first anniversary of my mom's passing.  I wanted to mark the occasion in a special way ... but not in a sad way!  I've been toying with the idea of a Blog for some time now, and it occurred to me that I could remember my mother with the creation of something new.  After all, she encouraged my writing, in addition to fostering my love of music, so the online journal of her working musician daughter seemed a suitable tribute!

So, as I said, we (that is, Greg, Maggie Muggins and I) have been in Swannanoa, NC, for three weeks today.  This is the fourth stop since leaving our Florida home for our annual summer/fall tour.  First stop was the 2nd Annual Dunnellon Celtic Festival, which was unfortunately rained out on the day our band was scheduled to perform.  (It wasn't a total loss for me personally, as the trip yielded two visits to Randy's Rib Shack ... if you're a seafood lover, the first serving of their All-You-Can-Eat fish IS probably ALL you CAN possibly eat!)

Second stop was a purely R&R venture into Darien and Savannah, GA.  Next on the agenda: Pilot Mountain, NC ... and if you think the name of the town sounds oddly familiar, then you've probably watched the old Andy Griffith Show a few times, and are remembering the numerous references that residents of "Mayberry" made to nearby "Mount Pilot."  The real-life Pilot Mountain is very close to Mount Airy, Griffith's home town.  Mount Airy is cute, the historic part of town fairly well-preserved, and if you go, be sure to stop at The Snappy Lunch for a delicious trip back in time!  Our trip to Pilot Mountain was great fun in a different way ... we were part of the town's 25th Annual MayFest ... what a treat!

And then on to Swannanoa, which we think of as our "home away from home," since we spend more time here than anywhere else on our tour: this year, we'll spend about two months, total, here.  We've enjoyed a visit from Greg's sister and brother-in-law, a couple of visits to Asheville's Barley's Taproom, and numerous campfires.  We just finished the 10th Annual Black Mountain Arts & Crafts Show, and it was great to see so many old friends while making so many new ones!

As the tee-shirts that you see everywhere up here say: Life Is Good.