When traveling, the last thing anyone wants is for her car to break down. But that is just what happened to me this summer when I was on a trip to promote my novel, Solomon’s Puzzle. I’m thankful that I was staying with my sister and brother-in-law and it was my brother-in-law who suggested I take the car to Leo Kaytes Ford in Warwick, NY. Not only did they make room in their schedule for me on the Friday of a summer holiday weekend, but they also were on the way to my next stop!
My sister kindly abandoned her plans for the day and went with me. This series of blog articles are about our adventures that day and what came from them…
There have been times in my life when a lovely, hopeful feeling about a place comes to me. It happened when I first stood on the steps of the U.S. Naval Academy where I was later married and since then have passed so many meaningful Christmas Eves and where I therefore set key scenes in my novel. The first time I drove onto the parking lot of Annapolis Area Christian School, where my children subsequently attended and graduated and where I taught for many years, I knew a whiff of cheerful, well-being.
The same sort of thing happened when we dropped my car off at Leo Kaytes Ford. Mike Passamano greeted us the way old friends do. My sister felt so comfortable that she told him about my novel. There was a sense of friendly, good will and I knew that I felt very much at home in this town.
While they diagnosed my car, we were asked to wait in a nearby coffee shop. No problem for two sisters with lots still to discuss! And while they were diagnosing my car Mike googled my name and the book so that when he called me back, he had all sorts of things to say about the novel and my adventures writing, publishing and promoting it. How nice to find someone in a town I’d never before heard about who was interested in my life’s project! And the car could be fixed in a few hours.
Stefy turned into the driveway, landscaped on both sides with blooming spring perennials and drove down the hill. My breath caught. Stefy said, “oh, my!”
Everything about the scene reminded us of our childhood summers. The green grass, the sound of the brook, the sunlight filtering through the leaves.
We rushed out of the car.
Down below the barn,
was the sort of cheerful, clear-watered brook that we’d known in our childhood.
This is the sort of place where children love to play and adults love to gather the beauty and keep it for inspiration.
And smooth round stones filled the stream’s bed.
Of course I stepped right in!
It was a hot day, sunny and still; the cool water came up past my ankle, refreshing and wonderful.
We saw a chipmunk (we don’t have these in Annapolis, so… I was thrilled);
we watched the chipmunk in the sunlight remembering our fascination with them when we were children, we listened to the brook rushing past us over rocks, past pants and trees and felt so much at home, peaceful, somehow welcome in this new, familiar place. . Apparently we had forgotten the broken car and even the enticing antique store behind us. We vowed to plant irises in our own gardens.