Welcome to where I am, where my kitchen's always messy, a pot's (or a poet) always about to boil over, a dog is always begging to be fed. Drafts of poems on the counter. Windows filled with leaves. Wind. Clouds moving over the mountains. If you like poetry, books, and music--especially dog howls when a siren unwinds down the hill-- you'll like it here.


MY NEW AUTHOR'S SITE, KATHRYNSTRIPLINGBYER.COM, THAT I MYSELF SET UP THROUGH WEEBLY.COM, IS NOW UP. I HAD FUN CREATING THIS SITE AND WOULD RECOMMEND WEEBLY.COM TO ANYONE INTERESTED IN SETTING UP A WEBSITE. I INVITE YOU TO VISIT MY NEW SITE TO KEEP UP WITH EVENTS RELATED TO MY NEW BOOK.


MY NC POET LAUREATE BLOG, MY LAUREATE'S LASSO, WILL REMAIN UP AS AN ARCHIVE OF NC POETS, GRADES K-INFINITY! I INVITE YOU TO VISIT WHEN YOU FEEL THE NEED TO READ SOME GOOD POEMS.

VISIT MY NEW BLOG, MOUNTAIN WOMAN, WHERE YOU WILL FIND UPDATES ON WHAT'S HAPPENING IN MY KITCHEN, IN THE ENVIRONMENT, IN MY IMAGINATION, IN MY GARDEN, AND AMONG MY MOUNTAIN WOMEN FRIENDS.




Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Trying to Get Back Home


It's been a week since I've been back home in the mountains. Getting here wasn't, shall we say, a walk in the garden. An hour from Cullowhee, I had a flat tire. I was listening hard to Sugarland on my cd player and then noticed another sound, something coming from the right side of the car, definitely not an accompaniment to Jennifer Nettles singing "Down in Mississippi and Up to No Good." Smell of hot rubber. Whoa. I pulled off at Grover's food store in Wiley, GA, opened the door fearfully, and there it was. A flat front tire. Nothing to do but go inside the store, where the only inhabitant, the woman who kept the cash register, was out back having a smoke. Man, I wanted one. NEEDED one. My nerves were shot about as bad as my front tire.

She came back inside and told me to call Wiley Tire, which I did, after she kindly opened the phone book to their ad. The really nice woman on the line said she'd send someone out in just a few minutes. So, yes, I bought a pack of cigarettes (lord, they cost a lot more than they used to!) and the woman holding down the store and I stood outside having a cigarette. (Who knows how many it had been for her already that day. It was the first one I'd had in about 30 years, so it went to my head real fast.) Twenty minutes later, a cute young man drove up and put my spare on, after which I followed him about two miles down the highway to Wiley Tire, and within half an hour, and one more cigarette, later, I was back on the road. But no more Sugarland this time. I kept the window down and listened to the road noise.

In Clayton, traffic was backed up, all of us having to merge left because of a huge smash-up between an SUV and a pick-up. I was stuck in the right hand lane but was so relieved to have my wheels again that I didn't get upset about it. I even looked up at the school bus on my left and waved back to a little boy who looked like he was gonna grow up to be a real hell-raiser.

I was so exhausted and wrung out by the time I pulled up in our driveway, to the greeting of five happy dogs, that I didn't even walk out to the garden. I let that wait till the next morning.

First thing I saw, with extreme gratitude, was the laurel just beyond the garden.



Then when I looked up, there was the sky, with sun just beginning to hit the treeline.



And the garden! Just look at the lettuce. My daughter's guinea pig will be happy--and lucky--to get some of this.



The broccoli's not bad either.



And there at the edge of the garden, our first peony bud. I gave thanks to the Peony Goddess for bringing me back home safely.

14 comments:

Vicki Lane said...

What an awful trip! Now put those cigarettes down and back away. Enjoy that peony!

(I'm pretty violently anti-cigarettes, having taken care of my mother-in-law as she slowly died of emphysema. A bad way to go.)

Kathryn Stripling Byer said...

Vicki, never fear. The cigarettes are in the garbage. How did I ever smoke those things when I was in grad. school? My grandfather died of emphysema, so I know what that weed can do to you.
Aside from the flat tire and wreck, the trip was rather pleasant. Bright blue sky. But strong winds down in Ga.
I have peonies in full bloom now. More about that tomorrow or the next day.

Carol @ TheWritersPorch said...

Oh Kaye.....I am so sorry about your bad trip! I've had a few myself. Like an AC in July in Oklahoma, I nearly cooked!
However, I have laughed my fanny off! 30 years? You're lucky you didn't faint!
I don't know where you and Gary Carden(he found a four day dead rat under his chair)were when I went through that week of depression, but either of ya'll's posts would have made alot of difference!! :)

Carol @ TheWritersPorch said...

I was laughing so hard I forgot to say the AC broke in 110 degrees!

DeadMule said...

Kathryn, Do you take all these beautiful photos? Why you're as much a photographer as a poet. Unless you just happen to live in heaven.

Kathryn Stripling Byer said...

Carol, I can beat the dead rat, by a smidgeon, but I don't know that you want to hear about it. Or the critters.
Well, I did nearly faint, to be completely honest with you. I was afraid the cute guy fixing the tire would think I was drunk.

Kathryn Stripling Byer said...

Helen, yes, I took the photos with my digital camera. So, you should give it and not me the credit.
And my "place." It really did look and feel like heaven that first morning back. Still does.

Kathryn Magendie said...

I'll never forget when I was 18 and lived in South Louisiana and had a flat on the interstate - and I'd worked all day at dog groomers and was covered in hair, AND it was raining - not making this up - I got out, full of dog hair, in the rain, in the So La heat, and tried to change my tire - a big truck went by and splashed me with dirty water...*sigh*

Lovely photos - it IS hard to take a bad one here, isn't it, in these mountains and valleys *smiling*

Kathryn Stripling Byer said...

Oh my, Kathryn, changing a tire at 18 in the rain on the interstate....you were one brave girl. You are right, it's hard to take a bad photo here in these mountains.
Don't get me started about dog fur.

Evening Light Writer said...

I've had trips that were nice but seemed to be punctuated with bad luck. After all, how long exactly did it take Odysseus to get home?? I love the peonies, they are so full and over the top beautiful. My favorite though has to be the Magnolias which are blooming in the sunniest spots. I hope you didn't mind coming home to all this rain!

Kathryn Stripling Byer said...

Hi Mindy, I haven't minded the rain, nor has our garden! We don't have magnolias in our yard, alas.
What I really want right now are zinnias. But I'll have to plant them and wait for them to show their faces.

Kaye Barley said...

I am SO jealous of you all! Well, not you Kay - NOT your trip, anyhows. Bless your heart girl - I would have probably joined your for that cigarette (although it has been a whole year plus since I had my last one).

What I'm jealous of is (noooo - not the cute boy changing your tire, Kay - although . . . )

I'm jealous that you all have such wonderful stuff blooming! Our rhododendrons are blooming -that's it. My peonies have buds, but that's it. Magnolias. big sigh. I miss magnolias - they do not grow here in Boone.

LOVE Sugarland! Jennifer Nettles is the woman I look at while I'm trying to diet. Aside from how pretty I think she is, I just love their music! We can catch them tonight, I believe, on the George Strait: ACM Artist of the Decade All Star Concert at 8pm on CBS.

Kathryn Stripling Byer said...

Kaye Thanks for letting me know about Sugarland tonight. I'll try to catch it. The rain has beaten our peonies down.
I wish I had some crepe myrtles for later on in the summer.
Jennifer Nettles looks a bit like my daughter, actually. I think she could sing more than "country" if she wanted to. She's got quite a range.

Jessie Carty said...

Back away from the cigarettes! :)

But that is the kind of thing that would get anyone into a vice - mine, I'd probably be swearing like a sailor and looking for the nearest bottle of Nehi and/or moon pie I could shove into my face.

Glad you got home!