Category Archives: Big Stone Gap

Two to Tango

Jack’s Wednesday guest post makes it on time for a change – –

A belated tip of the hat to my long suffering wife after our recent twenty third anniversary –

We are complete opposites – I’m a lazy bugger and she’s a workaholic!

When we first met she was a community storyteller, a swimming instructor and a strawberry picker. She had had a degree in journalism and another in German and had just completed her Masters in Education. She headed off to St Johns in Newfoundland to start her PhD in Folklore.

When that was to the thesis stage she joined me in Scotland and we married. Off she went again and started a very successful non-profit storytelling co-operative, was appointed to the board of the Scottish national storytelling forum, the board of the US National Storytelling Network and the traditional arts committee of the Scottish parliament. Shortly after to Lancashire in England where she worked for two years with refugees and asylum seekers and learned Arabic!

During all of this she was writing. Academic papers and then the first book which was a collection of newspaper columns published by Lingham House. We moved to Big Stone Gap and opened a bookstore so the next book was a memoir about that and a best seller for a big New York publisher. Since then there have been two more books and another three are in the pipeline!

But then she got another Masters Degree – in Public Health, and is now the Director of GMEC which encourages and helps newly qualified medical professionals to set up shop in Appalachia.

But enter Covid 19!

So, for the last few months she’s been sourcing PPE all over the world and getting it to clinics, medical centers and hospitals throughout SW Virginia – while finishing three books!

Just now and then she has a wee lull in her timetable and she can’t abide that, so it’s time to reorganize the cupboards or the backyard – – – or can stuff!

Did I mention the cat rescue or the chickens?

I can never keep up, but it’s been a wonderful twenty three years –

Here’s to the next twenty three!

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Filed under between books, Big Stone Gap, folklore and ethnography, home improvements, humor, Life reflections, Little Bookstore of Big Stone Gap, publishing, small town USA, VA, Wendy Welch

Timing is Everything – – –

Jack just gets over the line this time with the Wednesday blog post –

Wendy has always wanted a grandfather clock and we were gifted one by a local friend a few days ago. It now stands proudly in our library room.

But it got me thinking about time, both in general and in more specific ways.

I’ve always been interested in the way we experience time. When I was ten, then ten years was my whole life, but when I was twenty it was half my life. Now that I’m approaching eighty it’s an eighth of my life and the last ten years have gone in a blink.

All of this also brings to mind particular moments in time too – we have paintings and photos displayed around the house that are like time machines and instantly transport me back.

Up until recently our lives have been ordered by the days of the week but now, during lock-down I have real trouble deciding which day of the week it is. Mostly each day has the same shape to it and we go to some lengths to introduce some variety, but still – – –

We have a Zoom meeting every Sunday with friends here in the US and others in Scotland – here it’s at 9 am but in Scotland it’s 2 pm. Our good friend Liz Weir in Ireland hosts a massive on-line session every Saturday night with folk all over the world, but for many participants it isn’t Saturday night – for some not even Saturday at all!

Finally – we picked our first garden peas yesterday and I was instantly transformed to the ten year old walking home with my grandad from his allotment (victory garden) and eating peas from a freshly picked pod.

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Filed under between books, Big Stone Gap, crafting, folklore and ethnography, home improvements, humor, Life reflections, Uncategorized, Wendy Welch