Tag Archives: Kingsport

Things I Vow Never to do Again

Note to self:

Dear Self –

The next time you are asked to speak as the visiting author at Allandale Mansion in Kingsport (a historic home of castle-esque proportions now reserved for weddings and Junior League flower shows and the Kingsport Women’s Book Club to which I had been invited) do not wear Birkenstocks. Your long flowing skirt and flowered blazer were fine; retro is always somewhat charming in an author and you had the good sense to braid your hair so that it looked like you weren’t trying too hard. This worked in your favor amidst those lovely Spring Pastels and beautiful stylish bobs. But there are limits, and you should not try to find them. Next time, wear ballerina flats.

Dear Self II –

The next time that man who collects cans in the neighborhood asks if he can sit on your porch and drink a beer, say no. It is one thing to be nice to someone life has clearly run over; it is another to watch him spend the next fifteen minutes drinking from a can the size of Texas, spitting over your porch rail, and panhandling customers going out the door. Learn to say no, dear; it is a life skill you must acquire now that you are in your forties.

Dear Self III –

The next time you demand your husband fix something and he heads off with duck tape in hand, follow him. That way you will learn just how he intends for those el cheapo fly screens to last the summer, or the water hose on the washing machine not to flood the garage. And you can save time, and possibly your marriage, by not having to cope with a sudden new water feature in the garage. The sound of water splashing over rocks is lovely–outside. Indoors on concrete, not so much.

Thank you, self.

Best wishes,



Filed under animal rescue, bad writing, Big Stone Gap, blue funks, crafting, home improvements, humor, Life reflections, small town USA, VA

Sorry for the Delay, Kinda

I’m sorry about missing yesterday as a blog-writing day, but I had an unexpected appointment. Jack was scheduled to record radio programs at WETS, the university public radio station across the border in Tennessee. He does a month at a time ahead and Celtic Clanjamphry runs Sunday mornings at 7.

Impulsively, said, “Hey, come with me and we’ll go out after and get lunch and walk around the antique stores in Kingsport and have a general good time.”

I hesitated. “You mean, like a date?”

Jack scratched his head. “I don’t remember if that’s what you call them, but we can pretend we’re not married and just starting to like each other again?”

“Darling!” Men in general tend to have romance as a recessive gene. Jack… well, he’s very good around the house and he tells funny jokes.

In honor of the occasion I looked out a linen dress that is form flattering. Just to make sure it still fit from last summer, I slipped it on – and discovered my handy-around-the-house husband had washed it in warm water with the other white laundry. The built-in slip hung two inches below the somewhat tighter dress.

Jack cut the slip off with my crafting scissors and gave me an appreciative look; apparently the curves worked just fine.  Smirk.

The next morning he wore a good flannel shirt over a clean tee, and I knew we were going to have fun, fun, fun til Mommy took the t-shirt away. So we raced down to WETS, whipped out his three radio programs, with me a guest on one just for fun, and tripped off to lunch at Jack’s favorite Indian restaurant.

Which is closed on Mondays.

Okay, regroup and find another curry house. We did, and sat outside in the sunshine, but as Jack pushed felafel around on his plate, I could tell he was being a good sport. Asian yes; Middle East, not so much for him.

Never mind; off we went to Kingsport – where the recession had not been kind. Jack and I remembered it as a land of never-ending bargains, true antiques among kitsch, shop after shop.

Now many teeth were missing from this downtown’s smile; empty shop fronts boasted low rents; inside the antique stores, shopkeepers greeted us with hungry eyes and appraising glances. Browsers or buyers?

Browsers, it turned out. For whatever odd reason, antiques become luxuries in a recession; prices had gone up instead of down. Way up. When we saw a simple folding metal music stand like the one I use for my harp music, priced at $70 (got mine for $10) we packed it in.

But as we wandered, somewhat disappointed, out of the shops, Jack laughed and pointed. Yarn bombers had been at work. Tree trunks with knitted casings. Statues sporting shirts. Here and there a random wraparound, crochet stitches stretched to capacity.

Jack grinned. “Day’s not a total loss. You got to see yarn. I got to see you in that dress.”

Ah, such a nice date!


Filed under Big Stone Gap, folklore and ethnography, humor, Life reflections, small town USA, Uncategorized, VA