Tag Archives: Methodists

Because Nothing Clears the Air like a good Murder

May 2016 murder 054Last fall when Big Stone was going crazy on itself, we got a nasty letter from the town council saying our lawn was out of order with town order and we’d be fined if we didn’t fix it. Jack called the town planner out, and the poor lad looked things over and said, “Well, this is embarrassing. The part that’s out of order is the part we were supposed to be cutting.” The next day some guys came and cut the verge.

But a couple of days later, a town councilor who shall remain nameless visited the bookstore for the first time in our ten-year-history and offered town resources to cut our herbarium and wildflowers down. “At no cost to you, and they can be here in ten minutes.” We explained again that the seeds had been a wedding present from the Quakers in Scotland, and the unplanned look was deliberate. The councilor left graciously–perhaps unconvinced, but graciously.

May 2016 murder 012Garden Gate, as we came to call it, was silly. Not malicious, just silly, involving misunderstandings about heirloom seeds and personal choice and English wooded gardens. So never mind about that. The fun part was planning a murder mystery based on it.

Heh heh heh.

Fourteen gardeners gathered last night to provide The New Bookstore Lawn, paid for by Big Stone’s new tourism fund. Unfortunately, half were Baptist and half Methodist. Plus we all know what happens when John Bach’s bookstore has more than a dozen people in it at a time…..

Sure enough, Paxton face planted into her salad, and the whodunnit was on. Perhaps it was the hats, or the cupcake-fueled sugar craze, but the attendees were never more in character, and the one-liners flowed faster than red wine. Poor little Girl Detective Margaret Bach coped with her helicopter mom and a room full of flower power as best May 2016 murder 019she could, while Swinger Jimmy begged her to smell his hands, and Grand Mother of Snap Dragons Peony Overbloom snarled at church lady Joy Abounder, “No shit you’re having an affair with my husband! Who do you think engineered it? He’s the most boring man I’ve ever known and you bedding him gives me more time in my flower beds!”

It was that kind of night. Hippie Hannah pepper sprayed people with No Terra oils. Town bimbo Poppy Upster sold secrets on Facebook. Halfway through, the murderer–confused by improvisation rather than scripting–confessed. The undaunted steel magnolias continued unearthing a blackmailing, secret bigamist marriage, and church funds embezzlement before the murderer was finally allowed to repeat her confession, backed by the olfactory powers of No Terra oils.

We blow off more steam this way, and it’s so fun. But bad news, good people of Big Stone: the toilet stays. It’s postmodern ironic. And full of petunias. The rest of us, we’re full of belly laughs from last night.toilet flowers


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Filed under bad writing, Big Stone Gap, bookstore management, Downton Abbey, humor, Life reflections, Little Bookstore of Big Stone Gap, reading, small town USA, Uncategorized, VA, writing

Warm Fuzzies

prayer shawlsWe have a lot of book groups and girlfriend posses through our shop, but on Monday past the women of Hiltons Methodist Church came bearing gifts.

Prayer shawls, and chemo hats and scarves for the community. Made with love and prayers for healing, and yarn in pretty, bright colors.

It was frighteningly easy to get those distributed. Jack and I immediately set aside some for cancer fighters we knew: an elegant executive approaching retirement coping with breast cancer; a buoyant cat rescuer who lets nothing get her down, including chemo; a young mom facing killer lymphoma; one of my most feminine ever friends, a healthy-eating, beautiful, petite woman who has that rare kind of cancer prevalent in men of African descent; and a 12-year-old boy (who got the camouflage lap blanket).

The rest we gave to my friend Leigh Anne – herself fighting cancer, and the director of our local cancer center – to bless those who might have less family and friends around them when they need a warm fuzzy moment.

Of all the things Little Bookstore has done, this might be the nicest: that people bring to our community gifts of love from theirs. When I put out an appeal last summer for postcards, so the Quakers doing prison visits could send them to guys in the federal penitentiary, y’all sent 400 cards, plus the nicest notes, and even sheets of stamps. When my friend and I stared making “spay and neuter afghans” to pay for the cats of Wise County being rendered non-reproductive, people on the West and East coasts and many places in between bought them.

And when I’ve blogged about friends in need–Sue’s bookstore in Wisconsin, the stealing of Elissa’s dog rescue raffle money–responses have been practical, and sweet, and positive. Sure there’s stuff that goes wrong with the world, but while there are women knitting prayer shawls filled with love, how bad can it be?

Stay warm, y’all.


Filed under animal rescue, Big Stone Gap, bookstore management, crafting, humor, Life reflections, reading, small town USA, VA, writing