A Clue for Adrianna (Captain’s Point Stories) The first novel in the Captain’s Point series. A romantic women’s fiction/family saga/chicklit novel written by Annie Acorn & Juliette Hill writing as Charlotte Kent.
A Man for Susan (Captain’s Point Stories) The second novel in the Captain’s Point Series. A romantic women’s fiction/family saga/chicklit novel written by Annie Acorn & Juliette Hill writing as Charlotte Kent.
Chocolate Can Kill (Emily Harris Mysteries) a full-length cozy mystery by Annie Acorn.
As I do every June, this past weekend I flew from the D.C. area to my old stomping grounds in Birmingham, Alabama, to visit Son #1 and to meet with Peggy Teel, Angel Nichols and Sheila Lawrence of From Women’s Pens. This particular trip is always planned around the Birmingham Area Writers’ Group’s summer writing retreat. Spending serious time side-by-side with Angel (@Angel_Nichols) is an additional bonus because, in addition to being a very talented writer, she is a very accomplished, multi-degreed graphic cover designer and, as such, has the contract to exclusively design all the covers for books published by Annie Acorn Publishing LLC.
Sister #3 had graciously offered to drive me to BWI, and I managed to pack and be ready to go on time – a miracle of inefficiency producing a desired result, as those who know me well will attest.
Some time later, the second miracle presented itself at the outside check-in desk when my suitcase weighed in at less than Southwest’s fifty pound limit. After all, as anyone who is anyone knows, a female author MUST travel with both books and shoes – not necessarily in that order – and these two items tend to weigh in – lots.
Boarding pass and ID in hand, I proceeded innocently to Security where I took my place in line. Now, Baltimore isn’t exactly D.C., but it’s close enough to have its share of orange security alerts, so I stood and stood and stood some more. The line was long enough to have earned a Disney theme park entrance at its end, but sadly there was only a stern-faced, older woman who thankfully did not attempt to crack a smile. If she had, I swear, her face would have shattered right there in front of me from the strain.
One hour after having been dropped off at the curb, I finally made it through the screening machine, retrieved my life savings and computer full of important-to-me word docs., crammed my now swollen feet from having stood so long into my tennis shoes and plodded towards a fast food counter, where I purchased a banana and a bottled water for close to the same amount that I cough up every month or so in order to fill my compact car’s gas tank.
The special inflight earplugs that are a necessity when I fly having completely dropped from sight in all drugstores and groceries in the D.C. area, I then moved on to a newsstand, which appeared to have cornered the market on these vital items, and emptied my purse of an amount of money sufficient in size to have bought a large home in a third world country, in order to buy a box of said plugs that would take care of one round-trip in the air.
Finally arriving at my departure gate, my purse now substantially lighter, I discovered that all the computer seats, as I refer to them, were taken and pulled out my Kindle, so that I could spend my remaining minutes before boarding enjoying the delightful Heart Marks the Spot by Susan Jean Ricci. Five stars to this one, folks. It’s a jewel! Not that I was surprised. I adore her Dinosaurs and Cherry Stems.
Then the third miracle of the day occurred, somewhere to my left a microphone was turned on and the voice of a young man, whose mother had obviously raised him right and taught him to speak Southern well, announced that my flight was now ready to board. I handed over my boarding pass and breezed along the ramp onto the plane and into a whole different world.
“How are y’all today?” The pert flight attendant asked as we passed, the second attendant to her left greeting us with a welcoming smile that included her eyes – neither of their faces in any danger whatsoever of shattering.
I chose a window seat, slid Baby as I call my small travel computer under the seat in front of me with my now diminished purse, fastened my seat belt and prepared for takeoff, something I usually dread. A few minutes later, the plane’s engines sprang to life, and we separated from the ramp, only to come to a stop a few feet away.
“Ladies and Gentlemen,” the voice of the captain came to us, his accent soft and slow. “Some turkey has decided that we can’t leave without a new tow bar. I’m going to give the guy a few seconds if that’s alright with y’all.”
“As long as they’ve fed and readied the squirrels,” I joked with the fragile looking, elderly woman from Trussville who was sitting beside me.
“And have given them a shot of Jack Daniels in their water dishes,” she added, knowingly – a twinkle in her eye, her accent the rich, lyrical song of a native of the area just southwest of Dothan.
In that second, I relaxed. This flight, I now knew would be okay. I already had one foot back home in the Deep South.
The needed tow bar having been located and stowed wherever such items are stored, we were cleared for takeoff, taxied smoothly along the runway and lifted gently skyward, gaining height and leveling off with an ease that inspired confidence.
The sky presented itself as a deep blue, here and there fluffy white clouds waved as we past, and my heart lifted even higher than the plane that was carrying me. Passengers around me chatted gaily, laughter ruled, and a group of thirty teenagers, who had come to D.C. as guests of a rural Alabama electric cooperative of some sort, sang songs and entertained us from the back rows.
As often happens when southerners get together, a spontaneous party had morphed into full swing, and the two hour flight, complete with snacks and drinks, literally flew by. (Sorry, y’all, but I couldn’t help myself on that verb choice – appropriate, don’t y’all think?)
The captain having insured that no one was inconvenienced by making up the initially lost time, we were brought down to earth with a soft landing that rivaled that given by a young mother laying her newborn in a cradle.
“We want to thank, y’all for coming with us today,” the Alabama crew who were getting off the plane, too, grinned at each of us as we took our leave. “Y’all have a great stay in Birmingham.”
Peggy Teel (@peggyteel), a quintessential Southern lady and a hoot to boot, was waiting for me in the pickup lane and immediately headed us towards the nearest Jim & Nick’s, understanding completely the gnawing need within experienced by anyone who has spent a full year in the barren wasteland of the mid-Atlantic for a full plate of pulled pork barbecue with collard greens, homemade mac and cheese, and cheesy corn muffins on the side, please.
Replenished and refueled, I was then whisked to her beautiful home, where I knew I would be treated like a queen for the next four days. Everywhere we went we were greeted by folks who smiled with their whole faces, a willingness to please and, of course, a large, ice-filled glass of sweet tea.
We stayed up late, drank wine, added to our number as first Angel and then Sheila joined us, shared innermost thoughts and feelings, laughed and cried. We went to bed way later than any of us were used to and got up at the crack of dawn. We ate huge meals, skipped others in the midst of intense bouts of creativity and snacked on fresh fruit, homemade snack mix, brownies, cookies and, of course, chocolate. All of us left Peggy’s home relaxed, happy and content.
And then, Son #2 picked me up for a final breakfast together – you know the drill – eggs, bacon, ham, hash browns, grits, pancakes, sausage gravy and the biscuits you can only get in the South – all washed down with a VERY large glass of fresh-squeezed orange juice. Finally, he rolled me out of his car and onto the curb, gently guiding me towards the outside check-in where a personable young man sent me an understanding smile filled with kindness.
“Enjoy your stay, ma’am?” the pleasant stranger asked, avoiding any mention of how much lighter my return suitcase was sans books brought for the ladies. “Y’all be sure and come back now.”
Inside, I stood in security for ten minutes, the inspectors joking pleasantly with us soon-to-be-boarding passengers, even as they kept careful eyes on us. I sit now at my flight’s gate, waiting to board. This time dreading not the flight, but instead the walk along the ramp that I know will take me back to that other distant world. The one so devoid of fully smiling faces, sweet tea and slow, languid drawls.
Happy travels, y’all!
A Tired Older Woman: Loses Weight and Keeps It Off! by Annie Acorn.
Murder With My Darling (Bonnie Lou Mysteries) a romcom mystery by Annie Acorn.
When to Remain Silent (Annie Acorn’s Kindle Short Mysteries) by Annie Acorn
Also available for Nook!
Also available for Nook!
The Young Executive (Annie Acorn’s Kindle Short Mysteries) by Annie Acorn
Also available for Nook!