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I’m behind on blogging – oops

Last week, Neva went away to Girl Scout Horseback riding camp. In addition to riding, this camp also features sailing, canoeing, snorkeling, and all kinds of scouting fun, like campfires etc… I am always very grateful that our life now has room in it for non-dance oriented kid experiences. I see my kid’s lives as fuller with new adventures feeding their understanding of the world and the different sorts of people in it. Sure makes them excited about life.


Kent was at Band camp all week from 1:00-9:00. He’s getting to be a dynamite drummer and this year he has been moved to the quads – the position where they place the better drummers. He says the quads are heavy, but fun to play because they can make a lot of noise and they are the backbone of the marching band –I’ll be able to hear him up in the stands at the football games even if I am wearing ear-muffs. Yeah . . I think.

I figured, with both kids busy, I’d get a lot done this week. I had visions of plowing forward on my book and getting some serious writing done. But I haven’t sat down at my computer once, except to write a daily e-mail to Neva and to check messages. Go figure.


It has been a busy week, but productive in its own way.

I spent the first day going to Atlanta with Denver for a big Cancer Walk expo. I haven’t mentioned it lately, but we are both walking 60 miles this October, raising money for Breast Cancer Research. It’s time we get on the ball with our training and fundraising. (Sigh.) I will be talking about that soon, hitting readers up once again to donate to this worthy cause. (And if you are one of those “I’ll do that later” friends, with good intentions to help us out  even though you gotten around to it yet, and if you feel inspired at this moment, don’t let the feeling go. Just go to http://www.the3day.org/atlanta07/ginnyhendry to give us your support. It would be much appreciated. (and it will alleviate the guilt that I’m sure is keeping you up at night!) We took a few pictures with our phone, but they came out fuzzy and bad – ah well – it proves we were there (Mark sometimes accuses us of stealing off to go shopping instead of saving the world, so, when we really DO go where we say we are going, we bring home proof)



Denver and I are big weenies who share a deep sensitivity towards the hardships of others. It is a personality trait that is sometimes admirable, but usually, laughable. For example, we go to this big pep rally sort of event and see a tent set up with a light glowing from inside. It is there as a celebratory thing- last year’s memory tent placed in public to get people focused on why they are walking. Each year, a blank tent is erected at the campsite for walkers to sign. It gets filled up by the end of the three days with inspirational messages.

We say, “Hey, lets go check out the tent.” We walk up there, read about two of the short comments on the tent, (comments like, “we only get one mother. I lost mine last June. Today, I walk to save yours…..) our low lips buckle and we are both crying. We look at each other and laugh. We are such saps. But at least we are saps together.



The rally taught us what to pack for the three days of walking/camping. It helped us understand how to train. And it reminded us how important it was to be creative in your fundraising attempts. Now, we are making wonderful gift baskets filled with Appalachian crafts and goodies to raffle off as a fundraiser. We are raffling off a piece of beautifully framed artwork, one of some 50 works of art that we inherited when FLEX closed (don’t get me started on THAT one.)  Denver talked to local businesses near the train station and they offered to let us place the baskets where many tourists come by and we have them in stores frequented by local residents. I am filling baskets with homemade pickles, blackberry jam, some homemade cordials (the wine isn’t ready), candles and (soon) homemade soap. I’m including my glass and clay jewelry, and Denver has made hand beaded jewelry as well, including some inspirational earrings featuring a beaded breast cancer logo. Very nice. We are trying to finagle some of Mark’s handiwork too, trying to convince him to donate one of his gorgeous baskets or turned bowls for a good cause.


Once we close on our building in Sarasota (in about ten days) Mark and I will be buying a lot across from the train station in McCaysville for our future coffee shop/art gallery. Denver and I plan to set up a booth there to have a bake sale a couple of weekends to raise money too. I will cook for two days straight and fill the table with muffins, brownies and other fun snacks for the tourists – and we will sell jelly and pickles for fun too. I plan to write an article about our activities for the local paper, to bring awareness to our projects and to stir up some donations. Then, when people see us walking they can toot their horn and wish us luck (small town etiquette, ya know.) It is fun working together at this project for a variety of reasons – beginning with spending time with my daughter, and ending with feeling as if I am doing something worthy to make the world a better place for the women of the future. I think of all the kids I’ve taught over the years, innocent little girls in pink leotards who made me look at the world as an exciting place. Considering the national odds, I know more than a few of them will battle breast cancer in their lifetime. So, I walk in honor of my mom, a breast cancer survivor, but I walk for them too.  


Oops. I didn’t mean to go off on that tangent. The thing is, we are on fundraising and training mode now. We walked 7 miles yesterday. It is nice training here, despite the hills, because you see cows and birds and can go miles without a car passing. It’s serene.


The next day was Mark’s birthday. I gave him a brick. (I know, he thought it was weird too). This happens to be a brick with the words “Mark Hendry” that will be placed in the walkway of the new multimillion dollar performing arts facility, the Cobb Energy Center of the Performing arts in Atlanta. (considering how upscale this facility is, I wonder why they needed to sell bricks out front… hummmm……) Now, everyone can walk all over my husband for years to come. How’s that for a unique present. I also bought him tickets to see the Broadway tour of Dreamgirls at the Fox Theater. We were floored when we went, because this theater is more striking and bigger than any Broadway theater I’ve ever been in (and I’ve been in most of them). It was remarkable. The ceiling is cast in blue light with pin points of light like stars, and the walls are castle – you could swear you were outside at a Roman coliseum. Thus far, we’ve always gone to the Alliance (another big theater in Atlanta) and hadn’t discovered this one. Wow. As we left, it occurred to me that I have access to more “New York lifestyle” here than I ever did in Florida, and yet within an hour and a half, I am home in the wilderness. It is like the best of both worlds at the end of my fingertips. We are lucky.


We went to a fantastic restaurant/bar before the show where all the tables are set in small booths with couches. Sort of bohemian and holistic in decor, with some interesting art on the walls. We ordered wine and hor de erves and had a ball watching the other patrons and discussing the design of the place. Someone very artistic, or very weird put that place together.


Earlier in the day, we had gone window shopping in a quaint, artsy area filled with unique stores -about as far removed from your typical franchise shopping as possible. I hate shopping UNLESS it is in original, individually owned stores, because then you see novel merchandise. I could browse for hours in unique stores. I have an earnest dislike of malls and generic shopping where you can look at stores in Atlanta or Boston and it is all the same – Victoria Secret, Clares, Express or Macys. Yuck.

We had homemade Italian Gelato from a local chef with wild flavors like Vino and Viagra (didn’t try that one). We sampled dips and salts made by a renowned Atlanta chef who opened a small store for his special sauces and rubs. But mostly, we marveled at the antique and art stores. One store had odd décor items for sale. For example, they had a trashcan hanging upside down on a chain with a light bulb inside and they called it a “urban chandelier” .It went for 2 grand! They had 5 rusty disks on a wall as an art piece for 3 grand. I swear, you couldn’t PAY me 3 grand to hang that junk on my wall.

Mark lifted one eyebrow and said, “Honey, take me to the junk yard, I’m gonna make us rich.”   No kidding.
We stared, trying to see the “chic” or “artistic” quality in this stuff, but honestly, it was simply ugly, simplistic, and a sad commentary on people striving desperately to be different . Next, we went to a holistic store and sampled pillows filled with buckwheat. Ouch. This may be organic, but it sure isn’t comfortable. They had robes made of bamboo too. I’ll stick with cotton, thanks.


I guess art is in the eye of the beholder, but honestly, I couldn’t imagine anyone paying for, or wanting to live surrounded by these unattractive, dismal items. And yet, while we were there, someone came in and paid 350.00 for an old glass bottle. Our eyes bugged out and Mark looked at me and said, “We moved to the wrong place if we want to open a new business.”

I thought of what he could do with that very same trashcan and light bulb, create something truly striking and worthy of hanging,  no doubt, and agreed.  Ah well, who wants to sit around selling trash all day, regardless of what you title it. A rose by any other name……


The next day, we drove to visit Cades Cove, a national park in the Rockies with another couple that we are good friends with. We went looking for the black bears, which are usually everywhere, but we kept missing them. A fellow would pass us on a trail and say, “Watch it, there are six black bears up ahead 50 feet. Too many for me with the kids.” And we’d run on ahead, but they’d be gone. I was disappointed. Happened about three times. We did see lots of deer, however, including one that was only about two hours old. The mother sprinted a safe distance and we went up close to take a picture. Didn’t disturb the baby, of course. That sweet thing hunkered down into the grass trying to be invisible, his legs too wobbly still to follow mom. It was so beautiful.


I marvel at Ronnie and his wife, Louise’s, attitude. They have a deep reverence for nature, taking pictures and commenting on how beautiful the deer are. And yet, they are both hunters (he uses a gun, she hunts with a bow and arrow) and in a month, they will be out killing deer just like these. It is a sport, true, but they eat the meat – always. I find it fascinating that the same people who hunt deer have such deep respect for them. You’d think the opposite would be true.  But their attitude is not far removed from Indian philosophy, to respect what you eat and to honor the earth for it’s nourishing gifts. They also raise their own cattle, garden, etc…. I’ve learned a great deal from them, and I admire their connection to nature and food. Talking to them always makes my mind spin, challenging what I’ve been taught to believe and accept as right and true.   


We shot over to visit some of the shops in Pigeon Forge since we were right by there, and on the way home, we visited a workshop where a man makes art out of trees. I was enthralled by what he can do with a chainsaw and knife. I want to put these kinds of things for our coffee shop when we finally get around to designing it, but Mark said, “Only if you can sell enough coffee to pay for it.” Harrump.  I might be better off trying my hand at making a totem pole myself – one more excuse to get my pink chainsaw (or is it gonna be green and purple….)


The rest of the week was filled with winemaking, and gardening and a few other adventures, but I’ll save them for subsequent entries. Some news deserves a blog all its own.

It is good to be back.

 

About Ginny East Shaddock

Director of Heartwood Retreat Center, Ginny is also a writer. This is her personal blog with essay form writing about life and reflection. My entries are often lengthy and random, because I'm not here to promote or sell anything. I'm not expecting followers - just find this format a good place to think with the pen.

2 responses »

  1. Donovan and I met the chainsaw man. We stopped at the same place and Donovan racked his brain for an hour! Funny we were just in Pigeon Forge last month. How crazy! When you guys come down here I would love to see you and catch up. Hope all is going great!

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