* caution, horrible formatting straight ahead. I am bone tired from a week of traveling and the text is giving me fits jumping to different spots on this post other than where I’m putting it! My bad. But really, stick a fork in me. I’m done.
Hey y’all, I woke up Thursday morning fully aware that I had an afternoon signing in Winnsboro, LA. I would never want to be late for, or worse, miss a signing but I definitely didn’t want to be guilty of either this time, at one of my favorite stores, in one of my favorite towns, for reasons I shall now set forth in this part confessional/part tour update post. To do so, we will need to take a trip back to a lovely afternoon in May ’08…
I had just resturned home from two weeks worth of traveling and promoting Suck Your Stomach In and Put Some Color On. The house, the desk, the dog, the husband, the kids– everybody and everything neeed my attention and I was doing my best to get tend to it all. When the phone rang I had to turn off the vaccum to answer.
“Hey Shellie,” someone said. The voice was familiar but I couldn’t place it and I hadn’t looked at the called i.d. “What are you doing?” he asked.
“Vaccuming,” I answered casually, buying time to figure out who was on the line that I was supposed to know.
“Are you coming?” he asked. And that would be when it hit me. The voice belonged to my friend Wade Walley said, owner of Every Ocassion in Winnsboro, LA. and he was talking about the signing that he and I had put together. The one I had not ran through Penguin. Hence, the one that wasn’t on the itiniery Penguin had sent me that I had been following religoiusly for two weeks. Oh, no, this one was ALL me, and I had forgotten it!
I began running down the hall towards my bedroom, throwing off clothes, grabbing new ones, all while apologizing profusely to Wade. “Please don’t tell me anyone is there waiting,” I begged, which is the polar opposite expectation we authors generally have about these things. “Oh, just thirty or so,” Wade said. And with that I heard the crowd behind him greet me in unisom, “Hey, Shellie!” I grabbed my make-up bag, which I would apply in the car to my red face and shot out of town with my big pink velro rollers, kicking myself all the way to Winnsboro, where a group of incredibly gracious folks ended up waiting at least an hour and a half for me. Beginning with Wade and down to the last person, they all tried to make me feel better but I still felt like a heel. Fast forward to yesterday afternoon.
I’m driving highway 65 to pick up Mama so we can squeeze in a visit along the way to Winnsboro when my cell rings. (Or quacks, rather. Personally, I like my ring tone even if my bff has threatened to pull out a gun and shoot it if I don’t change it soon.) It was Wade.
“Hello,” I said, cheerily.
“Are you cleaning house?” Wade asked.
It was an odd and FULLY LOADED question and it was precisely when my heart started dropping into my stomach.
“No, ” I said, my apprenhsion building. “I’m driving to your place. Why?”
“Oh, just making sure you’re coming. We already have folks here.”
The pit in my stomach was growing by the minute. “Why?” I asked, weakly. “Why are they there so early?” To make a long story short, the ensuring Q and A revealed that they weren’t early. I was late. Again. I had the time wrong. It wasn’t set for five, but 3:30. Oops, I did it again. And once again, Wade wouldn’t even let me continue my babbling apology. In what felt like a freaky deja’ vu moment, he graciously assured me that it was fine, encouraging me to take it easy, not to get a ticket or wreck trying to get there. They would wait.
I was STILL humiliated when Mam and I arrived. I’m STILL trying to figure out how it is that I have been all over the South in the past three years without standing up anyone else, without missing another engagement or getting the time wrong, only to duplicate my booboo at the same store, in the same town, to the same kind man. I still get red-faced when I think about it. The fact that Wade had once again pulled out all the stops only served to make me feel worse! Here’s the spread of food. That dip– well, folks, that’s Tomato gravy to eat with those Tostitos. Have mercy!
Just a few of the smiling, forgiving Freader faces of Winnsboro:
That last fellow, my new Freader, Brian– well, he was there on a mission from his Sweet Thang to “go and get that book”. Brian was happy to see me because he thought he had missed it. In his words, I got him out of a ton of hot water. Hey, that’s what I do, folks. Helping to foster relationships between Belles and their Bubbas all across the South, one couple at a time.
And did I mention that Wade even had me a gift bag? Oh, yeah! Pile on the guilt.
For the record, that’s not cocaine there on the left. 🙂
Thanks, Wade! Thanks, Winnsboro! Love y’all~